A long time ago I found myself teaching Computer Graphics at my alma mater. Over the following years my approach to the subject evolved, and I really got the hang of it. After I stopped teaching, I took my notes, handouts and slides, and made them into a series of articles that I put on my website, where they remained in relative obscurity. Hacker News managed to find it every once in a while, and it was generally well received, but nothing came out of this. Until April 2019, when that post made the HN front page again, except this time it caught the attention of an editor in No Starch Press.
Long story short, my materials are now a book, Computer Graphics from Scratch, sold by No Starch Press , and also available for free on my website .
This genuinely wouldn’t have happened without your support. THANK YOU, HN community :)
My primary reason for picking it up was to get my head around writing a triangle rasterizer from scratch. I found it to be a really good reference that addresses some of the nastier things like clipping, which most other tutorials happily omit.
At some point, I will probably end up writing my own book about all of this as well. I don't know that any 2 people can ever have the same trip through this jungle.
So I picked up the book Thursday and finished the basic ray tracer Friday :) Not counting chapter 5 of course so there’s a lot more that I can add from here but it’s made me interested in multi-processing to make it faster, (mine is in unoptimized Python currently, using pygame to have a canvas/window and calling it for each pixel), maybe using GPU shaders to do it (never used those before), and learning about techniques other people are using (from YouTube etc), and going down the rabbit hole of old CGI animations from the last 50 years.
Looking forward to the second half of the book this weekend. I have written a basic renderer before. I did an independent study class in college and I wrote a stereoscopic one for the iGlasses VR headset in the 90s (you just have to draw using two cameras and interlace the images).
 https://youtu.be/A61S_2swwAc “NamePointer - I made a better ray-tracing engine”
 https://excamera.com/sphinx/article-ray.html “A reasonably speedy Python ray-tracer”
 https://youtu.be/WV4qXzM641o “The Compleat Angler (1978)” Ray tracing animation with refraction, rippling water, etc. from 1978!
 https://youtu.be/NoVMIVY5tPA “Virtual I/O iGlasses”
Basically the cube just needed to be manually moved back and to the left to look like the example screenshot. As it is in the book, it's too close to the viewport and so it's not visible.
(BTW, for fun, I also animated it flying left and right and forward and back on a sine/cosine wave. Pretty fun!)
I still plan on working through your book "eventually", but I just wanted to thank you for that first bit.
A few months after starting the blog, I saw a small traffic spike - maybe 30 visitors - from this site called Hacker News after a submission . I never heard about HN before but it looked interesting so I started to visit it, and eventually registered to upvote stories I like.
Then, another few months later - when I had not published anything for 3-4 months - as I was checking out HN, I could not believe what I saw: a months-old post of mine was on the front page titled “Move Fast Without Breaking Things”. Traffic was so high, my site could barely keep up on shared hosting with MediaTemple, my blog running Wordpress.
There were 50+ comments discussing my post, versus the 2 that were on the blog itself (it had a commenting system). The comments were more insightful than I’ve ever seen for any of my blog posts. This was the HN post .
Now, this post did not “make me money”. But it WAS a turning point where I got validation that strangers on the internet find what I wrote interesting. And it gave me a motivation to write when no one read it, knowing that just because people are not interested in what I wrote today, people might find it interesting months or years later.
I kept writing my blog for years. Eventually, this blog served as the basis of The Pragmatic Engineer Newsletter which I launched a year ago, and which is my new fulltime job and one of the most popular technology newsletters with over 120,000 people reading it. More than enough people chose to pay for it to make this a a viable fulltime career on the long run.
Thank you, Hacker News, for those first two submissions, all the comments, and the motivation it gave to keep writing. It was a turning point. I still remember how I could barely believe in March 2016 that so many people I never met can be interested in reading thoughts I put in writing.
I'm in the middle of a security and antifraud series now, motivated entirely by Brian Krebs  retweeting me after the Experian breach. The articles have gotten essentially zero traction on HN, but I'm having fun writing them and seeing them get attention on other avenues.
