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Ask HN: Do you feel like you're missing out?
104 points by paulpauper on May 23, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments
It seems like with all this amazing stuff going on in the world (surging web 2.0 valuations, people becoming instantly rich & famous in tech, booming stocks & home prices, new discoveries in physics, twitter debates, viral content and insta-fame) does it ever feel like you're missing out, like there is a big party going and you're watching from the sidelines.



I've been there. It took me a while to figure out that the media manufactures stories to get eyeballs. Do some digging and you'll find a different story. Once you know the translation key, it is much less envious.

- Overnight success => Decade of work

- Owner is worth an estimated $100 million => Owner is saving for a couch (Kevin Rose said this after his cover story in a magazine)

- Innovative idea => Ripped off a competitor and had better marketing

- Hard work and sacrifice => Lied/cheated/stole to get where they are


> Hard work and sacrifice => Lied/cheated/stole to get where they are

I wouldn't be so cynic. I think real life is simply not good news material.

"Tonight, the groundbreaking story of the developer who worked for 3 years on banking software, 4 years on insurance databases and a staggering 2 years on android apps! He's now ready to start his own company... or is he? Sitting on a chair and typing code has never been so exciting!"


Certainly some people do succeed through hard work alone, but corruption absolutely plays a large part at the top end of the spectrum. Youtube was mostly pirated content before they were bought, Zuckerburg stole the idea for FB and cheated his partner, Uber guys have done every dirty trick in the book...


I have alot of idea's, but as a full-time developer, it's hard to get a team to trust and spread the word about them. Knowing there's a millionplus people ready to copy paste and invest a few dollars or a million or more. The funds i dont have.

So yes, i feel like im missing out, but more like not having a chance to miss out.


I would listen to that news... I kind-of like it...


> Owner is saving for a couch (Kevin Rose said this after his cover story in a magazine)

Not that I didn't believe you, but I wanted to hear it for myself. I finally found it on Diggnation: http://revision3.com/diggnation/2006-08-03/

06:30 - They start talking BusinessWeek's cover story: "How [Kevin Rose] made $60 million in 18 months"

06:50 - Rose: "Here's the deal - I don't have 60 million dollars. I don't have 1 million dollars. I don't have any thousands of dollars."

Note: they bring up the couch because the episode starts off talking about Kevin moving out and the lack of furniture in his new place.


- Overnight success => Decade of work = Even what Appears to be an Overnight success (Facebook/Instagram) was developed by people who worked on their craft for years.

- Owner is worth an estimated $100 million = On Paper which he can not really sell

- Innovative idea => ..Better Marketing = Great Ideas and Products don't always win out. Just look at VCR

....Lied/cheated/stole = BUT You Don't Have To


Here's the Kevin Rose cover [0]. I remember him downplaying it but I thought he was being modest at the time.

[0] http://i.imgur.com/KFveyzl.jpg


Dude, do you realize there are areas on earth where inhouse toilet and running potable water are luxuries?

Besides,studies have shown that a) Financial income above a specific fairly low and professionally attainable threshold does not bring any more happiness (70k a year or so) b) most happiness peoples experience per achievements are due to achieved intrinsic goals (art, science, learning to play the piano, whatever, becoming ceo if that is what gets ones socks rolling)

If this sort of "I'm missing out" thing is on the forefront of your mind I would call it non-beneficial mental noise. Quit twitter, find a hobby - or get seriously interested on some practical problem that is approachable by you and most of all - is intrinsically interesting to you!

Lots of stuff works using principles and systems that are old - some tens of years, some root back a thousands of years.

The function of media is to grab your attention using hooks that are subliminally, compulsively interesting. Ignore that second by second crap and dig in to the root causes of problems. Most things are pretty well researched already and you can get pretty far by developing a learning path of your own.

And if you don't want to - that's ok too! It's your life - live it the best way you can.

What is common with most of these Elon Musks and what ever you got - they lived their life and what they achieved was due to a unique combination of all the genetics and life circumstances that brought them where they went. You can't replicate those circumstances, but what you can do and should do, is live your life.


I dont think that 70k threshold is actually necessarily true. At least according to:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=bMxgVaux...


