While convertible notes and SAFE documents have made seed stage financing much more streamlined and straightforward, employee equity is still a hot mess in terms of the legal, financial and tax difficulties that only present themselves after it's too late.
The biggest issue IMO are those scenarios when private, completely illiquid stock gets taxed as ordinary income. There should be a way to pay the tax with the same shares, though counting on the IRS becoming "flexible" is probably a longshot.
While I agree with the other points mentioned, that is one the largest and most painful when it presents itself. I do think there's also an opportunity for companies to be creative about exercising mechanics as well.
These businesses are most certainly NOT "on their way out". Office supplies is one of the largest categories in ecommerce. Staples and Office Depot are each doing billions in annual sales online. The idea that Amazon has already won in this category is simply not true (yet, but still).
Staples did ~$10b in online sales last year and Office Depot did ~$6b. Online only.
Staples sells more online in pure dollars than Apple, Walmart or Dell.
Realistically the only way they can go is down. People just aren't even going to buying more of what they sell. The threat isn't Amazon, it's Apple. People are going to continue to use devices more and pens less right up until no one uses pens any more.
Also, bear in mind that you're quoting an article from 2013, and Staples stock fell by about 25% in 2014. They've picked up a little since then, but they're not going to get back to where they were. Their market is slowing disappearing.
Nothing at all, but their past performance of selling pens is not an indicator of how well they sell devices, or if there'll even be a market for selling other manufacturers devices in the future. Staples are very good at repeat sales of core business stationary. That market is not going to exist for that much longer.
Maybe they'll move to a different market successfully, maybe they won't. They wouldn't be the first once successful company to fail as the market changes though.
I've been hearing that for decades, and while the latest round of technology is a step in that direction, it is not significant enough to overcome the advantages of existing office supplies. (Largely because nobody really knows what those advantages are in a way that can be outmaneuvered digitally.)
How long do you imagine 'that much longer' to be? That sounds too weaselly to be accurate.
My point is that these business are a lot larger than people realize, and that the phase out is going to be a lot slower than people think because it's primarily enterprise recurring contracts that are powering their sales.
That said, I use the printer at my office maybe 1x/week, so I agree that it's not long-term sustainable. This is why consolidation is a good bet for short-term viability and the deal is a good one for Staples for right now.
I have some experience consulting with one of these companies, and I know they understand the importance of moving past paper and into things like tablets and ereaders. It's perhaps their primary focus to transition to new tech without confusing existing customers.
I agree it's a good idea for both companies. There's a perception that's perhaps unfair that these companies are complacent relying on paper and ink. These kinds of things are important to their current business, but both companies are more forward-thinking than most people give them credit for.
I wouldn't say their market is disappearing because I don't ever think the need for pen and paper will ever disappear. It's definitely shrinking and there's market adjustments occurring but I don't see them ever going away.
This is smart for Staples, but the industry is still in trouble. They're going to get eaten alive by Walmart on the retail side and Amazon on the online side.
Staples and all the other office suppliers do best in two areas: printing services and consumables. Printing services have massive margins. And consumables, particularly remanufactured toner, are big cash cows. Business machines are low margin or loss leaders.
The stores are money losers. They would close them all if they could. They're used as feeders for their print business, value add for their contract customers, and sources of toner cartridges to be remanufactured.
Walmart, with its school supply aisle, is the largest office supply retailer in the world. Their supply chain is far superior to anything in the traditional office supply world, and in retail pricing, it shows.
Same goes for Amazon. They have massive economies of scale and a very well tuned supply chain.
Walmart has been aggressively putting the hurt on the retailers, particularly in Back-to-School season (Christmas for office supply retailers) in the form of advertising and moving the supplies towards the front of their stores.
Amazon dipped it's toe in the water with Amazon Supply. I'm surprised they haven't built an on-the-ground sales force to really expand it. I suspect that when they do, they'll take a big bite out of Staples.
At least in Germany, I've been surprised at Amazon's poor selection of office supplies. Not that we have great retail stores for office supplies here either, but at least I can go out and buy a small pack of rubber bands for 75 cents.
Amazon could (and probably should) be doing a lot better in this market.
I saw Mikey Dickerson (in the video) speak to a group of ~200 people last summer about the work that he and his team did on healthcare.gov. He was at Google for nearly 8 years and left to run the recovery team for healthcare.gov. Their team is the real deal -- they saved the site in just a few months and now over 6 million people have signed up. Read the Time Magazine story for the full account.
He does not seem like the type of guy that willingly puts up with government b.s. He gets it, and after seeing him speak I believe in him.