I've been writing off an on for years now, thanks largely to the motivation that getting on the HN front page  gave me back in 2014.
At some point, I think I would like to attempt to monetize my writing but I get enough enjoyment from doing it that I haven't ever bothered.
This doesn't make me any money, because I don't monetize my blog. But having people read, critique and enjoy my writing has given me immense satisfaction over the years. Can't put a price on that.
And that's with nearly no effort!
Drop the link mate
Man it's been 12 years since I bothered posting, I probably should follow my own advice lol
This comment made me aware of the whole options market and leverage. I didn’t know a thing before reading it.
I made €500k by betting that the Corona virus will have more impact than the market anticipated in February 2020 and got it right. Which of course, was kinda naive and quite lucky. I totally cannot recommend to play around with options at all.
I learned my lesson already and pulled the plug. At some point I realized that I know nothing and should get back to buy and hold.
I'm not sure what you're saying about the US. If you have a capital loss, you can and must offset capital gains in the same year when computing your gross income. The nuance is this:
* Capital losses can offset an unlimited amount of capital gains, but only a total of $3,000 of other income per year.
* Unused capital losses can only be carried forward into future years. You cannot apply them to income in past years.
So if you realize a large gain in year N, then a large loss in year N+1, you still owe the full tax bill from year N. The solution is to set aside cash to pay the IRS instead of risking it all.
Patrick's rant about all the things he would change in Tarsnap continues to be responsible for the largest spike in new accounts in Tarsnap history.
I was about T-minus one week from halting work on it and starting something else when I posted to Show HN on a whim: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26969173.
I didn't even think to check back on it until during a meeting I noticed my inbox was suddenly filling up :) I was astonished and inspired by the response, and haven't stopped working on it since!
Finding Projection Lab in that first Projectifi post was transformative for me! It helped more than anything else to understand my potential financial future. I've used it when comparing potential jobs, lifestyles, locations. It's been incredibly valuable to me.
I have quite a few friends who have become fans of the tool as well. And I used it to show some friends that yes they can retire with some smart early decisions!
So thank you! I'm glad you posted it on HN and kept up development. I plan to keep using Projection Lab indefinitely to better understand my finances as they develop.
And I do subscribe to the newsletter as well! :) It serves as a nice reminder to check-in.
1. 5-input 'retirement calculators' that various sites had up as lead-gen tools
2. Build a complex and bug-riddled model in a spreadsheet
3. Pay for a financial planner to plug my situation into their spreadsheet
I saw ProjectionLab on HN, though, and it was exactly what I was looking for. The end result I cam up with was good, but even just playing around with the modeling helped me build up a much better intuition than I'd started with. Thanks for your work, and I'm glad you stuck with it!
You touch on something I've noticed as well; that if you play around with models like this long enough, your intuitions start to become noticeably more refined. I can tell the way I think about finance has definitely evolved throughout the course of building the tool.
What's the best place to provide feedback / ask questions? Discord?
Have always been grateful for the community picking up that thread, allowing me to get recognized by a great company!
How? Well my penchant for yak shaving SOMETIMES produces interesting projects —- so now people and companies pay me to do interesting work/experiments/writing with their software (or software we both like).
Some recent examples:
It’s often very hard to produce something of high quality (I’m still working at it) —- I’m essentially doing controlled rabbit hole rappelling —- but as far as paid work goes it doesn’t get much better than this.
Can’t ask for more than working with prestigious companies to do interesting greenfield work to actually accomplish something — the incentives are aligned and it’s awesome.
I’ve liked this so much I’ve started trying to branch out and find more companies to work with, it might change the course of my career.
Interesting stories, I read the one about HSBC statement, what a mess.
I don't doubt that it works but I'm frankly amazed that people have paid for this service and happily uploaded such sensitive documents without any kind of reassurance (hell even just some plain old marketing)
People give this place a lot of flack and some of the users can be pretty verbose and pedantic, but overall this community has been one of the best in my 25 years.