Ok, I oversimplified and am not a specialist anyway :) basically, as I as a layman to current psychological research understand it, 70k gets you to a point where most common financial stressors of an everyday western life can be dealt with withou too much difficulty. Above that should bring you to a place where you have more financial freedom to explore your intrinsic motivations and desires. One can travel and hire personal guides and trainers, etc. Sure, if one absolutely needs to do helicopter bungee jumping above the amazon rainforest to fullfill ones dearest intrinsic drives then yeah, 70k might not cut it :). Otoh if marathon running suffices then that has near zero cost.


http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/if-mone...

here's the url directly, google search seems to rewrite links in results.


It's funny that I've quit social websites like twitter/fb(only checking messages, not obsessing over people's statuses) but I just spend more time on hn and read about way smarter people writing about way cooler things, I guess in a sense it's more enriching, but also in a way still feeling like OP..


I did the same thing and ended up with the same feeling.


“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP


people becoming instantly rich & famous in tech

Those guys are lottery winners, seriously. Now I am not saying they didn't work their asses off too, but for every one of them there are 100 or 1000 or 10000 people who were just as smart and worked just as hard and their companies went up in a puff of smoke anyway. Wishing you were them is pointless because they are not them either.


A couple of days ago my seven year old asked how internet videos are made. This morning, to answer him, we made a 57-frame stop-motion movie of two Lego minifigures building a wall, only to have it blown up by a Bob-omb three times taller then them. No, I'm not missing out.

...

Oh, you mean all that sturm und drang about entrepeneurship? Meh. This is a wonderful time to be alive. Make sure you enjoy it. Doesn't have to be family, there's a lot of other options. There's more ways to succeed in life than selling a unicorn.

(After years of reading this site... I have more or less a 9-to-5 job at a matured now-public startup, and few regrets. Oh, there's a few things I might have done differently, but if HN has taught me anything, it's that I'm not an entrepeneur. That's fine. So's what you're doing. It's OK.)


On the stop-motion video with your kid - that's totally awesome!!

I'd love to do something like that with my daughter. What software did you use to put it together?


Plain ol' FFMPEG can take images and turn them into videos. I did have to buy a tripod, but, I've wanted one several times now in the past couple of years so this finally tipped me over.

(Amusingly, if you haven't bought one in a while, they all come with "smartphone adapators" now, at least at the consumer level. 21st century ho!)

I used this command line:

    ~/bin/ffmpeg -r 3 -start_number $X -i %03d.jpg -vcodec mpeg4 \
        -qscale:v 3 -s 1920x1080 ${MOVIE}.mp4
"-r 3": 3 frames per second. "-start_number $X -i %03d.jpg": Use JPEGS named like "123.jpg". Nominally the %03d.jpg is supposed to be a printf-style template, but I had trouble with anything but straight numbers like that (possibly my camera's naming convention confused it). I used emacs' wdired mode to bulk rename the files. "-start_number $X" is helpful so you can just grab photos off the camera's photo list without having to renumber them. "-s 1920x1080" tones down the resolution since the vast bulk of cameras take way-more-than-HD resolution, and I didn't bother with trying to fiddle with setting it down in the camera, because 32GB SD mini cards are cheap now.

I'll say this to anyone thinking of trying it out: Once I had a little stubby tripod I could put on the kitchen table, it was really quite a fantastically easy project. Stop-motion is, of course, an incredibly labor intensive style of animation... for professional results. For 3 fps, grabbing some children's toys that were probably just on the floor, and moving just one or two things per frame, you can be taking a shot every 10 seconds or so, quite easily. My kids were 7 & 4 and, quite frankly, probably both below average on their patience (for various reasons), and we actually made 4 videos today. It's had a much better bang/buck for the kids than I expected.

And it's yet another place where Legos really shine, by the way.


Thanks for the detailed response!


Also check out http://toonloop.com/


To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.


This is great. Is it a quote from somewhere?


It's a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson :)


Ralph Waldo Emerson


No. Not really. Not even slightly.

I really don't enjoy the thought of being famous, and especially not the ephemeral famous-on-the-internet variety. I especially hate the end results of how twitter gets used, and turn a blind eye to nearly everything that happens on that website. It's something of an abomination watching silly people cram their already dumbed-down thoughts into something even dumber than its natural incarnation.

