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The idea of the event is to get people to work together for the weekend, see if they like working with each other, expand their network etc. Its not to do work on someone elses startup. I've seen many teams that randomly formed at Startup Weekend go on to build a real startup afterwards.


Sorry you had a bad experience on the weekend. I've been a volunteer for 4 years so I have seen all permutations of teams that come to startup weekend (been to at least 30 events).

People who come to SW and look at is as a free way to get something built for their startup are not the target. It makes it a bit predatory and you get the reactions that you experienced. I try to warn people of this but some folks have their own ideas.

Coming with a team already formed also isn't ideal. The point of the weekend is not to start a company, its to work alongside other people and go through the exercise. With that mindset, you won't be disappointed when you "lose" but you'll gain some experience and grow your network. Thats the main point of going to the event.

If someone already is thinking about equity and contracts while doing a SW, run the other way. Its the wrong attitude for starting a company in general and in my experience generally ends up badly as they focus on the wrong things at the wrong times in other ways as well.


I went to a SW just as a developer, and the first few teams I talked to already had their MVP and were essentially feigning that they were a new idea. Basically just wanted some free labour for the weekend...

Ended up making a team with nothing but devs and we built a silly hardware prototype. We ended up winning, then stuck with our day jobs. We were all taken our of our comfort zone, would definitely recommend SW despite the few that try to take advantage of it.

As a shy dude who just writes code all day, it basically forced me to become a better communicator.


I went to the same SW as the one mentioned in this post. Our team ended up being almost all devs and 1 biz guy where we created a way to edit neural networks with a web interface, a.k.a. no potential business/profitability. We had a lot of fun (got an honorable mention) and I got to network with some people, basically what I think to be the goal of a SW.

P.S. It was pretty obvious that Billy was looking for cheap devs when he gave his pitch. The warning flags were there if you talked to him 1-on-1 at all.


Sucks that people were doing that but its good to hear that you had a good experience.


I've been a volunteer for 4 years

It makes it a bit predatory

So, what are you doing about it? I'm not trying to sound accusatory in asking you, but from my position you risk losing the attitudes towards the weekend that enable a culture where people collaborate instead of just showing up to find cheap labor.

All the hungry guys at "hackathons," "jams" and whatever else they're called have slowly put me off from participation in anything but work weekends at a hackerspace full of existing friends.


I handle it by speaking about it at the events that I facilitate and speaking directly to the folks who are behaving outside of the parameters of what the weekend is about.

This type of situation is pretty rare for me, though as on average theres probably one group out of 20 at the events I go to who have this type of setup/issue.


I think SW's stance on contracts is hugely short-sighted.

SW should require that teams sign a (written) contract laying out who owns what at the end of the weekend, and offer several templates to keep the process painless.

You could even just put something into the FAQ saying "if no contract is signed, then all team members acknowledge that each member owns all IP he or she produces, following United States copyright law."

But "don't think about equity and contracts, just code" is exactly the attitude that leads to lawsuits, hurt feelings, and people taking advantage of each other.

Contracts are not a red flag, they are a way to avoid assumptions and assure that everyone gets a fair deal. Avoidance of contracts on the other hand is a massive indicator of either ignorance or bad intentions.


Its not ignorance or bad intentions. Its not a startup factory, its a fun weekend to push yourself and learn some skills. Stories like these get voted up on HN but they are not the norm in my experience.

With Techstars now being involved, I can see them putting in more clear language about what the outcome of the weekend is as there will always be people who miss the point.


"Its not a startup factory, its a fun weekend to push yourself and learn some skills."

Then... don't call it "startup weekend". Call it "hacking weekend" or something like that. "Startup weekend", as a name, carries certain connotations.


I completely understand, but reading and signing a simple contract takes 5 minutes. Preventing (yes, rare!) cases like this is worth the small overhead, IMO.


Your comment makes me think that startup weekend runners should be more aggressive about preventing people like Billy from participating - those who think they already have a company, or an idea, or ownership of something.


The front door application to YC is the same that it was before. YC is seeing that they aren't interacting with enough minority founders and are doing targeted outreach to groups so that they can speak to more of them. Adding more minority founders to the funnel, as they would if they wanted to see more hardware startups and talking to places that serve hardware startups.


