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Ask HN: What HN post made you money?
317 points by cetaphil on Aug 4, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 189 comments
Is there a HN post that made you money? What HN posts do you suggest to help people make money?

This one: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19584921 And it wasn't even my post!

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 [0], and also available for free on my website [1].

This genuinely wouldn’t have happened without your support. THANK YOU, HN community :)

[0] https://nostarch.com/computer-graphics-scratch

[1] http://gabrielgambetta.com/computer-graphics-from-scratch

I've got your book sitting on my coffee table right now.

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.

The more, the merrier! Everyone understands and explains things in their own unique way, so there's no perfect book for everyone - but each book might be a perfect fit for someone!

I ran out to Barnes & Noble and bought your book right after seeing your post and seeing one nearby that had it in stock. (Amazon was going to take a couple weeks to send it. Actually some other company was the sender. Weird. Also I didn’t notice you had it online but I like having the book and paying you anyway. :) )

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[1][2] (from YouTube etc), and going down the rabbit hole of old CGI animations from the last 50 years[3].

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[4] in the 90s (you just have to draw using two cameras and interlace the images).

[1] https://youtu.be/A61S_2swwAc “NamePointer - I made a better ray-tracing engine”

[2] https://excamera.com/sphinx/article-ray.html “A reasonably speedy Python ray-tracer”

[3] https://youtu.be/WV4qXzM641o “The Compleat Angler (1978)” Ray tracing animation with refraction, rippling water, etc. from 1978!

[4] https://youtu.be/NoVMIVY5tPA “Virtual I/O iGlasses”

By the way the vertices of the cube on page 109 ("Projecting our first 3D Object") appear to be wrong. I checked your example code online and got the correct vertices. Didn't see that listed as an errata so thought I'd let you know, if you see this.

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!)

Thanks for bringing this up. I had fixed this on the website version [0] as well as the code, as you mention. I thought I had reported this to NSP, but can't find an email, so I'll let them know so they can add it to the errata.

[0] https://gabrielgambetta.com/computer-graphics-from-scratch/0...

I just wanted to say that I LOVE this book. It did a much better job of explaining how to render things than my graphics class back in college did, and in a much shorter timeframe.

Thank you! Happy to hear it's been helpful :)

There's an intro bit you have on color and how it behaves in additive vs subtractive mediums. To this day, I feel like it was one of the most concise and well explained overviews I've ever read.

I still plan on working through your book "eventually", but I just wanted to thank you for that first bit.

Wow this is so cool - I haven't read your book but I probably will after seeing this comment. Keep making cool stuff!

Thanks! Let me know what you think :)

Seven years ago, I started a blog called The Pragmatic Engineer. For three months, I wrote a post every two-three weeks. But no one really read them. So I took a short break, which break turned into a month, then another, another… and I did not have motivation to write. Barely anyone read it, after all.

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 [1]. 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 [2].

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.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10692734

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11374221

Similar. People actually reading and discussing your work is highly motivating to keep doing it.

I'm in the middle of a security and antifraud series now, motivated entirely by Brian Krebs [1] 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 [2] 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.

[1] https://www.brightball.com/articles/automatically-reversing-...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8371249

I had a similar experience. I would write whatever I felt like writing and put it up on my blog, but the first real appreciation I got was on reddit and later HN.

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.

Thank you for your insightful articles and shedding more light on compensation data in europe! Your tri-modal article has been particularly well received!

I've experienced the same thing. Blog posts I wrote almost 10 years ago are still getting traffic to this day. Sure, it's only 4-10 views per day (which is still thousands of views per year!) but sometimes it'll get referred by someone else's blog and there will be thousands of views over the course of a week or so. It's been fascinating watching this process over the years.

This is the part of evergreen content that is often lost in the hustle and bustle of "latest posts" - I have a very crappy blog I mainly used as notes to myself on certain things, but posts still get hits and comments literally decades later.

And that's with nearly no effort!

> I have a very crappy blog

Drop the link mate

Here's an example post: http://blog.bombcar.com/2009/02/diablo-ii-on-vista.html

Man it's been 12 years since I bothered posting, I probably should follow my own advice lol

Oh, i read your substack and find it brilliant!