Web 2.0 is really more of a 2004 idea (as with viral content which is even older) but I understand what you're driving at. Especially since some of the technology involved isn't all that new either, which points to the fact that the purchases are more often a form of conflict resolution between competing companies, than genuine success. Large companies purchasing smaller companies before they can become threatening.

There might be much physics-related publicity, but not too many drastic shifts in our understanding of the world that surrounds us. We still don't have any moon bases or martian colonies, and so maybe certain special bosons are the the seat of mass, enslaving us all to gravity, but until that discovery actually pays off, big deal.

Stocks are imaginary financial instruments, and publicly traded stocks are even more imaginary. Some people have a lot of imagination, I suppose. From what my friends tell me, owning a home is worse than owning a car. When your car breaks down, you have to walk home. But when your home breaks down, you're either cold, or wet, or both, and there's no place to sleep. At least, when you rent, there's someone else to blame.


99% of the stuff mentioned doesn't last. Why not read a book instead of surfing twitter or viral content. Why not buy a diversified portfolio instead of speculating on stocks and real estate. Why not build a lasting lifestyle business rather than an over diluted non sensical on demand startup. Just my 2 cents, your milage and views may vary. Btw, physics discoveries are super cool :D


Absolutely yes. It's difficult to focus on your own career when everyone else is on the spotlight. It's been one year since I started grokking the entrepreneur culture: I've never felt more empowered; I've never felt more miserable.

On top of that, the average Joe can't appreciate long-term efforts and is quick to dismiss you as a loser. We worship the overnight successes and underappreciate everything else.

Magicians want you to believe in mind-reading. Media want you to believe you're missing out. Both of them know that keeping the boring secrets preserves the mystery and wonder. George Carlin said it best: "It's all bullshit folks, and it's bad for ya!"


There's no one becoming instantly rich & famous in anything. Behind every overnight success is years of grinding it out getting better at whatever it is that you do. I don't care if you are talking about startups or rap music. It only ever looks like an overnight success because the 5 or 8 years of grinding it out before aren't exciting to talk about. Even people that make it rich quickly on 1 particular startup probably had a bunch of things going before they ever did that 1 startup.

What does that mean for you?

Are you growing every day? You can work hard without growing. Growing is learning, pushing yourself, meeting new people, exposing yourself to new things. If you are doing that on a continuous basis, you will find your way into the "party".


Well, personally I don't consider "Twitter debates", "viral content" or what I think is implied with "insta-fame" to be all that amazing or noteworthy at all. Those are all ephemera by definition that may or may not end up obscure historical footnotes one day.

Other things you described amount to the business cycle. There's a lot of interesting to stuff to be learned studying economics and finance, but the particular results and spotlights of a given boom-bust aren't necessarily all that notable. Do you recall the aftermath of the depression from 1920-1921 in the United States? Likely not, and it barely registers in the public consciousness regardless.

Finally, only one actually amazing thing - new discoveries in physics. Too bad you don't see all the behind-the-scenes academic debate, infighting, spurious results, grunt work that underpins the eventual eureka moment. And don't forget just how many "eureka moments" aren't really that at all, but inflated expectations from poor scientific reporting. How many people do you think realize that "statistical significance" is pretty mundane in comparison to our everyday understanding of "significance"?


The things you listed are mostly crap and don't matter.

Find the niche you're really interested in, and intensely follow and get involved with that. It's much more fulfilling than being kept up-to-date with the latest "someone made this controversial remark on twitter" scandal or the IPO of some startup you've never heard of until now.

There's just too much stuff in the world, and you can't know and follow everything in detail. I read a pretty wide variety of news, out of interest, but I have my core areas in which I work which are the real things I'm passionate about.

(also: "Web 2.0" isn't a thing)


There is one thing you have to remember: this is not a competition.

You don't have to play the game. Do things at your pace. A lot of things you read about the successes is not entirely true. It is very common for the media to exaggerate the sexy parts. Every start up story is a revolutionary until you see them throw in the towel a few month later.

Do things at your own pace, as long as you do something.


What you are seeing is a different form of the facebook highlight reel. There was a study that correlated Facebook use with higher rates of depression or something along those lines. The rationale for this was that you are comparing the 100% of your day to day activities with the cream of the crop activities that your friends were posting about(and possibly fabricating)

Not every day is a highlight reel.