Pandora has a statutory radio license that requires no negotiation, which is why you have restrictions on what you can play. The cost is less to them which is why they have survived.


As a self funded founder I feel you that the stories about what we do are unheralded and we have different challenges than other businesses (good ones that force us to find the right answer quicker).

There are businesses that are not self fundable, though and will take massive amounts of investment to make happen. Uber is one since they need to get critical mass of drivers/riders in many cities to take over. uBeam is also one of those companies, as a whole lot of R&D has to be done to take it to market. They have a thesis and if correct will have a big impact and can only be done with some real investment (can you imagine self-funding this??). This seems like the perfect thing to invest in.

Its super easy to poke holes in other peoples business but we are also not working with all the information. Let her work!


Certainly its been vetted and if successful it will have a big impact. Will it work? Who knows, but it seems like exactly the kind of thing that should get investment. In the meantime we should let her do the work.


The amount of companies / organizations that need fulfillment goes well beyond just startups


Cool to see other companies in the fulfillment space!

How do you differ from a company like Shipwire?


Shipwire is a fantastic company, however, their prices have been historically high and their customer support has lacked recently. Though their international warehouses are a huge boost to small companies that need that capability.

Our biggest differentiator is that we give you an upfront invoice and once you pay you'll never see a penny increase. Even your shipping is upfront (we're working on fixing it now as we speak).


Awesome, best of luck beating the big guys. Theres lots of room to innovate here.

Small suggestion: an easy pricing calculator would definitely help on the site before capturing email


We had one before but the types of products varied so wildly the ultimate cost was different. Currently we capture all that data and give our final price which uses our calculator.

Though we'll discuss this issue and if it keeps coming up we'll act on it.


It doesn't. I know this since I was working on a startup using 30 second clips from itunes and consulted with multiple music lawyers who told me it was a grey enough area that I would get sued. I've advised for other music startups and they face similar challenges with music (one just hit 1mm downloads and got hit from Apple -> RIAA about the content).

Its incredibly frustrating when interesting applications like Shred pop up and the music folks make it difficult. Hopefully they can get some licenses and not have to sell their kidneys to do it.

This talk from Dalton is dated but still pretty relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTOlrN5-UGU


yeah it's hard for a giant industry like music to adapt to all the changes digital, internet, and now streaming in so short a time. I feel the music industry just wants the distribution it had w/ records: buy something you can share w/ your friends, but not distribute to the whole world at once.

I think Shred Video perfect aligns with the music industry's objectives here. Shred Video is not designed to help professional videog's make movies that will be seen by millions, it's designed to make movies folks like you and me can share with our friends. In this way Shred Video is a service that will encourage more music purchases, a win for the artists.

If you happen to make a movie in Shred Video that gets a million views (rooting for you!), YouTube has ways of making sure the artist maintains their rights to their content and/or gets paid. This stuff will evolve, but there's definitely a way to get the artist paid and the users able to make art with the music they love.


"As a person who grew up in a place where discrimination based on gender/age/race was not really a thing, this strikes me as insane!"

It would behoove you to first try to empathize with those who did live in these kinds of places & learn about the history of education & discrimination in America. Then you may have some better perspective on why there are systemic reasons for why the diversity numbers for technology companies is so low (and maybe you would get an idea of why thats even important).



Past gives context as to why the present is as it is. Agree that its not something to dwell on.

Also, agree with you about hiring the best. One of the issues this startup (I presume) is hoping to solve is to help source great candidates that may not be as well aware of their options in startups or are outside the typical silicon valley friends of friends networks that much of the hiring goes through.

There are other issues like giving students the affordance of entering into the technology world (which is why I am on the board of a computer science high school) that Jopwell and others will try to aid in as well.


To the extent the CEO's claim about a "lack of exposure" is correct, it's entirely possible that separately reaching out to minority candidates will help find "the best". If nothing else, the job market (in Silicon Valley, and elsewhere) is intensely affected by the human social network it's embedded in - it's who you know, and both the natural dynamics of a graph with sparser connections between certain groups than within them, and the instinctive aversion people have to getting to know people that aren't like them (easily overcomeable in the right situation, obviously, but everpresent), make it harder for a minority candidate to have the right connections.