This one by user tempsy about /r/wallstreetbets from January 2020: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22186392

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.

How much money did you turn into 500k? Predicting the consequences of a once in a lifetime black swan event is surely very lucky. But fortune favours the brave as they. You will never win a lottery if you dont buy the goddamn ticket!

Initially I put about €65k into put options. The crash came so fast that it turned into a lot more very quickly. If your bet turns green instantly, you don’t see the risk. I couldn’t do the same thing again. I was very naive, but it helped me to hold with conviction.

Glad you seemed to have learned that you were playing with fire, since that could have easily left you with 65k in the red.

You're probably going to lose it all by betting incorrectly.

No. To be more specific, I made 750k and lost 250k (note: from a German tax perspective, you could subtract the losses instantly from the gains, unlike in the US, where losses are spread over many years).

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.

> you could subtract the losses instantly from the gains, unlike in the US

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.

Thanks for clarifying. I mixed up the offset rule and the unused capital losses rule. I’m not very deep into US tax laws ;)

Puts printed when trump put pence in charge of the covid response. given pence let people attacked by another virus die. I lol'd and bought puts.

This one: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7523953

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.

Haha, wonderful!

A year and a half ago I started building a better personal finance simulator / retirement calculator, mainly for myself and friends/family to use.

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!

I'm a new grad who's starting his first big boy job tomorrow.

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.

That's awesome. Makes me happy to hear it's helped others weigh the same kind of decisions that I have. At this point it still feels like a pipe dream to one day be able to go full-time on it, but either way the plan is to keep making it better and better (no shortage of ideas!). Ironically, I'm sure grinding leetcode instead and switching to FAANG would result in much better projections in PL for myself; but sometimes I think it's more about what keeps you energized and passionate than what optimizes total comp.

I'm a huge fan of ProjectionLab (good call on the name change)! I had just had a windfall from an old employer's IPO. Not life-changing, but enough that "save as much as I can and hope for the best when I hit retirement age" was no longer the only option. I was looking for tools to help me plot out some scenarios and the only options I could find were:

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!

Thanks for sharing your experience! I agonized over that name change for so long that I even built a custom name generator and availability checker to run through all the permutations of relevant words, themes, prefixes, suffixes, etc... all to end up coming back to one of the first ideas from my initial brainstorming session XD

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.

I don't remember when I signed up, but I'm a fan. Love when the emails come with the regular updates. I need to do my monthly data update. <3

Glad to hear someone likes the email updates! Usually it feels like sending those into the void. If you ever want to beta test and help shape new features before they make it to production, I post to #early-access in the discord fairly often during the dev process.

Wow! I have long wanted a tool like this. Will sign up for the trial.

Before this, that was me. In fact, PL originally started as just a spreadsheet I shared around with a few friends, but as I added more to that it became exponentially more difficult to maintain. All the formulas got really nasty, which made it super opaque how everything actually worked. Eventually I realized there must be a better way!

100%. I'm at that point where I've got very complex spreadsheets and need to make some kind of change.

What's the best place to provide feedback / ask questions? Discord?

Yep, the PL discord is perfect for that.

Keep up the good work!

Wow, good eye! I see you're one of the OG people who tried it out. If there's still a product area you'd like to see fleshed out more, do let me know. It's been a whirlwind of a year trying to maintain a high development velocity as a solo dev working on nights/weekends, but in the grand scheme of things it's easy to do when you love what you're building.

I started the original "Who wants to be hired?" thread [1], which lead to me landing a gig with Kaggle [2] (a scrappy startup, at the time, 2014), which ultimately got acquired by Google (this was in 2017). I'm still with them to this day, over 8 years later [3].

Have always been grateful for the community picking up that thread, allowing me to get recognized by a great company!

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7685170

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7833251

[3] https://www.kaggle.com/about/team

I have hired around 30 people who came from the "Who wants to be hired?" thread. Actually sold the company to Google!

Thanks for that great contribution! Hopefully I can also find a good team by posting there. :)

Every HN post I read while at work, I'm earning money in the background - passive income.

Big brain

I’ve had a few HN posts reach the front page and they’ve enabled me to make many tens of thousands of dollars just this year.

