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Also, in case it was unclear to any still reading, Democracy is for suckers.

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This comment is completely unhelpful.

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Did you mean to imply that another comment is completely unhelpful, or was it your intention to invoke the Epimenides paradox by writing a comment that claims itself to be unhelpful?

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Epimenides_pa...

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How clever. The intent was more than apparent.

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Perhaps I've been reading too much Raymond Smullyan, I apologize if it came across as a criticism of your comment. In fact, I thought the ambiguity was clever on your part.

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No worries. I thought the Planet without Laughter was particularly entertaining.

It's also amusing in its own way to watch my comments get voted down.

I have, undoubtedly played more +EV games versus a casino than anyone on this site. (And, yes, I will bet on that, too!) But some sort of egalitarian sense of correctness has driven the "value" of my comments below yours.

I cared enough to make a 2nd (and now third) comment about it, but really, I don't care. So that kinda sucks.

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Laughter? Was this supposed to be a joke?

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Hey, neat. Yet another comment where I am a demonstrable expert and I get voted to Hell like a moron. Feel free to get this one to -44, except that you can't tell any more where it lives. Best to down vote if you're unsure.

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Your original comment is being downvoted because it doesn't explain why the comment it says to be unhelpful is (or at least that's my best guess; I obviously don't know the intent of every downvoter). HN tends to frown on comments which add nothing to the discussion. Also, if you're a "demonstrable expert" then you should be able to actually explain why the original one was unhelpful rather than just asserting that as fact and expecting everyone to believe you.

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"Actually explain?" Come on, read it. It says "casinos make money, but if you count cards, you make money." It's a worthless statement and it has nothing to do with the comment it replies to.

I downvoted dtby's comment because the reasonable way to deal with worthless comments is to downvote them, not post a followup saying "This comment is completely unhelpful."

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Let me elaborate on my previous comment, then:

In the absence of security countermeasures on the casino end, counting cards is not very difficult. You need to be able to do some mental arithmetic in a distraction-filled environment, and you need the self-discipline to follow the technique even when your guts are telling you otherwise, but lots of people have those character traits.

So if a casino does not take active measures to distinguish the blackjack players who are counting cards (who need to be kicked out) from the blackjack players who are just lucky (who need to be courted until their luck runs out), then lots of people, not just the generic “you”, will show up and gradually bleed the house dry.

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...And you are still not telling us anything that anybody doesn't already know.

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I thought it was clearly to explain this: but it's still pretty crazy how much effort casinos will put out to thwart non-mechanical card counters.

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I didn't explain why it was (demonstrably) summarily unhelpful because I assumed it was clear to anyone with a basis in logic, without even a nod to the fact that I happen to know how it works in practice beyond the theory.

In case anyone happens to continue to be confused: see, also: No true Scotsman.

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If it's so clear to anyone why the post was unhelpful, then why would we vote up your comment saying that? What does it add?

You don't only get downvoted for being incorrect.

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It's exceptionally unclear why people executes their down votes. I consider it worth my while to point out: "No you're not crazy, this really is as pointless as you think."

If it seemed like I care about getting down voted, I assure that's only ancillary.

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No you're not crazy, this really is as pointless as you think.

I had no idea that was the point you were trying to make. But I still don't know the reasoning behind your claim - to me, it makes sense for casinos to spend money looking for and kicking out card counters.

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PG, do you see this? Turn the numbers back on, please.

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possibly because they've got a de facto monopoly for the time being

On what?

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On "social networking", I guess. Just like with instant messaging, Facebook has a monopoly on social networking thanks to network effects. User join Facebook because all of their friends are already on Facebook, which leads to even more users joining Facebook.

Its the same scenario we saw with AIM in the instant messaging space. Lots of people were already on AIM (thanks to having AOL accounts), making AIM an attractive choice for new users. The trend was only broken when the AIM protocol (as well as those of other proprietary chat networks) was broken, allowing multi-protocol chat clients to bridge the gap between networks.

We're already seeing the same thing with social networks. Many clients support both Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to transparently bridge the gap between the two largest social media networks on the Internet.

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Like quanticle said, social networking. You can't say, "fuck this, I'll just integrate with myspace instead" without getting laughed out of the room. Like it or not, Facebook's the only game in town.