I don't feel like I'm missing out, but I do often lament the lack of time[1]. It is an interesting observation though of feeling on the outside of an amazing time. Do you feel like you are not able to 'join' the party? And if so what is holding you back?

[1] Spending it reading HN not withstanding :-)


Not the OP, but for me it's a conscious decision not to join the party, and it's totally related to your [1].

I run a small consulting company doing primarily hardware and embedded software. I've got a lab set up in my basement with almost all of the gear that I need to do that successfully (spectrum analyzer, oscilloscope, and logic analyzer being the big 3 that I use pretty often). I do well enough at it that I don't really worry about money; I won't be retiring at 35, but I'm doing well enough that I don't think much about my chequing account balance.

There's the occasional crunch time, but for the most part I work hard for clients a few hours a day and spend the rest of the day learning & experimenting[1], reading, taking the dogs for a walk, doing yard work, etc. When I'm working on the software part of the work, we've got a family cabin a few hours away that has excellent 4G coverage. My partner and I will pack up the dogs and head down there for a few days in the middle of the week if it looks like it's going to be nice weather. She too has a job where working remote is often an option, so we'll get up, make some bacon & eggs with pancakes, take the dogs for a walk around "town", and then come back and do a few hours of work from maybe 11-3.

When I was working full-time+ in startup land, I definitely felt time poor. Sure, I sometimes miss being at the party, but I feel way less stressed now and happier with my life.

[1] The learning & experimenting often involves noodling with a new piece of software or hardware. It's often still screen time, but it's at my own pace and on my own terms. And over and over, it's turned out to be relevant to potential consulting gigs with a 1-3 month turnaround. Learn some new piece of tech, talk about it to friends, and tada! there's someone who's willing to pay me to use whatever weird niche thing I picked up to solve a problem for them.


In the late 70s, as a teen ager, I was disappointed that I was just a little too young to have participated in the computing boom. I got to program big iron, but all the cool stuff had already been done: early computer vision algorithms, hard drives, semiconductors, the "ultimate" papers (i.e. scheme), the ARPAnet, bitmapped display etc. I loved programming but wondered if really there was anything exciting ahead or if it would now be just more of the same.

My model was of how physics had had an astounding boom from about the 1880s-1940s (roughly Maxwell->semiconductor), and then it just got hard for a small number of people to make big changes.

Of course that was foolish: computing is still roughly where mechanical engineering was in the late 1800s: lots of lore, much disastrous failure, but a marvelous cambrian explosion of experimentation and development of theory.


Every day. But then I look at my children, remember the work I've done that I'm most proud of and stuff like that and I shrug it off.

Sure, I would love to be more socially engaged in my surroundings, but whenever I'm in doubt about my life I reevaluate my priorities and usually discover that I'm pretty happy where I'm at. It's my life and I get to define the optimum, and so far viral content, insta-fame and richness hasn't gotten close to the top.

Caveat: I'm not famous, haven't founded a start-up or famous for my twitter debates. But it works for me.


I'm with you. I have a wife and a son. I live in my childhood home, which is completely paid off. My parents, grandparents, and most of my siblings live within a 5 mile radius. I don't have an 8-figure net worth, but I have enough money to do the things I want to do in life, none of which involve being famous or working 80-hour weeks.


"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good" - Anonymous


(John Steinbeck, East of Eden, right?)


I found myself getting into the same old dull routine, purely out of habit.

So I wrote a 5 year plan.

It forced me to think through what I wanted to accomplish in the next five years, and what made me happy.

Every five years or so, I revisit it.

Having goals in mind helps.


I personally feel that jumping on the bandwagon will only crash and burn you unless you genuinely believe that you have an idea or believe in a cause that would make real difference to the world.

It may seem like everything has already been done but remember that back in 1898, Charles Holland Duell, who was appointed as the United States Commissioner of Patents famously said "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Start from the grassroot level. Start by looking around you, think of how we can contribute to education and make better citizens of tomorrow by empowering our children with technology, be able to assist farmers with advanced data analysis that would enable them maximise their cultivation, predictive analytics in policing and bring down cost of law enforcement, there are plenty of ideas that are worth billions of dollars. There is no point in being another Uber of some on demand service valued at a billion pound. Be another google, another apple, microsoft or IBM. The foundation of all these companies were built on creating a legacy, to revolutionise the way we think and percieve life and to make a difference in our existence.