And honestly, it's awesome to be apart of a community that spawns some of the biggest tech people in the world.
It's insane to be able to tell people outside of my world about things in my world and the ridiculous stuff that happens and be able to say "I was there", for example the infamous HN comment to Drew Houston when he Show HN'd Dropbox.
HN is a unique and special community that most industries don't get to experience.
This is a forum where we see and participate in dicussions regularly even if we don't all agree, at least to some extent. I like that.
HN also doesn't use an individualized list of stories or personalized front page, which is very refreshing. We have a shared space here.
Every month I would post on Hacker News' "Who's Hiring" post with a rundown on a few of the positions we were hiring for, and while I was there I probably picked up referral bonuses for like 10 people.
This is the comment that got me onto thinking: "how awesome would it be to have a software capable of decoupling the UI from the actual storage" so you wouldn't be tied to one vendor and do so by implementing a simple programming interface 
I did open source my solution  and have refined it over the year with plugins that implement storage for any storage you could think of like SFTP, S3, Samba, WebDAV and many more. Most of the money is coming from enterprise who need help to join authentication, authorisation and storage in 1 complete solution to do things like SAML based SSO on S3, 2FA layer on a samba server, audit capabilities, ....
The part i'm super proud of is it feel faster to browse Dropbox from my app than it is from Dropbox itself 
 the technic that's used consist in caching the list of files/folder in indexDB and render the content of a folder with the data coming from indexDB first then refresh it with the new data essentially making a visit to an folder you've seen before be instant without any loading whatsoever. It's very simple but it seems nobody else is doing it
(as seen https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31186313 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31170815)
What solution are you using for authentication and authorisation?
Roughly …is this a sustainable business for you?
I think this is the original post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20132520
We left Red Hat a year later and joined YC to start a company based on the Zanzibar paper.
Out of that, the open source SpiceDB was born.
Do you think SpiceDb is a good solution when massive distribution is not a requirement?
I need the flexibility to defined policies based on accessing object and accessed object criteria, but can be a centralized non globally replicated (in a single cluster) solution.
While this list is not comprehensive, we see SpiceDB being considered often for the following uses cases:
- Projects with microservices
- Projects with multi-region/cloud scale
- Projects with sensitive or complex domains (e.g. health care, finance)
- Projects that want tooling to ensure safety as they iterate on their designs
It didn't get a ton of traction when I posted it on HN at the time
But something only needs to be seen by the one correct person to make a difference, and in my case it was.
In 2013 I started reading about Bitcoin and became a skeptic as to its long-term value, as well as other cryptocoins. In 2014 Stripe did a free coindrop of thousands of Stellar, if you connected with your Facebook account. My friend prompted me to do so, so I did. At the time I looked it up and saw it was all worth two cents or so. I wrote down my info and forgot about it.
Then I saw this post. I looked it up and my Stellar Lumen were now worth a few thousand dollars. To diversify I traded some of my Lumen for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Then I cashed out some of my Lumen. I sent the HN account a few Lumen in appreciation, and the person who prompted me to sign up. I have cashed out almost all of my crypto, although I may have some coin in some wallet somewhere. I am still a skeptic, although it was an easy couple of thousands of dollars.
It slowly started racking up votes and made its way to the front page, and that's when it really exploded! A few good outcomes came out of it: a famous online Japanese publication wrote about it, it got featured on Stackshare top five new trending tools, and tons of backlinks because a lot of people used it (when I still had the free version available). It now generates a small amount of passive income for me.
I learned my lesson on market rationality that day. Not a bad lesson to learn
I think that it is not unreasonable to speculate that was the reason they gave and not the "real" reason for firing.
And as mentioned by graderjs, I've also had good sales when I link to my ebooks in relevant discussions.
From the ashes, I can pick out lasting tech to build on. That makes me money.
I had no involvement in posting the link though.
Made about $1000 in sales just in those few days after the article has been on the front page of HN 
I was amazed that I could finally give up looking for a job and focus on doing what I like (creating apps, solving real annoyances) and writing about it.
