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This looks amazing ... a modern Bell Labs or Xerox PARC.

Bell Labs had an annual budget of over 3 billion since the 80s.

Clearly if it seems promising we're going to up the funding significantly.

That is great news Sam! This is really exciting to see an incubator starting it's own research lab and on top of that, keeping it totally in the open source. I'm fascinated by Research work folks have done at Parc and Disney, you should have a look here and perhaps speak with someone at Disney as well: http://www.disneyresearch.com

Just curious, are you going to also have people filing grant proposals (with government agencies, etc), as an avenue of additional funding?

Well, I hope you are taking interns

And I hope you guys really do make the next Bell Labs :)

You are making a wrong correlation. Putting more money won't necessarily drive research forward. Most breakthrough researches and inventions were done with little money.

I am a professional scientist and I have to disagree. 10 million is just seed cash that I'm sure will be magnified. But do not underestimate the cost of research. While a particular project that pays off seems (and is) a great return, salaries, equipment and conference travel consume a lot of money.

It probably depends on the type of research that you do. Drug research is expensive. But I think that you can do something like Xerox PARC (it seems like YCR might be going for something similar) with relatively little money. It appears that in 2001 their budget was $65m (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=86872). I'm not sure if their budget was larger during the 70's but that's not that much money considering what came out of there.

From what I can tell, back in the 70's Xerox PARC's annual budget that focused on computing was $10-14.5 million in today's dollars, which seems fairly cheap. But it took multiple years to develop it.

This also feels like cheating because we're targeting extremely successful research. If we knew ahead of time which research would be successful it would be a lot cheaper to do.

But it is inevitable to have a lot of unsuccessful research projects before one breakthrough. Similar to startups where most fail. Those "failures" add up to the cost pretty quickly, and you cannot avoid them.

OK someone has to call bullshit on this. I started as a lowly software engineer straight out of school at the same time. I started at 70K ...

Joel started Fog Creek in 2000, but began programming professionally much earlier than that.

That sentence construction certainly implied otherwise. Even disregarding the part about starting salaries, the implication that programmers were treated as "typists" circa year 2000 is preposterous. This is around the height of the first dot.com boom and tales of extravagant programmer salaries was already legend. Starting his argument with such a patently absurd claim just discredits everything else he says later on.

it is over 100 degrees outside, the world is round.

so does that mean if you don't agree with me that it's hot out where i live at this point in time and space that you don't agree that the world is round?

opportunity is different for different people in different places at different times. No need to be so flippant because he relayed his experience with you.

starting salary of 70k is pretty darn lucky without experience, many developers started out much lower than that and they still do. The point is the corporate attitude towards developers has changed greatly since 2000; from my view point i agree completely.

try starting out making 18k a year and then come post how much you feel valued.

That's not really fair. In this post, Fred announces that he agreed to invest in Bryce's fund.

I guess. I figured since all of the comments were about Bryce's post and none about Fred investing in it, there's be a better conversation if people read Bryce.

Here's some early code that John posted to the Racket group in June: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/racket-users/RFlh0o6l3...


Wow, some of those responses are just painful. I guess even a programmer's programmer cannot please everyone.


I'm always utterly blown away by the humility that John shows in his questions and his answers. The development world would be a better place with a much larger proportion of developers like him.

I've worked with some real ego-centric assholes that think of themselves as rock-star developers yet probably haven't done a tenth of what this guy has done.


Wonderful talk.


This is awesome, nice work!


Come on. I don't know anything about the Grid team, but this line of criticism is pretty specious, little more than Tesler's Theorem writ large: "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet." Once AI is successfully applied to a problem, it's dismissed as not "real intelligence."

The big critique is that you were promised AI but all you're getting are "templates and some algorithms." I mean, what do you think AI is? Magic? I hate to break it to folks, but AI is just "some algorithms" applied to a problem domain.


You may not be in their market (yet), but that company is going to make a lot of money if they execute well.


I haven't considered the economics of salons, but not sure they would have the same low variable costs that allow Classpass to succeed in fitness. I certainly wish the team (and all the other YC companies) the best though considering the guts and determination it takes to give it a shot, and you are correct that I am decidedly not in their target market so I may be missing something about the idea that is gold.


Pretty sure blow drying hair has very low variable costs. Electricity to run a hair dryer.

Everything else is to some extent fixed (including operator). What it doesn't have is SaaS style scalability (1000 users costing the same as 1), and it's not like a yoga class where you can probably do 30 in the same space as 15, but the variable costs are just the electricity.


Not necessarily. The long tail of integrating with the management systems those salons use is really long and it's basically a non-starter without management system integration. Add to that that those management systems have started to wise up to the need for scheduling and it's a very difficult nut to crack.

And no, those businesses will not copy appointments back and forth themselves. Small business scheduling is hard. Very hard. This isn't speculation, I've worked on a product that has pretty good traction doing exactly what they're doing. It would surprise me greatly if they've yet discovered why this problem isn't solved yet, and it isn't for lack of trying or that previous attempts haven't been executed properly.


"... if they execute well."


Yes...my point was that even if they execute well, there's still a ton that can torpedo their success. They're going to need to execute phenomenally and get a ton more cooperation from the small businesses than we've ever found them willing to give.


Not a user of Octopart, but a fan of them and their story ... congrats to them!


I am a user -- congrats, and please don't start limiting your service to Altium users! :-P


Agree with OP's argument or not, but practically the entire post is spent answering that question directly.



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