When their talk was finished they got a ~5 minute standing ovation and even a few stray tears.
I know it's cheesy but the government simply needs to catch up and I think they are finally ready to try.
I applaud the effort and hope to help out in some way.
One of the people on the original healthcare.gov team with Mikey was right out of college, and I was only at Google for a year before I joined a team working to fix healthcare.gov (not USDS, but same ecosystem, and we spend a lot of time with the USDS folks).
I believe parent was balking at the appropriation of "tour of duty" to describe taking a government job for a couple of years.
The phrase carries strong connotations for a certain subset of people and it would be pretty tone deaf of us as a community to repurpose it to mean "writing instructions for computers the government owns."
Unpopular opinion that needs to be said: plenty of people spend their military "tour of duty" writing instructions for computers. Even more are glorified paper pushers or janitors. Only a small subset actually ever see their lives at risk--being a fisherman is more dangerous. The main substantive difference is that in theory you can't quit on a whim.
We need to stop promoting an idea of martial valor over all other forms of work, and stop coddling those who demand that everyone grant their line of work more respect than everyone else.
This is incorrect - a sizable number get sent to the warzone in a time of war, by far the majority. All who do have received some sort of weapon training, as well as scenario prep when encountering the likes of IEDs or combat situations. This is even more true for the Army and Marine Corps. The risk is pervasive just by virtue of operating in a warzone. In addition, everyone still has to stand post except for higher ranking officers and SNCOs.
While there are plenty of people who spend their deployments behind a computer, don't assume it is so black and white.
> The phrase carries strong connotations for a certain subset of people and it would be pretty tone deaf of us as a community to repurpose it to mean "writing instructions for computers the government owns."
It's definitely an appropriation but I'm not sure this appropriation means "writing instructions for computers the government owns." I think they are implying there is a kind of sacrifice taking place, perhaps putting your country before your own personal gain. Translated literally it might mean something like "writing instructions for computers the government owns for meager compensation when you could be making +$100k per year working in the wider tech industry." Some similarities here with the Peace Corp whom does use the language "tour of duty" to describe time served in the Peace Corp http://www.peacecorps.gov/media/forpress/news/453/
Ummm, those who fought in Korea are responsible for the fact that 51 million people enjoy a respectable GDP and living conditions; those who fought in Vietnam were trying to attempt to prevent a brutal takeover which led to hundreds of thousands fleeing for their lives.
I'd say that's inarguably more important then rolling out prettier government web sites.
Thanks for posting that, very worthwhile (and entertaining) watch (though maybe a little too honest for the other people involved!).
For those who have worked in both types of environment (those that promote making things better vs those that punish you for doing something wrong) it's all too familiar.
After having spent a little too long in one of the more negative environments I made the mistake of attributing blame after a slightly disastrous event (while working at a much healthier company). My boss, rightly, told me that any blame was totally unacceptable in their culture. That's a lesson I've taken with me and I'll never forget. A culture of punishing honest mistakes will get you nowhere.
You're both trading slogans and saying nothing. What "things" are bad / improving / getting worse? Access to shelter? Food? Medicine? Where?
Even anecdotes are better than this nonsense. Here's one for you: even the poorest people I know, those without regular shelter, have access to communication services that would've been prohibitively expensive a generation ago, allowing them to find assistance when "things" - lack of food and shelter, for instance - get really bad.
Before asking OP what world OP is living on, perhaps you should ask that of yourself before trolling others. This isn't reddit or Slashdot.
I would beg to differ that things getting worse. I would much rather live in a world where the Internet exists and information flows relatively freely than 50 years ago where information was controlled by a few world leaders. Living and work conditions sucked 100 years ago for many people. Things, on the whole, have gotten better.
This breaks the HN guidelines twice: it's uncivil and unsubstantive. You could make it a much better comment by taking the substantive sentence ("Things...") and following up with some concrete reasons.
> Things - socially, politically and economically - are continuing to get worse for the average person.
Things are actually improving socially and politically. Scandals are being brought to light and quashed to a point where even untouchable edifices of the US hegemony are feeling the heat. Anti-vaxxers are on the outs. Climate deniers are on the outs. We're seeing the error in imprisoning millions of men because of racism. Factories in China are under scrutiny and almost every nation has an eye on ecology and our impact on the world. Birth rates are slowing, people are calling for more liberal policies across the world.
Economically, the middle class is finally being addressed. Basic income is on the table. There's an understanding that social safety and education are incredibly important.