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:

- https://opencoreventures.com/blog/2022-06-rise-of-o11y/

- https://supabase.com/blog/2022/07/18/seen-by-in-postgresql

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.

I like to think it was a Show HN, about a remote isolated browser product, but actually I found that spikes in sales came more often after I made some random comment that showed I'm an expert in that tech, not trying to sell something. What I found is that comments, not posts, led more reliably to inbound sales interest that converted into revenue.

Do you have a link to the comment?

I'd have to look it up. Maybe later. I think there were a few.

"Do things that don't scale". That led me to creating a massively unscalable but useful web application that people pay for.


Interesting stories, I read the one about HSBC statement, what a mess.

This looks cool but I would expect a big section on the home page about why I should trust you and upload my bank statements on your website.

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)

I agree with you on that, a few customers have called me up to make sure I'm not a criminal. It doesn't seem to be an issue for 99% of my users though. I don't do anything with the documents or data in them, they get deleted quickly and automatically as well.

Not surprised at all. I know a lot of people that upload sensitive docs to format conversion free sites (like jpg to pdf converter, joining pdfs etc).

Yup the HSBC documents are generally really bad

I've made well over $1M over the years just off the "Who's Hiring"/"Who's Freelancing" threads.

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.

If you hadn't made well over $1M over years just off the "Who's Hiring"/"Who's Freelancing" threads (let's say you made $0), would HN still be one of the best communities in your 25 years? If so, why?

Take the money aspect out and yes, I would. I learned a lot from people far off into the trenches than I. I get to interact with big "famous" people in our world.

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.

(I'm not that person, just another response.)

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.

How does anyone make $1M+ off a hiring thread?

$100k job for 10 years, or $200k for 5 years.

I was working at Capital One a while back, and like most larger companies, they have a referral bonus and an internal recruitment website where you can refer candidates. They also have a personal link so that if you share it with a friend, and they apply, you get credit and the referral bonus automatically. You might know where this is going.

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.

I posted a comment in "Who wants to be hired?" and now I have a job.

The infamous top comment from the HN Launch of Dropbox [1] which has been widely discussed and dismissed over the years.

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 [2]

I did open source my solution [3] 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 [4]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863

[2] https://github.com/mickael-kerjean/filestash/blob/a91df1637d...

[3] https://github.com/mickael-kerjean/filestash

[4] 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

Sounds awesome! I was about to share your post to encourage someone live streaming their recreation of the same thing, but it turn's out they're shooting for :unicorn-face-emoji: status:


(as seen https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31186313 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31170815)

This looks really good!

What solution are you using for authentication and authorisation?

This is awesome. Can you share with me financials for this?

Roughly …is this a sustainable business for you?

On a per hour basis, I would have got better money flipping burgers but as of today, it's close to ramen profitable. On the better side, it brought me contacts with places I would have never dreamt to engage with like NASA and MIT

Like many other folks like the founders of CockroachDB and CoreOS, we read a Google research paper posted to HN.

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[0] was born.

[0]: https://github.com/authzed/spicedb


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.

It absolutely works great for single cluster/region. Most users actually do run it this way.

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

I got my current robotics job, in a field I at the time had no experience in, because of this blog post I wrote:


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.

That's cool, hope you're still sleeping well!

Would you consider adding an RSS feed for your blog? I wanted to subscribe but couldn't find any.

That's on the list of things I've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to :P but now that it's been specifically requested I will put that together this week, and let you know when I do.

Loved your original article. I'm happy for you and your employer!

Not sure if saving money counts here, but several years ago, some HN comment linked the MMM blog, from which I learned about the importance of investing and specifically index funds.

I had a similar experience through the Bogleheads, for which I'm still grateful. Haven't entirely succeeded on FIRE, but I'm much better off than I could have been.

Love MMM. Doesn't pop up a lot on HN, but the discussion is interesting when it does.

This one https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16232976

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.

Couple years back I built a service called SheetUI that turns your google spreadsheet into a beautiful webpage, and posted it here:


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.

Have you thought about updating this to do the same for Airtable?

Hm I have not. I could certainly look into it.

Reminds me of Sheet2Site, which the creator later sold.