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Like quanticle said, social networking.

My problem is that is not a real thing which can be monopolized. I promise I'm not being (intentionally) obtuse here. I don't understand which piece of an online offering requires Facebook. Maybe an example would help me.

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Specifically with respect to the OP, they have a gigantic datastore of their users' social graphs. That's a "real thing" that can be monopolized: their users' data.

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I agree, there's nothing that requires facebook yet, and I hope developers realize the importance of keeping things that way, and stop integrating FB's services while there is still a choice.

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I just can't remember the name of it!

Sounds like you're talking about ThirdVoice, but I can't be certain.

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Possibly something that became ThirdVoice. The concepts are very similar. Whatever it was, it had to be around in the 1996-1997 timeframe, and the sources I can find for ThirdVoice show it as starting in 1999. (Perhaps Beta?).

Thanks.

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90% of startups fail, give or take.

You're going to need either a much firmer definition of startup or a much more defined range to make this have even the slightest bit of credibility.

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There are at least 4 different currencies being used to pay people in my office. Sometimes two different currencies to the same person. As each portion is (or can be) negotiated separately, this isn't merely a conversion question.

Also, our bonuses are denominated in USD and then converted (or not) into whichever currency we prefer.

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Why would one even consider entering these markets without the ability to demonstrate alpha over historical results?

Yes, your alpha needs to include the ability to beat transaction costs... so if you can't pay for the [relatively exceptionally cheap] cost of several years of your chosen market's historical data, maybe you're not really serious.

It's fun to play at being a financier, but let's not pretend that access to market data is the significant barrier to entry which is preventing disruption in the world financial markets.

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The cost of market data and a system equipped to process it are not inconsiderable.

Historical tick data (quotes and trades) for US equities will run you $20k/year, minimum. US equities runs about 30-40GB/day so you are looking at almost 10TB/year. You need to be able to access the data quickly so you probably don't want to compress it and probably do want to duplicate the data, slicing and dicing it in different ways. Call it 20TB, minimum, per year of data.

Futures and options data will run another $20k/year, each, and futures has about as much data as equities and options has an order of magnitude more. That is another 100TB/year, minimum, per year, probably closer to 200TB.

How are going to to study these data? Even if you were able to operate at disk speed (which seems unlikely unless you have lots of disks and have duplicated and distributed your data amongst them) it would take you five minutes to run against one day's worth of data, or close to a day to run a year's simulation. If you consider more than a few cores in parallel, reading from disk is going to be seriously hampered.

None of this even considers the cost of the software necessary to support this effort: contending with corporate actions, tracking halts, etc.

This all adds up to a significant financial hurdle.

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Surely though, one could pre-calculate potential future positions or other useful data on stock in advance of next day's trade between close and re-open of the markets?

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he cost of market data and a system equipped to process it are not inconsiderable.

Not even close, if you consider the alpha for generating value. I know it's awesome on HN to think that generating 10M over 2 years entitles one to a "50M exit."... but that's not the way things work in finance.

20K is nothing... if one thinks it is than one is playing the wrong game.

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And to be perfectly clear. I will take all of your action, every day, in prediction of market movements.. You tell me what you want. I will set a price and we will play for as much money as you like [up to my assets of 20MM or so.] I have no fear that I will beat you [or any one else] before you get me broke.

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Why, then, even bother checking their HN karma score, GitHub commits, WoW gear score or Stack Overflow reputation points?

Either their comment is useful to you where you live today or its not. You don't have to justify your judgement by yet another subjective.

(By a... checking... 3.4 karma/comment user who was sub-1.0/comment last week; not having changed his opinions or commenting style.)

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I do wonder on what basis I must _love_ his writings.

I'm not a Linux guy, so I am out of the loop. What makes these writings so lovable?

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I would also include that he's furiously pragmatic. Which stands in contrast to other Free software personalities, who are often furiously idealistic.

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The nature of the Father of Linux being, in essence, an enraged (often insightful) crusader is just a point of pride for a lot of people who know about him and like Linux.

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He's straightforward.

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And smart. This is an important ingredient.

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As the originator of the OS and still working at a low level, it's nice to see him (A) care about the user experience all these year later and (B) cut through other people's bullshit the way a lot of us wish we could.

