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Ask HN: What happened to Proposition HN? ("$8000 for your side project")
197 points by technel on Aug 19, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments
Long ago, an anonymous user offered to pay $8000 to several people to build side projects.[1] The blog for the project hasn't been updated[2] since January, and the names of those selected were never made public.

Is anyone involved able to comment?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5037694 [2] http://hnproposition.blogspot.com/

Hey guys

Sorry for the radio silence. I was intending on keeping the blog updated with anecdotes from the experiment, but ended up not doing so. I've received a few emails from people mentioning that I'm throwing away the opportunity of turning the initial spike of interest into a long-standing readership/audience but the truth is that was never what I was after; I was genuinely keen on finding some cool new projects to work on.

The experiment is going so-so. If you remember I green-lighted 5 projects.

- 1 was aborted before start through mutual agreement after further market research

- 2 were aborted because the devs did not manage to complete the MVP. Lack of motivation mainly. If I've learnt anything so far it's that lack of follow-through is still a major issue, and the promise of a little money and a partner to work with does not squash the problem as much as I thought it would. I suspect not being physically in the same space has a lot to do with it.

That leaves 2, one of which is live and the other is about a month away still (slow progress)

So it's unclear whether this structure works. Going to depend on the last 2. Even then, the sample size has been quite small so the results will not be conclusive. Guess will need to try a second round at some point!


Interesting. I wonder how this compares with Google's Summer of Code program completion statistics (at least back when it started).

If you wind up with several companies that are judged as likely to be successful, what will you do? You can't reasonably split multiple companies 50/50 with others, because you won't be able to give adequate time. Getting a business off the ground is just the very first step. You're practically dooming businesses to failure if you can't fully commit to them because you are splitting time between multiple companies.

On the other hand, it wouldn't be fair to bet on one of the companies and then reject working on others, even if they might be viable businesses.

How much money have you spent then so far? And thanks for answering.

Ps: written on iPhone. Apologies about formatting/typos

> Guess will need to try a second round at some point!

Please do. I loved the idea when I first read about it. And as you said, 5 is a small sample size to draw any conclusions from.

Maybe your experience from the first batch will help you choose better motivated developers to work with next time.

I for one think a 50% success rate (2 out of 4 if we don't count the aborted project) is a great success given the 'Internet random stranger hookup' setup. With more rounds and more candidates we got a mini-PG now.

It's still a fascinating experiment at any rate. I hope that you'll do a second round, I'd probably apply. Good luck and keep us informed if and when you can!

I was one of the developers that participated in this project.

The web app launched about a month ago and is currently running with some beta users testing it out.

I got paid for my development work and we are currently working on advertising the app with the advertising budget we set aside.

I'm sure if things go well we will do a write up about the experience and post it at some point.

It looks like it was http://www.textrep.com

It looks like there are 5+ different font families on that page. Choosing 2 would make it a lot easier to read.

What kind of messages get mass-texted by realtors to their clients?

Open house reminders, "a house just went on the market in the zip code you were looking at", etc.

It usually won't be texts to all of their clients, but to groups of 10-20 based on their tags and groupings in our system.

Does it hook up to the IDX?

This web app is the http://viidya.com/?

No that ones my personal project.

I began a project with this after the pitch/initial selection phase - but due to personal circumstances had to withdraw about 40% of the way in and concentrate on other things.

Due to the specific arrangement we had, I (understandably) didn't get paid anything, although the idea is still on hold to be resurrected when I'm more able - although this may be as a solo project then.

The concept and semi-anonymous funder are certainly legit and I'm interested to see how the other projects from this develop.

I threw my idea list at the guy (I think it was only 80-something deep at the time) and were tossed some ideas back and forth. Ultimately, I decided I didn't really think he was the type of partner I was looking for. Absolutely nothing personal against him and I assure you, his offers were legitimate and he very easily had the means to accomplish what he put forth in his original post. It simply can't down to him being a business/sales guy, when I wanted another technical person; and him looking to fund full time development of an idea, whereas I wasn't all too concerned with those financials.

Bounced a few emails around. I was turned down. A few months later I went and put it together myself anyway. The beta test has been well recieved and I am looking for clients.

If you're looking for clients, you could mention the venture or include a link in your profile. Never know who on here might be a potential client or could pass the link on to someone else who would be more interested.

What is the project / can we see the beta?

Sure. http://parametrek.com

I should probably re-shoot the demo video. It is seriously dated.

I like the idea, but no offense, I would remove the wording that says "the most user friendly". The site needs some serious ux/design work.

The project i am involved in is going forward. late, but going forward =)

Can we get a few more details? You seem to have created a throwaway account just for this post.

I have, and it's probably the third throwaway i open here -- keep forgetting pws, sorry. I don't feel authorized to disclose any details regarding the originator of the proposition, but i can assure you the project i am doing (surprise, it's a webapp with an api!) has been funded.

Thanks for posting this.

I am surprised more "seed investors" don't come on here once in a while and say... show me (demo) what you're working on... I have 15-25K to thrown down on something interesting. HN could use a little more personal engagement on here.

Can we at least know what ideas you people were working on?

I wonder if it was just an idea grab - hopefully not.

Why would anyone bother with an "idea grab"?

Based on the number of "seeking technical cofounder" emails I get every week, ideas are not the problem. Successful companies are built on execution.

You can find investors even out there (and others) - who at different points slip up and say they're just fishing for data (whether it is ideas or information relating to success of certain ideas).

And do you really think every idea that people have is published and talked about immediately upon them having it? Many don't so they can line things up and have a competitive advantage. Like you said, execution is the most important part - though the idea still is valuable - and if someone else executes first on an idea then they can beat out the originator of the idea. An easy example: Facebook, Mark Z. who was hired by the brothers, who had the idea to be exclusive to only people with a Harvard email address - which in evidence / documentation he even stated he wanted to beat them to the punch (because "people don't need two of these platforms" - rough quote, I don't remember the exact words).

I definitely have a lack of viable ideas. Would like to know where all these ideas your talking about come from :-)

That's likely the key difference: Ideas and ideas that are viable - or knowing how or what makes them viable. Usually when you're pitching ideas for money you explain WHY they are viable, telling your strategy / tactics ...

As this project has pointed out even getting an MVP isn't the problem with starting a successful business. $8000 isn't a lot of money if your talking about a profitable business.

I'm curious about this as well.

Thing still open?


It didn't look anything serious when it was posted and I hope no one did.

I have been paid so i guess you can say there was some seriousness to it.

I kind of find it hard to believe. You just created your account like 17 mins ago.

But someone who has an older account couldn't possibly be lying.

Or he doesn't want to connect being part of it to a different account.

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