It's not always like that though. I just posted another article similar to that but on a different matter (app/window switching) and it's not going anywhere 
 A window switcher on the Mac App Store? Is it even possible?: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32333659
Not only have I been working with the post author ever since - half a year later, someone else approached me for a design project, because they found this post and my reply to it! Thank you HN.
The article "Screw it, I'll host it myself" was on the first page for some time, and the traffic was crazy. Some people used my referral link for Vultr, earning me enough hosting credits to last me for a year for my little websites and development projects. 
Later that year, I posted a collection of my favorite hacking/coding movies and literature, and several people bought a book I wrote. I did put a disclaimer for both, being a good netizen I am. :)
Started a weekly newsletter for remote working parents, dabbled on it a bit and saw a great post on HN that my newsletter fit in fine. Definitely got the spike of motivation to make it happen. I'm in the email marketing game for 5 years and sent hundreds of millions of emails out, but the one I sent today must be in the top 3 emails that got me most excited.
Mentioned it in a comment and got a few subscribers.
I did lose a few karma points for the way I did it tho, but I was rusty with my HN commenting skills (working on it)
This post offers a quick solution for extracting values from nested JSON in python. After posting on HN, someone submitted it to PyCoder's which brought in a lot of traffic. Then I received an email asking for my PayPal address to send me a thank you. I set up a page on Buy Me a Coffee and have gotten a handful of coffees from readers since then.
Thank you to anyone who sent a few bucks my way! I'm glad I could help with this pesky issue!
And usually when I do so, again, provided it's relevant to the conversation, I get a lot of traffic, which sometimes translates into a few sales.
I think that, provided you are indeed contributing to the conversation, and what you're linking to us genuinely helpful and relevant, people on HN are usually pretty accepting of you promoting it occasionally.
Made about $600, put it toward a treadmill that I then sold because it sucked.
I have a musical YouTube channel, which had minimal traction. Just a few views from family and friends. But after commenting on that HN post with a link to one of my videos, it got 171 views that day. A few more views began trickling in afterwards, and eventually 'The Algorithm' started recommending some videos on my channel.
It's a great feeling to read genuine comments from online strangers to know that you've touched in some way!
This was the video in the orig link :
(Piano take on The Safety Dance with ragtime + stride piano influences).
[And if you do see it, pls try to stay to the 1:00 - 1:30 region, where engagement spikes to 250%. Ie, on average for every 'view', that part gets watched about 2.5x as many times! Most viewers drop off before then, but luckily a few stuck around to find and enjoy it.]
Eventually the algorithm then picked up this other video, which became my most popular, at 7k views :
(Mess Around in Dr. John's New Orleans style)
So I haven't earned any actual money on that HN comment, and am still far from the thresholds required to monetize (1k subscribers + 4k watch hours). But it did help to kick my YouTube channel into getting some exposure, even though I'm still small potatoes.
We figure HN is one of the toughest crowds. If we can make a hardware product y’all don’t completely dislike - we’re on to something!
1) The boring technology behind a one-person Internet company (2018)
- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20985875 (Not posted by myself :)
2) Podcast API - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25139833
I've been on Hacker News for over a decade. It's hacker news that made me decide to go down the join-a-startup path & later the start-my-own-company path, rather than the work-for-FAANG path (like what most of my graduate school classmates did back in 2010~2012).
I was inspired by posts like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863
If you look at my submission history, you’ll see that none of my submissions have really broke a few upvotes, so yeah - wasn’t expecting it all but it was fun talking shop with everyone in the comments. That’s what is neat about this site, you can be a star for a day and people are happy and genuinely interested about why you are.
If you have a business open an account for that entity as well, get one for your spouse, get one for your child, then spread the word. Note the limit is $10k per year.
Who wants to be hired helped me find my first freelancer gig.
macOS sales stable while iOS is growing fast.