Have a short term goal of 2 years to find what you want to do and chase it with singe-minded determination. You are not late. Good Luck!


Imagine tons of winning lottery players getting together in one spot. It would look like the only way to get ahead is to win the lottery if you're looking from the outside in.

Mix in a few thousand lottery winner wannabes and the analogy is complete.

My advice: just ignore it, survivor bias is a thing that is very hard to quantify without having all the numbers and for every lottery winner there are large numbers of also-rans that did not make it.

The media magnifying this effect certainly does not help.


Whenever I start to feel this way, it's a good time to read some David Foster Wallace:

"In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.

Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing."


Ten years old as of yesterday. Rewards re-reading for sure.


That is a great sentiment - thanks for sharing. I needed that.


Uhhh... why would I feel like I'm missing out on an overinflated asset bubble driven by cheap money in the hands of people who live in bubbles?


You define what is important for yourself.

OP, it sounds like you're choosing to accept other people's versions of reality instead of focusing on what you can do (and add) by sticking to your own values and doing the best you can at what you choose to do.

Nothing that the media reports on will ``matter" in 10 minutes, anyway. Conversely, your family, kids, dog, open source project, whatever, will still be around.


Not at all! Realize that your have a finite amount of time, each day, each week, your entire life. You are going to miss out on some things, and that's okay! Ensure you're prioritizing the things in you're life that are important to you, and be realistic about what's important, and where you want to spend your time and energy.


I think that a lot of people are missing out. I also feel like a lot of genuinely exciting projects get drowned out by the noise created by well-funded mediocre projects.

There is a problem in society now whereby successful (sometimes well-deserving) people are helping their friends too much. I have seen really poor quality projects (with 0 growth) keep receiving funding year after year because the CEO was friends with the investor.

The marketing noise created by these mediocre projects prevents a lot of quality projects from reaching the awareness of consumers.

I often wish that all newly minted tech millionaires would just keep their money to themselves and go on a perpetual holiday to the Bahamas instead of using their money to pollute the market with poor quality projects/companies.

Funding isn't necessarily evil though, funding the wrong project is (even though it is unintentional).


The missing out sindrome is normal. It's part of growing, and I believe everyone will sooner or later experience in some areas of life.

But this shouldn't fake reality. Dig deeper into the stories of the many rich people and you'll discover passion, devotion, late night work, single men and women, solitude, failure.

Many "overnight" success were planned with lots of work. Don't be fooled. :)

Responding to your question: Yes, I feel like I am missing out a lot. Living in italy I feel like I'm many steps behind the internet world. I'm trying to improve, but there's this voice in my head that keeps telling me that all of this is not important, that our human goal is not competition, is helping the world with our work. Every day that passes reinforce this thought, and I hope one day it will also shut down my fear of missing out forever.


Yes I feel that a lot of times.But what I am trying to make myself understand: -What you said,there are a lot of of amazing stuff going.The mind prefers vacillating compared to singular focus.So if you are trying to get into any one of them,where do I jump into? -The more you get intimidated by all that good stuff going on the more chances that you are going to not focus on a singular thing which could (just maybe) be the place where you become one of those famous ones. -Internet fame is as volatile as it could get.Take Flappy Bird for example. Dong Nguyen was one of those insta-fames .That lasted for a week?

Back to the age old cliche(or atleast a form of it that i remember). ~Do not chase success.Chase your goal and success(fame,debates and all those) will follow .

I know how lame it sounds.But ask any of those people sitting up there.It works.


I used to, then I happened upon Dual Cores - Unplug. Just hit me like a ton of bricks. You are missing out, just define what's important to you.

http://open.spotify.com/track/6KUlm8u1OrdZyFf8m74QhR


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_missing_out

A few random thoughts: - A story is in the news strictly because it's out of the ordinary. - Related to number one, it's best not to compare your life to to the news. Essentially, you're comparing the day to day with the highlights of someone else's life. You don't have the full picture. - One of the best things to do is something Tim Ferris recommended, avoid all news for a week, and focus on your life. - Always remember there is another side to the story. - In the end, you are the judge of how fulfilling your life is.