But there is a lot of entrenched bullshit. And old money is nervous and reactionary. It's going to take a long time, but I believe very strongly that if we have the Internet of today for the next ten to twenty years, the entire world is going to look far more progressive than it ever could have without the Internet.
As someone who just went through an acquisition I hope that people will begin to write more about the acquisition process -- there's so much out there about raising financing, especially a seed round, and very little about M&A.
Legal really will depend on the firm. For my exit, I used a boutique firm that ended up costing around $75k, but when I spoke to even my friends at the larger tech legal firms like Orrick, they wouldn't even consider it for under $250-300k.
We also just went through an acquisition and had legal costs in the same range. One thing that really helped us on that front was that both our attorneys and the acquiring company's attorneys were really forthright about not just the negotiations and modifications to the agreements, but with our motivations and reasoning for such changes, so that each side was actually able to help the other side figure out what changes should be made. This also helped us identify very early which changes were immaterial which allowed us to move along quickly without getting bogged down in semantics.
I am a female born in 1983 and have always been deeply interested in computers, but have nonetheless felt inexplicably out of place for it. I was in advanced math classes my entire life and placed out of calculus in college. I took a summer programming class at a different university in 2000 and fell in love with programming. But when I got back to school, I took another CS class that was exactly as described in this article. I can't quite articulate the feelings of isolation and frustration I felt in that class, but they were strong enough to drive me away from CS and engineering for a long time.
>I can't quite articulate the feelings of isolation and frustration I felt in that class
Male nerd here. My god, I couldn't get along with 90% of my class. They all seemed to be disagreeable in a "technically correct is the best kind of correct" way, but also with lots of arbitrary fanboyism and a complete lack of basic social skills or outside interests. Not to mention the petty competitiveness and complete lack of any team player skills, and usually a huge amount of attitude dismissing these types of skills as useless.
Meh, I suffered through it (and through many coworkers of this type) as the price of business.
I'm not sure why women assume its all roses for men in these fields and classes. I dislike jerks as much as you. Heck, when we do hiring, we aim for social and inter-personal skills first and technical skills last. Its easy to find a difficult non-team player misanthrope who knows x, y, z. He's just hell to work with. I'll take the easier to work with the person who knows just x and can eventually learn y and z.
Also, this female dominated computer industry of 1970s and 80s has been shown to be something of a myth. A lot of those degrees and jobs weren't programming heavy and in practice were mere data entry or computer operator jobs, not necessarily coding. As the industry changed and those jobs moved towards administrative categories so did the women with them. IT departments dont have a team of data entry specialists anymore. They're put elsewhere, or have been eliminated altogether. If anything we have more female coders, who actually code, than ever.
> Male nerd here. My god, I couldn't get along with 90% of my class. They all seemed to be disagreeable in a "technically correct is the best kind of correct" way
You got off easy.
I went to a top engineering school out of high school, and can't tell you how many times I was berated, called names, and cursed at for being an "idiot" who didn't know things like the resolution of certain VGA modes by heart (except in that particular case, the other guy was wrong.)
I do understand that this would be more intimidating were I a woman, but still.
I think the responses you're getting here are indicative of the environment. "Oh, you felt uncomfortable? That shows you're weak, because I was uncomfortable and I didn't quit. Not my problem, sucker!"
You're not alone. I've been in those environments. I have not battled on to conquer, although I've continued in math and computers. I have kept my head down, avoided a lot of people, and cultivated only those who I like to work with. Once I have a base of nice people I can deal with in a field, plus some competence, I feel free to roam further. But it's not in my personality to sacrifice my mental health or happiness for the pleasure of hanging around with assholes or people who don't want me around. I've made some peace with that.
Hanging around mostly with people who can work with me respectfully also leaves me the energy to deal with the others now and then.
What jumps to mind, and what few people ever want to discuss, is that one of the possible differences between men and women - that women seek out highly social jobs / career paths at a higher rate than men - might be in play. That is, that women find it harder to suffer through the loneliness that can come with being a hacker.
I spent a lot of years working by myself, entirely alone. It never bothered me, all I wanted to do was learn and build. I've never met a woman in my entire life that would have been ok with that isolation.
Same here, I dropped off of Informatics Engineering (that's CS engineering in Italy) partly for the same reasons, even though I had very good grades and liked it.
I ended up working in the field anyway. I ended up getting a BoA while working, though.
Plot twist: I'm a male.
That's not to say that your examples doesn't apply, far from it. But as someone else commented, the environment on those courses... wow, that's really far from the culturally stimulating CS environment I envisioned before enrolling.
I am a female born in 1987 and have similarily been interested in programming for a long time.