And we built a similar service at https://sitefast.live/ :)

I kind of love that your service starts at $1 a month. It's just enough friction to keep spammers away over freemium, and it validates demand through people paying money, however slight.

Hn post pointing to git commit where AMD engineer said that spectre does not apply to AMD: placed an option against Intel.

I later repeated it after hearing (again on hn) a rumor of another spectre-related Intel bug. This one did not make a splash in the markets. As I was ready to give up and pull out my options play, I happened to be delayed due to international travel, Intels's CEO resigned (due to having sex with his wife). The stock tanked even harder, and I made 3x what I made off of spectre.

I learned my lesson on market rationality that day. Not a bad lesson to learn

He resigned due to having sex with his wife? In some marriages it may be an unusual occurrence, but I’m not sure why you’d have to resign because of it.

It was worded to be funny. He had had an affair with his now wife at a time when she was quasi? (Iirc) under him in the chain of command, which was against company policy, so yeah a firable offense, if, uh, a bit late.

I think that it is not unreasonable to speculate that was the reason they gave and not the "real" reason for firing.

I did the same thing -- paid for a move but ultimately sold way too early. Shame.

About 5 years back, I submitted a collection of awk one-liners (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15549318). The response I received was one of the reasons I started writing ebooks about a year later. Since then I've done Show HN posts for my ebooks and many of them reached front page too. I give them away for free during release (but readers can still pay) and I've gotten significant sales as a result.

And as mentioned by graderjs, I've also had good sales when I link to my ebooks in relevant discussions.

By the way, for anyone watching, PLEASE do have the "option to pay" and various amounts, too! Many free resources I've found have helped greatly at work, and work is quite willing to pay for them as long as I can generate a reasonable looking receipt for it (e.g., $50-100 for a book is fine, $50-100 for "PATREON - BIG JOE" is a harder sell).

Who's Hiring? tripled my salary

Many posts aggregated in my case. I'll probably get shot for this but I use HN to avoid the costly ramp up of jumping on tech industry marketing fads and false promises. About 50% of the products and ideas out there burn quickly. 25% of what is left are mires of pain. HN is the place to watch people suffer and rewrite so I don't have to incur the cost myself.

From the ashes, I can pick out lasting tech to build on. That makes me money.

This post made me money, because it was a link to my product. :-)


I had no involvement in posting the link though.

You just made a bit more :)

I think the founder of Freshworks would know the answer. [0] The comment that started it all: [1] from there to IPO [2]

[0] http://blog.freshdesk.com/the-freshdesk-story-how-a-simple-c...

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1358398

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28625195

Came to say the same and searched for freshdesk before posting. This has to be one of the biggest ones.

The journey to controlling external monitors on M1 Macs: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28011861

Made about $1000 in sales just in those few days after the article has been on the front page of HN [0]

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 [1]

[0] https://files.alinpanaitiu.com/e97660ef769aac9103dfc21b780d1...

[1] A window switcher on the Mac App Store? Is it even possible?: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32333659

I am a UX/UI designer, currently working as a freelanceer. Once I got inspired and wrote a somewhat lenghty reply to "Ask HN: how to find a good designer for a small project" [0].

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.


One directly, one indirectly. :)

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. [0]

Later that year, I posted a collection of my favorite hacking/coding movies and literature[1], and several people bought a book I wrote[2]. I did put a disclaimer for both, being a good netizen I am. :)

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26725185

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29501157

[2] https://codeofwar.xyz/

Haven't made me any money yet, but it pushed me in the right direction and it happened yesterday.


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 one: https://bcmullins.github.io/parsing-json-python/

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[0] 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!

[0] https://www.buymeacoffee.com

When it's relevant to the conversation, I mention and link to my side project. I used to just mention it, not wanting to be seen as spammy, but I kept getting replies saying I should link, too. So I've kind of gotten over that.

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 haven't actually made money on it (yet), but this HN comment of mine last year had a positive impact (not even a post, just a comment on a thread) : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27004577#27004828

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 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNfMZ6g9YWo (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 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iun1A2Pc7Kg (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.

The few times our hardware had reached the front page have basically made our startup viable. It was only two days ago, but https://pibox.io

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!

Do you have any benchmarks for how well the CM4 works with spinning disks? I briefly skimmed the docs but couldn't find it.