A little bit. But then I notice that almost everyone announcing anything interesting has been working hard at that project for years.

So I put my head down and get back to work, so that I too may make an interesting announcement in the not-too-distant future.


Well, why are you missing out? There's plenty of opportunity for these things in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. Is this a question about how to pick the right company, or where to live, or what kind of work to focus on?


Yes – every day. By most metrics, my startup is going great, but it's taken years of all-nighters, working weekends, and skipped vacations. I love what I'm doing, but I'm also cognizant of all the friends, relationships, family-time, and other experiences I'm not investing my time in as much as I should.

Whether things work out or not, I'll always wonder what the counterfactual was, all the unknown-unknowns I chose to miss out on.

Regardless of what you read, what you feel like you're missing out on, know everything comes with a sacrifice. My only advice would be to think carefully about what you choose to invest your time in.


Keep in mind that the noise ratio is high, particularly in strong bull markets. Not all that glitters is gold.

If you no longer want to watch from the sidelines, you can follow this simple formula:

1). Build something great. 2). Tell people about it.

Also, read less tech press.


I used to feel like that when I was younger. Now many years later I haven't accomplished the goals I set years back, but I feel happy. I spend my days working on interesting problems and feel I'm learning so much all the time.

I'd say the key is concentrating on what you're doing that makes you happy. If coding is your passion and you're coding 50 hours a week now, you'd probably do the same if you were rich and famous. Or maybe you wouldn't have so much time for coding with everything else coming your way.


I feel like I'm missing out from just the regular life that most people on HN seem to have. I work as a baker at a food chain, I make less than $20,000 a year, and I don't have a college degree. Hell, I don't even have a smartphone because I still can't afford one. And yet, here I am trying to stay in the know as I self-study to maybe become a programmer one day. But I certainly feel like I'm looking from the outside in, not really a part of the world that is embodied in this site.


> people becoming instantly rich & famous in tech

Outliers, like lottery winners and "beating the house" Vegas. It happens, but very infrequently.


Its all about hustle. I have a friend raking in millions a month now. He started with nothing, took no vacation for 5 years, but now he is enjoying the fruits of his labor. I have been on the sidelines for too long, missed out on the dotcom and the web 2.0 I am working on something now. I think trying to start something is still better odds than winning the powerball lottery.


I'm socially isolated so I miss a bit of that interaction with other people stuff.

But, other than that, no, I don't feel like I'm missing out. I made some decidedly sub-optimal choices when I was younger and they continue to have an impact.

I tend to focus a lot on making my child's life better - more fun, more safe (without over-coddling protection), more exciting, more supported, etc etc.


Oh, I thought this was going to be a "do you feel like you're missing out on life?" post.

No, I don't feel like I'm missing out on what you're talking about. But there's probably a party in your neighborhood a few houses down that you are missing out on.


Short answer - yes.

I'm not entirely convinced that there is anything to miss out on, but if there was, I'm certain that I'm missing it.

I attribute this to geography - I live 2,842 miles from the Valley and don't go to a feeder school for the Valley - the cultural gap is too great.


I miss out more about people relocating to live in Thailand, finding some source of income to support them, than about valuations and business success.

Physics is in crisis, the world becomes angrier and less capable, I don't see bright future ahead anyway.


For every person that "makes it", there are probably a million or two who do not.

Find your passion, do the best you can, learn, improve your skills and you might get lucky one day or just live a good life. Money is nice but its not everything.


What if OP genuinely is missing out on something? I have followed this discussion, and a vast many people are equating 'Fear of Missing Out' with a 'Freedom of Missing Out'. The argument that the internet has made spatial disadvantage obsolete because (apparently) we can now call anybody, any-time, from anywhere is a myth. The thoughts of cold calling influential people in Silicon Valley to discuss a new coding project frankly terrifies me. I would much rather afford to bump into them casually and spark up a conversation the natural way. i.e: Over coffee, or by way of bumping into them randomly on the street. So many great things start that way, and I dare suggest the Googles and the Amazons were born naturally like that as they are insiders clubs.