Mac apps == organic. iOS apps == mostly organic, I'm testing some ads for VidCap.
The discussion on the post below has been very influential on our product development and our feature roadmap. Thank you HN community!! :)
Link is in my profile if you want more info.
specifically this comment about Shopify Apps https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15149528
led me to build Simple Purchase Orders which I sold last year
Currently, i'm attempting to improve the database by adding product specific data however I am undecided on how/if to generate further revenue.
The direct link - https://shop.nootritious.com/
Made my first sale from it, but I'm still looking for PMF and will need to pivot a bit. There's obviously value here, but I think the specific problem it solves is too infrequent to create a sustainable business from, and developers are a rightfully picky bunch.
Long story short: I run gifmemes.io and posted a comment about it. He read the comment, saw the website and had some idea for pivot. First, he wanted to buy the whole site for 10k, which I've refused. Then he offered 5k for just the source code which I accepted.
(It's an automated status page that integrates uptime monitoring, https://onlineornot.com)
I had small website just like  but with ads (I sold it later). It gave me lot of traffic, more visibility, eventually better Google rank and more money from ads.
Such small/fun sites can get you real money!
I'm a biomedical engineer who worked as a BA for EMRs and now as a QA with healthcare apps.
I never really found someone else on HN to relate to until now. Or who did a MSC in Health Informatics.
It could be that HN has made me a lot of money by giving me a place to relax and NOT think about money, allowing me to be more effective in the areas where I do make money.
Got a Patreon for a year after this project went viral.
TL;DR I got asked by the NYT to expand my comment into an opinion piece, the NYT then changed my writeup of my opinion a bunch which was annoying but it was still basically my opinion. Anyway, I got paid for my time.
After investigating I bought shares of BNTX @ 13. Then, Covid. Step 3, profit.
I wrote it while my startup project was slowly sinking, along with my sanity ;-)
It was behind the Medium paywall and the visits from HN led to ~$750 that month.
To take this a bit more literally, these I-Bonds are free money that HN told me about.
Nope. I assume very few people made any money from an HN post, directly or indirectly.
Edit: Why disagree without reply? Most of us (even on HN) are just normal devs and nothing we do on here will make us money.
Because your personal anecdote of "Nope." doesn't really add much value to the thread, and the second sentence is an assumption (so it may not even be correct), and either way, it also doesn't really contribute to the discussion.
The fact that it (at least at the time) was the only response about not making money does add to the conversation, as prior to that the conversation was very one sided. So all you're really hearing is how some people made money, but it's not accurately representing how many people do or don't make money on here. I would like to see responses by other normal devs saying they did or did not make money on here since that can give insight into the assumption to determine what kinds of people benefit. Or perhaps I'm looking for too deep of a discussion?
I'm sure there are several that haven't made money from HN posts, but I'd imagine there's not much to discuss around that, other than just collecting raw numbers.
Unless some can offer discussion around how they tried and failed to do that, but again, the title doesn't really suggest that sort of discussion.
Probably being downvoted because you have no evidence to back this up. HN posts have made people money directly AND indirectly.
"HN posts have made people money directly AND indirectly."
This doesn't negate my claim. Some people do make money on here. I feel that number is very low.
The difference between your anecdotes and everyone else's is they aren't saying "Well only 6 people replied to this thread in the first hour and a half, therefore I claim nobody has made money from HN"
Do you have a source? I find it hard to believe that even 51% are in SV.
The second paragraph is a gross misrepresention of my position. And it seems you're implying that as more people wake up, this will somehow prove that the majority of HN users have made money on posts here... which isn't any different the (misrepresented) argument that you were just complaining about.
I'll wait for you to provide some actual evidence that 51% of users have directly or indirectly made money on posts here.
I'll provide that when you provide evidence that nobody has.
Interesting how you can make claims without facts to back them up, but demand me to back up my claims against yours.
Yep, that's intentional. That's exactly how you started attacking me. And now I have you making the statement/point about the lack of evidence for me.
Where did giantg2 claim that?