These two -

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

For me it was an Ask HN post asking how much one is making on their side project. The responses inspired me to start my own project which then over a period of time with handwork and perseverance turned into a full time entrepreneurial pursuit. So thanks for showing the way HN!

Sharing about my [iOS book series][0] resulted in about $5k in sales. Honestly, it was largely unexpected and I was even a little self conscious that the headline was too click bait-ish. But it seemed people were interested.

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.

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31534988

Here's one for you. Buy iBonds from treasury.gov now! Think of it as a risk free savings account that pays almost 10%[0] at the moment since it tracks inflation which is currently high. If you need the money back you just forfeit the last 3 months interest.

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.


IIRC it tracks at inflation which can run down to zero just as quickly as it can run up. That said, I seem to remember that you’re only penalized three months’ interest after year one so it’s not a crippling flaw.

That would be fine. It took over a year to ramp up, if it takes takes that long to ramp down you'll still likely up ~$1000 on $10k for 30 minutes of your time. I wish I had opened my accounts a year ago.

I saw this few months back. I didn't had money to invest. Now I have a bit, but the exchange rate for the EUR/USD pair passed from 1.2 to about 1. Kinda painful to have to invest 1000€ instead of 800€, especially if the rate go back to "normal" again it will wipe out the gains.

I suspected this is only for US residents (tax payers?). Is it also open for Europeans?

I posted in "who wants to be hired?" and got interest from several companies. One of them is now my employer.

The bootstrapping-type posts got me excited to try my hand at it. I'm at $5k/month (mostly) passive income right now, while also consulting 4 days a week.

Who wants to be hired helped me find my first freelancer gig.

If I can ask, what generates the most income, the Mac apps or the iOS one?

75% macOS, 25% iOS

macOS sales stable while iOS is growing fast.

What kind of passive income?

I make Mac [1] and iOS [2] apps.

[1]: https://fadel.io/

[2]: https://vidcap.app/

The second link doesn't seem to work but the first one does, thanks for explaining. Is it just organic growth or do you buy ads or something?

It should be working now? I think it's on Apple, itunes.apple.com has been slow for days.

Mac apps == organic. iOS apps == mostly organic, I'm testing some ads for VidCap.

It works now indeed.

How did you determine product demand? Congrats!

If it takes < 1 month to build, and it fixes an issue you encounter every day, then it’s worth building an MVP of and putting it out there.

We recently launched an MVP that helps online sellers with inventory and logistics. It's based on our own internal ERP system that we have been developing for a number of years for our retail operation.

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.

Ask HN: Those making $500+/month on side projects in 2017 – Show and tell - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15148804

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

In a sense, this comment [0] from bitexploder made me money; it gave me a framework I used to learn how to be a security engineer. Funnily enough, I unknowingly applied to his consulting firm years later before I found my current role.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14103349

Just reading this site and participating in the comments have made me money, indirectly. It is like the colleagues I do not have, so I am able to keep up with the new things here. Amazing. Like a real time Scientific American & Wired crossover BBS, where we're the players...

somehow my little book got HN love and that got me started on my indiehacking career! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23700486 made 200k so far. would recommend.

A who wants to be hired helped me find a gig!

A month ago I made a post on Show HN that showed my early attempts to make a supplement transparency database - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32029625

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/

Who wants to be hired thread got me a nice little raise and the general knowledge/info that I see on HN make a difference in my job. I've got my finger on the pulse of the industry and there are many languages/frameworks/concepts that I first learned about reading HN that I use in my job. Sometimes I spend too much time here but overall HN is a net positive for me and introduces me to things that I wouldn't see elsewhere, even on the tech-related subreddits.

Before I officially had an MVP, I posted about something I was working on here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29815771

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.

Made 5k USD by selling source code to a random HN guy:


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.

Almost any "what are you working on" style thread brings me people interested in my side project, and I tend to use their feedback to make it even better, some even stick around and become paying customers.

(It's an automated status page that integrates uptime monitoring, https://onlineornot.com)

It was topic about showing your side projects, or something similar.

I had small website just like [1] 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!

1: https://randomcountrygenerator.com/

Hi I see that you are serving your own OSM tiles, can you share how are you generating them? Especially in webp?

