I'd probably be a lot less happy doing that, because my current gig is pretty much everything I could ask for in a job. More importantly, the most consequential thing to ever happen to me was meeting my future wife. It is likely that I would have been in a soul-deadening crunch in Tokyo rather than at the BBQ where that happened.
For me the best moment was when I met pg at SXSW in 2010, said my name, and he knew who I was. I've been reading his stuff since before Hacker News existed, so that was a thrill.
(disclosure: I work @ GWU)
(Written at Coxwell & Queen) ;-)
The OP's story is:
1. learned to program iOS (hard, completely under OP's control)
2. wrote and published iOS app (hard, under OP's control)
3. the app failed so wrote a blog post about his experience (easy although often neglected by programmers, under OP's control)
4. HN picked up the story which led to interview (total crapshot, not under OP's control)
5. a round of of interviews which led to job offer and "completely changed life" (hard, under OP's control)
I understand why claiming step 4 ("HN picking up the story") was responsible for "changed life" plays well on HN, but it's irrational.
The hard things that OP did and were under his control were: learning iOS programming, publishing iOS app, writing a blog post about it and doing well during an interview. Steps 1-3, 5 were necessary and responsible for his getting a better job.
Step 4 is the only one that wasn't under OP's control, involved pure luck and is not even necessary.
As an example, I get several interview inquiries every month but not because I post on HN (I do) or because occasionally what I wrote ended up on HN (it did) but because I have a website, github account and a portfolio of non-trivial projects.
Step 4 is not necessary because in this market a competent iOS programmer can pick and choose. The OP would be better off if he pro-actively applied for several iOS positions in Silicon Valley (of which there are plenty) and picked the best offer, instead of passively waiting and accepting the first offer.
I'm not saying that good things don't happen because of HN but in this particular case the lesson shouldn't be "write a blog post, hope it ends up on HN and then further hope someone will contact you with a job offer" but "learn a marketable skill (like iOS programming), produce a proof of your skill (write iOS application), market it a little bit (write a blog post about it) and then go on a job shopping spree (by applying for iOS jobs)".
(Excuse my runglish, I don't remember what I must write: "who" or "that" or "which")
By the same token, learning Rails, building the website, and making it interesting were all under my control, but there's absolutely no chance I'd be where I'm at right now had it not been for the existence of this message board.
Sometimes you don't know what's out there, or what you really want until it's handed to you on a silver platter.
Seems like a massive mis-attribution error
To put it another way, a startup in San Francisco doesn't need to go to the Midwest to find iOS developers. Just to find the right one.
Fast forward to May of this year, I saw a job posting here on HN for a YCS12 company that was looking for a summer intern. I sent them a short email, not knowing really what was going to happen - one thing led to another, and before I know it I'm flying out to San Francisco the day after I graduate to begin my internship!
I can honestly say that this summer has been the best summer of my life - I've learned more than I thought possible, worked more than I thought possible, and had more fun than I thought possible.
And that safe job offer from Google? Well, I'm not doing that anymore - I'm the first hire at a very promising YC startup that I'm in love with.
Anyone in SF who may be interested in the next month or so?
"Everyone knows that the last 20% takes 80% of the effort."
I guess I'm outside of "everyone" because that line is really going to make a difference for me. :)
Reading HN has changed my life as well - college student in the Appalachians and I get so little exposure to startup culture in my business education. I can sit in class all day and feel uninspired about corporate strategy, but seeing so many bootstrapped ventures and learning about how to make it all work is what is driving me these days.
As cliche as it may be, I'm developing a real passion for the startup culture and some of the companies I spend all day reading about. Between the app on my iPhone and browsing online, reading HN articles (and perhaps more importantly, the comments) is contributing to the best hours of learning I get all day.
Six months ago, I didn't know the first thing about entrepreneurship, startups, or bootstrapping a venture. Now, I'll be Show HN'ing my first project within a few weeks' time. Thanks so much to everyone here.
There's also a real learning experience when you make something public. Other peoples reactions are often (normally?) quite different to your own. That kind of feedback is really valuable, both good and bad. The bad because it provides an impartial view, and the good because it validates your views and encourages you to continue.
"A 'co-founder of a mobile development startup in SF' was a humorous creature I’d read all about on the internet — I may as well have been replying to a hobbit."
What's the name of the company you're working at now?
HN is undeniably awesome.
(*One interviewer was pushed forward an hour, the others are in 15 minutes...)
