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at first, i also thought it was stupid that they required you to tether it to a blackberry. then i realized that i kind of like that fact that you don't need to buy two $80 / month data plans (though tethering a blackberry by bluetooth kills the battery) for each.

too bad the playbook was too little, too late, and too expensive. hope they take a cue from HP and drop the price massively to clear their inventory

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That logic doesn't really hold water - every other tablet on the market has Wifi access and can do native calendaring and e-mail. And with the Wifi it can almost always be tethered to a phone as well. So for most users, they don't need two 3G data plans at all.

Additionally tablet only 3G data plans start at 20$ in Canada, and even the largest plans don't come near 80$.

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Sorry for the broken link, and thanks for looking out. Should be fixed now.

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Interesting point - the "friend ranking" numbers are different when I checked Mozilla vs. Chrome.

In Mozilla, the first person ranked was at -6.2650374; on Chrome, it was -7.2581474 (I go back and forth with this person quite a bit). Also, the ranking of some of the people were different.

My guess is something to do with browser cookies or caching - any ideas why this might be the case?

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Did you go back to Mozilla and make sure the value hadn't just changed for real?

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hey, really appreciate the feedback. we're working hard on it and it'll be out in the next few weeks.

if you want to see more on what we're about and what we're doing, check out our blog at http://midtownrow.com/blog.

if there are any cool spots you have in mind that you'd love to see on the site, give us a holler.

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Agreed that (1) is not by definition intelligence gathering. It's a fine line, but it should be pretty clear if you reflect carefully on what was asked.

Using finance as an example (since veyron mentioned it), it's one thing to ask an interesting brain teaser, or even, for example, the candidate's perspective on how a market will evolve over the next 5 years (e.g., natural gas). It's another to try to ask them what trading strategies they've used (which they could bring up more subtly by saying something like "what are some interesting trading strategies for natural gas you think could work"), or how they interact with their clients.

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It's perfectly ok to ask about which trading strategies will work, if you are being employed as a strategist. It's also perfectly ok to ask about how they interact with clients. In both cases, a person is being entrusted with the firm's assets or public image, both of which should be carefully guarded.

As a hedge fund, you wouldn't want to bring on a strategist unless you had some clear idea about the trader's process, and in that discussion you must analyze a strategy. Likewise, when you entrust someone to deal with firm clients, you trust that the person will not jeopardize relationships.

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I'm just throwing this out there, but is there a way to make it such that other people congratulate you? people already do this on facebook (e.g., weddings, babies, graduations, new jobs, etc.), so you might have some adoption issues, but turning it around would alleviate the awkwardness of tooting your own horn. people could then post other stuff to it (like pictures related to the milestone), which they might be more apprehensive to do (or is awkward / cumbersome to link to a wall post) on a site like Facebook.

i think the reason it works on facebook (and personal blogs, i guess) is it's more fluid - people do actually post some of their milestones there ("Just graduated from X school!", "Just climbed Mt. Y"), and people comment on those posts, but it's a little different to do it on a site that's primary purpose is to pat one's self on her back.

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The original idea was to have a place where people could give other people awards for their achievements, but the first set of people that used the site didn't want to engage in that way. That's really what I wanted to build. After a bit I realized that most people weren't congratulating other people but actually tweeting or updating their own wall with their own achievements. That's why the site switched its focus to more of a "bragging" site. It's weird that talking about real world achievements has a negative connotation, yet online gaming achievements are not. Thanks for the reply.

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I think AMC's doing something along these lines, where people with their loyalty card get deals on concessions. They probably throw in a free ticket after several visits. I think I remember hearing some doing packages (e.g., tickets + popcorn and drinks).

In any case agreed, anything they can do to push food and drinks is how they can fleece customers more and blow out their bottom line

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So basically, as a customer, you'd have to assume you're going to 4-7 movies per month to break even on this (depending on how much movies cost in your area - $6.50 matinees or $13+ a ticket in Manhattan).

A bunch of mid-2000s polls suggest the average American goes to 4-6 movies per YEAR - probably has come down a bit given structural trends. Not sure what the distribution looks like, but I'd guess it's a pretty thin tail of people who go more than 4-6 times per month.

So either they're hoping people think they go a lot more often than they really do, or are giving a great deal to a small portion of the population.

Pricing seems quite a bit off for this to be attractive to 95% of the populace (though given theaters need to pay a cut for each body that comes in to the distributor, they probably wanted to be on the conservative side)... maybe should have done something like $25-30/month, and hope the users buy enough concessions to make up the difference. Or do the $50, but throw in a free massive bucket of popcorn for every trip, which costs virtually nothing to the theater anyway (and presumably, the customer's usually going to want to buy a drink, which is basically 95% profit).

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While "cold calls" with strangers sometimes do work out, I've found one way to form productive mentoring relationships is to start with people you have some connection to - that could include teachers (e.g., if there is one, the comp sci teacher at your high school), people from your high school who went down the entrepreneurship track, etc. Even if you didn't know them, it's much easier to build on some common ground / experience than start from scratch - they'll also be more likely to respond to any call or emails you drop them. You might not find the perfect person / people at first, but it's a start and having at least someone who's somewhat on the same page as you to bounce ideas off and get advice from is better than nothing.

I don't know what resources you have to "discover" these people (as an example, you could search for your high school with some technology-oriented key words on LinkedIn), but you can get creative on that.

Hopefully, as both your network and your needs develop, you can "level up" to the people who can actually provide the support you need.

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I won't say it's common practice, but I'm aware of people at a few companies (not just startups, but some Fortune 500 ones as well) who use "interviews" to gather competitive intelligence and ideas.

Given your (1), it sounds like you might have run into that at least once. What industry / role were you talking to them about?

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I had an interview where they invited me to the next round as long as I prepared a presentation on the competitive landscape and state of the industry which only revealed my Powerpoint deck skills. I got the job. But then again, it wasn't in New York

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Getting intel on rivals reminds me of how my manager occasionally asks network and security admin candidates to describe the topology at their current employer. The only acceptable answer is "no."

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