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2. Sell an emotional experience, not features.

Eh, that works for your market.

3. Tell stories because software is boring.

Now we're getting somewhere, this is universally applicable.

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Bzzzt. You are having a common nerd/guy adverse reaction to the word "emotional", but as someone who has sold software and services to huge companies staffed with gun-totin' Ron Swansons for 15 years, let me assure you, everyone is receptive to emotions. They're just different emotions†.

Watch Patrick's talk. Particularly the Google slide.

"Fear" is one my industry has used to great effect; "egotism" is another one.

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And as someone who has sold software and services to huge companies with gun-totin' Ron Swansons for over 15 years, let me assure you that this is untrue.

So, yeah, it's a question of approach. Which was my entire point.

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You've never seen the "better" product, with superior performance and more feature check-boxes, lose to the product with the more attractive user interface? Because I feel like that's the oldest blues song I've heard sung.

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Of course. But I don't believe that every sale I have lost for what I believe to be non-rational reasons is inherently an emotional decision. Sometimes I just don't understand the motivations of my customers.

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We're spiraling here. All I'm saying is, emotional appeals are very much in play in most markets, very much including old conservative white males in '50s-era financial products businesses (fear; get - me - home - in - time - to - see - the - kids; fraternity) and young thin white males at software shops (vanity).

Someone said, "sell emotional experiences and features". You said something to the effect of "eh, maybe that works in your market". Here's where I cut in: bzzt! It works in virtually all markets.

Even in buy-by-committee enterprise sales, there are emotional appeals that will give you an edge.

A fun exercise: look at the most successful, best marketed products in a variety of fields, and spot the emotional elements. Start with Github.

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It's all good. I've lived an odd life, but essentially every dollar I have made has come from someone thinking he is getting more value for his dollar than I am charging him for my software/service/whatever. Considering the businesses in which I have often found myself, that has often meant that they felt they were smarter than me. I doubt any of them felt an emotion beyond greed. If that counts, then I'm well and truly wrong.

Then, again, you managed to drag a huge thread out of me based on my emotional reaction to your (frankly offensive) "Bzzt" so maybe you're right for "most" markets.

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Here are two examples:

1. The business man from the city that buys a small piece of land (40 - 60 acres) and cash rents it out. Now you might say that's greed. He's looking to make more money and is greedy pushing the family farm out and renting to the big corporate farmers. You're wrong though. He bought the small farm to brag about it at cocktail parties. That's why all these business types own small chunks of land in rural areas. That's an emotional reason to own it.

2.Imagine a company that allows you to out source your life. One might say, "If I can make $100 an hour free lancing, then I should out source all tasks that I can for less than $100 an hour" and you would argue this is logical. But the real reason someone would want to outsource the laundry, and all aspects of their life is purely emotional. They can then go brag about to all their friends how perfect of a life they have because they don't have to do any crappy work. That's why people making $35 an hour are paying $50 an hour to have the crap done they could do themselves.

If you damage the emotional part of the brain, you are unable to make decisions. You can reason all day long and compare and contrast, but you can never decide.

I wouldn't be surprised if the emotional value that the guys you run into is how they can brag at cocktail parties or to their business associates how they screwed over some computer science graduate and that they used their Harvard MBA to do it.

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"Sell benefits, not features" is a marketing-101 principle; a good way to tell if you're selling a real benefit (and selling it effectively) is to isolate and hone the emotional component to it. You can do this even in hard-nosed products; there are emotional components to the "we're not full of shit and our products just do what you need them to do" pitch.

I'm not trying to argue with you now; just extending my point.

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> but essentially every dollar I have made has come from someone thinking he is getting more value for his dollar than I am charging him for my software/service/whatever.

Isn't that the basis of all voluntary transactions?

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Now now, tptacek, you know that thinking you're superior isn't an emotion if it's a fact ;)

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I think the underserved market is pretty much non-geeks. I don't really think non-geeks like features as much as they like being able to do things.

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I kind-of agree with dtby because I've been able to sell some of my web software because of my massively exhaustive list of features. For my customers, it left them thinking, man we have to have this, we had no idea there was a software solution for all these problems.

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