There are many countries where the Internet is disagreeable and molasses slow compared to Silicon Valley, and also a vast many people who can not even afford a keyboard to type on, never mind having several Herman Miller chairs in the office with exposed brick walls with fixies hanging on them. I know a few friends who are making their office like that just to replicate Silicon Valley, but that is like wearing an olympic medal for a few minutes just to see what it is like winning the race, but without having to run it. Maybe OP wants that, if not for the part where spatial disadvantage disallows it, or for the part where simply not having access to capital disallows it. Fair enough, research suggests we are not in another bubble, but those studies did not factor in how cheap it is to start things now, and how much leverage we have. Product Hunt is a perfect example of how far we have come in terms of leverage. It is basically free now to 'start something' or commit to a cause.

I think OP is referring to the amount of shoestring businesses / bootstrappers that are sprouting from the woodwork because of pure opportunism and nothing else. Perhaps they do believe in their idea and are causing parties to happen. Perhaps they are stuck in a hype machine. The internet is, after all, the perfect hype machine. Social media (especially Twitter) has allowed ideas to become a dime a dozen but with no real traction behind them. Ideas are allowed to sprout but quickly become ephemera. Ideas usually stick around much longer when they are on Apache servers however; but that doesn't qualify those ideas any further - it just appears that way, and seems like the webmaster is on to something because money was thrown at the idea, but the webmaster is not following up on the idea. You still see sites that were setup 10 years ago that are only online because they are monetized by Adsense. It seems 'Founders' have become the new 1998 webmasters.


No


Yes


I felt that way during the first tech bubble. I was 17 in 2000, and it seemed like Exciting Things were happening far away, and here I was as a senior in high school in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Now that I'm older, I don't feel that way, because I know how the sausage is made and what the territory looks like. The people becoming "instantly rich and famous" are either (a) rich kids whose parents are laundering the family connections and wealth through VC or acqui-hire, or (b) deserving hard-working people whose "overnight" success took 10 years (we're just noticing them now, so it seems "instant", but there was a decade or more of hard work and sacrifice behind it) or (c) statistical outliers who can be likened to lottery winners.

I've looked into the soul of Silicon Valley and there is no there there. Don't get me wrong: there are individual companies and people doing great work and advancing the state of humanity, but the intersection between Real Technology and the celebrity personalities that dominate Silicon Valley is almost the empty set.

Most of the easy money is going to investors, upper management, and talentless celebrity hacks. People doing real work have a shot at some of the hard money, but it's not guaranteed that there will be any reward. (That's why it's called "hard money".)

As for "a big party going", well... there are a few things to keep in mind. From the ground, you might see "a cloud" as a concrete thing, but inside that cloud is just fog, and from the point of view of a water droplet there is just a semi-formless mist of other droplets. Things look different from outside than inside. Most people "in the party" are miserable about not being part of a more exclusive inner party. There's a certain fractal self-similarity to material striving that keeps at a constant level of misery (if they're inclined that way) no matter how far they rise.

Most likely, you were never invited to "the party" and you'll never get in, because it will have dissipated by the time you'd be eligible. The $5M/person acqui-hires (which, by the way, deliver 3 orders of magnitude less than that figure to the rank-and-file engineers actually building the shit) are favors to the well-connected parents of the founders, and the people making new discoveries in physics (or, in truth, doing just about anything that actually matters) are just as far away from the party crowd as you are.

If you're trying to get into the "startup scene" in 2015, my advice is, don't. Climbing the ladder this late is pointless because if you're not already most of the way up it, it'll dissipate before you've ascended. Focus on gaining lasting knowledge. Take the hard CS courses that pre-startup kids avoid because the workload interferes with "investor networking" events (that won't be fruitful, if you're doing real work, anyway). I'm not saying that you should dismiss CS or technology or programming or hard work (on the contrary, I'd say the opposite) but I think that you have no chance of getting into this bubble world (and who knows when the next one will rise? I can't predict that) if you're coming into it this late.

What you're seeing is like Vegas at night. From 20 miles out, it's a glamorous and almost magical city in the desert, brilliant and alluring at all hours. Then you get there and it's seedy and pushy and unpleasant. Then morning comes, the whole world goes to sleep, and now you're alone in this hot, sun-ravaged ghost town.

What you envy is not real. At least, not for people like you and me. Making things is real, but you don't need to be in "the scene" to do that.




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