I'll add that minority candidates, including women and members of the LGBTQ+ community are often concerned about tokenization, and this can create a barrier for even the most well-meaning teams of mostly white mostly straight mostly males.

Some weeks ago at SF City Hall I heard some passionate teens and teachers from the Mission talking about their frustration with having Latino cultural education cut in favor of technology education intended largely to grant them token spots at tech companies.

In the east bay, I know there are networks of minorities trying to home-grow startups rather than line up to be someone's diversity hire, and while people are up in arms about this team being not terribly visually diverse, it may be built by people who understand the complex challenges of members of their own communities, including having businesses that don't have models which prey on them.


> This company's operation is probably illegal (see parent post where i listed examples of how they discriminate)

Are you a lawyer? Discrimination law in the US is very complex. If you're not a lwayer, and you're really interested in this, it might be worth your time to ask a lawyer who specializes in these things their opinion on this.

One of the things that makes these things so complicated is that there isn't just one controlling authority called "the law". There are local, state, and federal laws, there are regulatory interpretations of the laws, and there are court decisions about the laws. There are also decisions by regulatory agencies about what the're going to enforce.


It's not that complicated.



See especially this:


> Even though race and color clearly overlap, they are not synonymous. Thus, color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or ethnicities, or between persons of the same race or ethnicity. Although Title VII does not define “color,” the courts and the Commission read “color” to have its commonly understood meaning – pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone. Thus, color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Title VII prohibits race/color discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians.

EDIT: I think this service is a good idea. I'd be interested why a quote from a US government equal opportunities site got downvotes.


> It's not that complicated.

I find it fairly complicated. Are you a lawyer? I am not.

Immediately after the portion of the EEOC page you quote, there appears the text:

"Although a plaintiff may prove a claim of discrimination through direct or circumstantial evidence, some courts take the position that if a white person relies on circumstantial evidence to establish a reverse discrimination claim, he or she must meet a heightened standard of proof. The Commission, in contrast, applies the same standard of proof to all race discrimination claims, regardless of the victim’s race or the type of evidence used. In either case, the ultimate burden of persuasion remains always on the plaintiff.

Employers should adopt 'best practices' to reduce the likelihood of discrimination and to address impediments to equal employment opportunity."

Even if you ignore the complexity directly in that section (which courts? what is the heightened standard? why do courts and the EEOC interpret things differently? what are the consequences of that difference?), there are numerous other complexities not covered by the question of "are Caucasian/white people covered?". I was not trying to say that the question of whether white people are covered is simple, but that the question of which discrimination (encompassing much more) is complicated.

For instance, this service is not discriminating in who they employ, only in who they serve. Is that legal? Under what circumstances? Do laws other than the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply? How does this law interact with the right of expressive association? (for instance, presumably, the government does not try to force churches to hire non-Christians as ministers or priests and does not try to force the KKK to admit the people they hate based on race or religion - how does that exception work under the Civil rights Act of 1964?) Does Jopwell have fewer than 15 employees, and does that make it exempt from the CRAo1964? I have heard that this law does not apply to members of Congress hiring staffers or to the Supreme Court hiring clerks - is that correct, and if so, under what provision of the law? How does it apply to college admissions? Do any of the following constitute "color" under the law: sunburning, vitiligo, albinism, tattoos, hair color, baldness, eye color?

Even just the section of the Wikipedia page you link to that discusses employment discrimination includes at least a dozen caveats and extensions, along with multiple SCOTUS cases:


Also, as I mentioned, even if a certain type of discrimination may not violate federal law, it might violate state or local law.

These things that I have just said are all aimed at supporting my claim that discrimination law in the US is complicated.


You say "dragging it up", I think "a reminder that we can do better".

History is useful for understanding the present situation and trajectory. It gives us context.

I can't speculate whether or not the practices of this site are illegal as I am not a lawyer, however I can say that it's addressing a very visible problem in hiring practices that are discriminatory. People may not be knowingly discriminating, but it certainly does happen. Often malice and incompetence cause the same results.

I for one think this is great for not only building an equal opportunity for everyone in the industry, but it also broadens the accessible talent pool.


Are you looking to make a career move?



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