I'm using TileMill to generate tiles. I does not support webp. I exported it to png, and then with some one line script converted all png's to webp.

What did you use for ads? Adsense?

Correct. It was passive income. Once running, I didn't touched it almost at all.

Amazing, how much does it net you?

I replied on this post about side hustles, and it led to a number of purchases (and that ultimately led me to invest more time into the thing, which is now making decent money): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23438930

I post links to my blog post from time to time. Although none of them made a buzz here in HN but a few of you have contacted me in the past looking at my posts/blog. I have worked as a contractor for some of them and it has been wonderful working with them. Not to mention, you get paid a lot as a contractor.

I have benefited monetarily indirectly by lurking on HN for years and reading others’ thoughtful comments on a variety of subjects. Then apply some of those thoughts to my career as a developer, then later a EM. HN has been a gold mine of ideas by reading what others on HN post while interacting with each other.

Almost all posts related to my blog https://ruky.me where I make a small amount by serving ads. It’s not a life changing amount, but the feedback I get from HN motivates me to write.

wow, health informatics.

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.

I'm really nervous about any attempt to measure the value of HN in terms of money.

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.

In early 2007 I started posting here. It was, I think, a large part of why we got into YC in summer of '07. It was a much smaller community then and PG was still actively engaged with HN, so likely this wouldn't work today.

I posted this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27583185 And I got two clients for my consulting business.

I've spent a lot of money on several HN posts because I came across a service or product that was advertised, so pretty sure people on the other end made some money. (And I was happy to do so.)

Long term (10-30 years) buy and hold in publicly listed companies who had something about them which I did not believe could be accurately reflected in financial statements. Mostly AAPL and TSLA.


Got a Patreon for a year after this project went viral.

I suspect some of the people who've contributed to my Ko-fi (and Patreon before that) came through HN due to the short gap between a post and the event.

I actually made, IIRC, $500 from a comment I made on a HN post. The story is here: https://www.rosshartshorn.net/stuffrossthinksabout/nyt_opini...

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.

Who is hiring? (Sept. 2021)

None because any such form of making money means developing a web app or UN*X junk, for some questionably useful application that people are buying for some reason when they could just write it themselves or pirate stuff.

Learned about Bitcoin here first way way back. Enough said!

October 2019 someone submitted a story about a new Herpes vaccine using new fangled mRNA technology.

After investigating I bought shares of BNTX @ 13. Then, Covid. Step 3, profit.


This one did: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25627081

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.

wish I put some money in BTC before.


To take this a bit more literally, these I-Bonds are free money that HN told me about.

I got some donations to my newsletter for this HN post: The Wisdom in Kung Fu Panda


Is this the beginning of the end of HN as it becomes a target for free advertisement?

No, because "Show HN" has existed for a long time.

With questions like 'What HN post made you money?' being tossed around, I'd expect a rapid increase in Show HN. It could get out of hand and ruin it for everyone.

If you troll through NEW you find tens, hundreds of Show HN posts that are low-value and boring; they rarely make it to the front page.

HN gets comment threads every month or so with "FAANG engineers do in fact make >500k annually". I see commenters doubt this every time, but it's true!

"Is there a HN post that made you money?"

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.

> 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.

I'm not sure how someone who hasn't had that experience would elaborate on it. The point is that not everyone makes money on these posts. The way the question was worded indicates that those who didn't make money are still welcome to answer.

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 guess, as the title (What HN post made you money?) implies, it's looking more for responses from those that made money from HN posts, vs. a poll with a title more along the lines of "Have you made money from an HN post?".

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.

> 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.

Probably being downvoted because you have no evidence to back this up. HN posts have made people money directly AND indirectly.

Everyone is posting anecdotes. My anecdote is that it hasn't made me any money. The number of commenters on this post is much less than the overall number of users on HN. I see no evidence against my statements either.

"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.

This thread was made 2 hours ago, it's 745AM in silicon valley, where majority of people on this site are at... Don't expect it to explode so fast with people sharing.

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"

"in silicon valley, where majority of people on this site are at"

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 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.

"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.

> "I'll provide that when you provide evidence that nobody has."

Where did giantg2 claim that?

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