I started out in Michigan writing 3D games (by hand, no hardware acceleration!), and after my wife and I took a vacation out to northern California I just had to live there. This was during the dotcom days of 1999, and it took less than a week to get multiple job offers. So we packed up our stuff and did a cross country move. It was awesome, and exciting, and the future was wide open.
However, like the author of this piece, I wasn't really prepared with how lonely it felt. Sure, there was a lot of innovative tech happening, but sometimes at the end of the day I just wanted to have a few beers with some good friends. So, I moved away from the SF Bay area up to Portland, Oregon, where I knew several friends from college, and have been here ever since.
Lately I've got the itch to return to California. Partly for the opportunities, partly for the sunshine (it's freakin' dark and depressing during Portland winters), and partly due to HN rekindling my love of startups. Now that I'm a bit older I think I'd have a better go of it. Anyone have a cool project that needs a iOS/Python/C++ tech director?
As someone who did just this, but in kinda the opposite direction: from the East Coast to Minneapolis, I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me. I basically rebuilt myself here. I love MN!
Since January. Laid off from the first along with most people there, and the second one shut down literally the week I started working. But hey, technology moves fast and so do startups. They have to. I'm actually grateful since it's given me three entirely different viewpoints into how startups work.
The rest of our discussion on Hacker News/startup lessons here: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=4426093 (An interesting take on addressing the pain points of customers).
This passage really resonates with me. The concept of dreams as a resource is a useful one and I'd never thought of it. When I joined HN, I was in a similar kind of situation. Running an EFL supplementary school in Taiwan, I had a sense of accomplishment, some prestige and likely a solidly growing income for as long as I chose to stick with it. But not only did it consume 60-70 hours a week of my time, it also consumed my dreams. It would have been really easy to stay there and not think much about doing anything more.
What changed my direction was PG essays, some of which I read on reddit and some of which I read here. Since I was so heavily invested in my business in Taiwan and nearly all of my best friends were there, it took me time to finally take the plunge, end that chapter of my life and move into the tech world. It hasn't been very easy, as some of you may have seen me post on here before, but it is invigorating. The three tasks of hunting for work, working and upgrading my work skills are using up my time, but not my dreams.
Through my usage of HN I've learned that this really isn't the case, sure being able to sell yourself is a useful skill but if you can build great things and put your work out there you can achieve a lot without needing to focus on people. A good example I think is Gumroad founder Sahil (http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=sahillavingia), he's very talented, he made cool stuff and people took notice and now he's doing really cool things.
HN has made me confident that if I ever build anything great that I won't need to spend 12 hours a day cold calling every Techcrunch writer hoping that they post nice words about me, I can let my work speak for me.
Now I just need to build something cool :)
It's finally good to see someone who writes something positive about HN. Yes, there might be a lot of negativity around and the community might have lost the quality that many of you complain about. However, it's good to know there are still elements of this community that provide positive outcomes to those associated to it.
Sorry. Look at my handle; I couldn't resist :-)
So basically, Hacker News is pretty awesome, regardless of whatever people say.
I'm going to make the jump as soon as possible. HN has really been both an inspiration and a great place for sage advice.
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, graduated from the U of MN with a Computer Science degree in 2003, and pulled up stakes to move to Seattle as soon as I could.
If you were ever in debate, speech, or quiz bowl in high school between 1997 and 2000, or if you attended the U of MN between 1998 and 2003, I'm guessing we did at some point.
In any case, congrats!
Write about your hacking experiences, what you learned, and how others can avoid your mistakes and you'll have much more luck.
More importantly, it is continuing to push me on my own projects.
(not at airbnb, but with another awesome YC startup in sunny CA and loving it)
In Moscow a humorous proverb exists: "There is no life outside MKAD(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Ring_Road)
When I read PG (and others) about "there is no opportunity for [startups ... interesting productive life] except SF" - I think it's the same. Not true
And I suppose that this is possible.
There is "life outside MKAD"
"Around half of Russian economy lives in Moscow region, formally or informally" - I remember that 75% of all money in Moscow
One thing I really like about the HN-sphere is the optimism. I'm naturally a cynical, dark person, as opposed to the Silicon Valley optimism and positive-sum outlook I see here. Neither is superior; both perspectives are needed. Too much optimism and you make bad choices (hence the engineers joining pre-funding startups for 1% equity) but too much pessimism and you lose your courage. It's best to have a splash of each.
It's refreshing coming to a place where people have faith in the ability for smart people to take back the world. Looking at recent improvements in compensation and autonomy for solid engineers, that might actually happen. There are a lot of bad startups too, but it's the good startups that are driving that.