After reading several comments, I'm getting some sense of resentment that you were driven away from your passion while others were able to stay on course despite
similar obsticles. I in no way wish to diminish their accomplishments or claim any secret insight into any hardships they had to overcome or did not have to overcome;
however I feel there are some aspects that are unique to the female experience of 'isolation and frustration' in learning how to program that I wanted to clarify:
Starting off, it is not at all unusual to be the only female in the class/room. The reason this is horrible is not because there's no one
to talk to or connect with, but because it's completely impossible to shake off the feeling that everyone is watching you, very closely, all the time.
Having this constantly on your mind hurts your concentration, your productivity, and your ability to freely explore ideas without judgement - a very important part of learning. This is something that the female needs to come to terms with and learn to be comfortable in her own space regardless.
Second - and this one hurts to type because I can feel the coming backlash - you programming gentlemen can be a bit too... helpful.
When a female does need extra help in understanding something, help is appreciated and needed!
However, when several people, usually male, come at you at once wanting to help it can be a negative experience. As good intentioned as this is, it is incredibly frustrating for me for three reasons: 1) the more people that want to help only fortifies the pervasive paranoia discussed earlier, 2) the more people that want to help me highlights my knowledge gap and is incredibly discouraging,
and 3) gentlemen, when helping a lady in need of something, you tend to get a sense of bravado and in an effort to show us something, you end up just doing it for us.
When this happened to me, I not only missed out on an opportunity to do a task myself and learn, it also served to fortify the sense of "move aside, young lady, and let
the men take care of this." Furthermore, once a female smarts up to this enough to be brave enough to refute said help, she will often do so in an unappealing way until she learns what gets the best response. I want to point out that I don't blame yall males at all, and this is something a female will need to learn to deal with.
For the record, I stuck with it and got my CS degree. I think this has more to do with stubbornness than fortitude.
All this said, however, I've come to be pretty blind to the gender gap in my day to day and try to shy away from these types of conversations because there is no winner.
Starting any field of study will have its own set of unique challenges that every student needs to overcome. Right now, for females as well as males in software, one of those
challenges is how to treat the gender gap. I'm pretty much over it.
> have always been deeply interested in computers, but have nonetheless felt inexplicably out of place for it
You know what stopped me from becoming a professional programmer? It wasn't the fact that I didn't get to study CS in high-school, nor that I didn't have a PC until I was a university student, nor the lack of Internet access at home until I was 20+ years old, nor the language barrier (English is my third language), nor being limited to free resources by my finances.
Nothing. Nothing stopped me from pursuing my interest.
That's a pretty rude and condescending response. Feeling excluded from a particular culture is very different from expecting a task or learning a skill to be easy. Imagine trying to learn a new skill and finding that your peers & superiors in the field are hostile to you but friendly to each other. This is the experience many women report and I've witnessed it myself.
If you wanted to learn something, say, plumbing, and found that fellow plumbers viewed you as an effete nerd, would you just lay down your wrench, or would you resolve to be the best plumber possible and soldier on? Which course of action do you think would be the most rewarding?
She's not talking to some faceless group or venting in a vacuum, she's on a website that is a community of programmers. The plumbers have every right to think I'm an effete nerd, but if someone tells me my misogynist behavior is excluding women from the field of programming I care.
Amanda here, Grand St. co-founder. Jason's story is factually incorrect on a few things. To be clear: no threats were ever made or implied in deal meetings. Etsy is one of the most genuine and good-natured companies I have ever encountered.
I think the in-person element is crucial to the future of education. While there are many people who live in rural areas or internationally who benefit immensely from online platforms like Coursera, there are also a ton of people who live close enough to a city that it's worth it to pay more for the opportunity to learn in a physical environment. That's why GA is great - it takes the best of both, and can provide online education that is greatly bolstered by an in-person experience. Excited for them.
Now I'm not taking either class, but going to be very hard for GA to compete with things like this (and not to mention the outrageous quality codeschool.com pumps out). Let alone the rent they must pay for their awesome spaces.
Spanish, Chemistry, EE, Woodworking, Gross Anatomy and other classes with a serious lab component need an offline element for sure. But they are teaching things that most people usually pick up better from blogs, coursera, etc. (IMHO).
I think the key to this is what University of Phoenix directly illustrates in their commercials. They claim to have a huge alumni network which will help you get a job. So basically if they are able to get enough people to go through their program early on, they can turn around and leverage that to recruit new students. All of the previous graduates have to take the degree seriously when looking to hire. Otherwise they would be admitting that their own degree is a joke, which they are unlikely to do.
I don't know them personally, but there are many thousands of them: the people who pay to pay to take University of Phoenix classes, and who forked over about $1B dollars in each of the last two quarters.
Wow, the Data Science course in NYC is taught by MBAs?? That's bullshit. I'm attending (on my company's dime, since they actively encourage any and all training) the DS course in DC. I had met both the instructors in the past and seen their work. They are real deal industry stat/ML experts with full time jobs in the field. Had they been MBAs, I would NEVER have signed up.
Regarding the online stuff like Johns Hopkins, I'm a self-learner. I love doing the online courses, but there is something that is fun, engaging, and advantageous to meeting classmates in person. Unlike University of Phoenix, this is a class where people are actively building shit. You can clearly and objectively see who is and is not competent among your classmates. This makes identifying people you would want to work with a lot easier. This won't happen in an online class.
But let me add: 4000 is a lot. I probably couldn't have swung it without my company picking up the tab.
I agree that live interaction is important to the quality and results of education, but as far as making money from it, I believe many will choose the option that requires the least possible effort on their behalf.
Look at fad diets, get rich quick schemes, "one strange trick to perfect x," all those hilarious exercise machine informercials... people love the idea that they can get something for next to nothing, in terms of both effort and cost.
I imagine there's room for both (and for the middle ground, which apparently this is), but for many reasons, I don't see the online-only model going away (or even stalling).
If there is a double bed, single bed, and a couch, that accommodates 4 people.
Remember, Airbnb is a marketplace so it is your responsibility as the guest to clarify the exact sleeping arrangements. If you want a higher level of service, go to a hotel. You'll pay a lot more, but if you require great service then it's probably a better option.
One isn't likely to clarify that with the host prior to arrival given that it's on the listing. AirBNB needs to take responsibility for this kind of thing given that you pay about 15% as AirBNB fees and 3% is also paid by the host. Refunding just the fees isn't what you pay the fees for. It is to take care of situations such as this.
No, that indicates that you're not renting just a couch in someone's apartment (a la couchsurfing). In the vacation rental world, that max accommodation figure almost always includes the couches (especially if it's a pullout couch).
Did you visit the link provided? There is clearly a "Room type" classification, which would be used to indicate that you're renting a room in a house, a whole house, a bed in a room, or a couch in a room, for example. And there is also a "Bed type" classification to specify the type of bed you will be sleeping in.
"Bed Type" doesn't mean it's uniformly that type, it's sort of the max of the class, so it's not terribly useful. It would be nice if it was broken down by number of beds (it is on some sites), but that's more of a nice to have than the norm.
That's beside the point - the point being that you asserted that the "Real Bed" qualifier was referring to not getting a couch in an apartment, like couch surfing. Judging from your post history, you will argue on any point possible, and won't cede a thing. Consider this my last reply.
That field is mostly useful for distinguishing between whether you're getting a couch or a bed in the case that you're just renting part of the apartment. It's not very useful in the event that you're renting a whole apartment. It means there's at least one real bed, it doesn't mean that everyone in the "Accommodates" number will get a real bed.
It's not perfect, it would be better if it were more explicit, but this is a pretty common on these sorts of listings.
As an early HN user I secured the username "amanda" before promptly ditching it after 2 weeks. While I don't hide that I am female in my bio, I have also found that the style of interactions changed significantly when I changed my username. Figuring out how to leave the kid-gloves off in real life has been a bigger challenge.
Weird, I wonder what percent of HN users are actually looking at a user name when posting a reply, I personally don't even read a username of a person who I reply to, never mind looking for any male/female meanings in it.
But because you posted this sort of comment I actually read your username for the first time :)
It is relevant to the subject of the post. (If nobody looks at usernames, then the issue cited in the post doesn't matter.)
Personally, I at least look at who I am responding to (especially when I disagree with them; sometimes the person you're responding to has readily-apparent expertise that you'd feel foolish disagreeing with.)
True. I also tend to look at usernames when a commenter annoys me, just to see if it's a troll who is camping out on a thread waiting to say the same things again. But... By then I've made up my mind what I'm going to say, and whether the troll's name is Jack or Jane isn't going to change that.
It would put some useful bounds on the behavior. If only 1% of people look at usernames when posting replies, she could conclude it's a very small subset of people generating this nonsense. If everyone does, we don't learn much at all.
Yeah. If I could get people to see me differently in real life without actually having to change anything about myself to do it, that'd be the real Jedi mind trick. ;-) As to the original topic, I worry everything I say is going to be taken the wrong way on HN: gender or otherwise -- HN's mods have touchy trigger fingers. :)