Always has been the message, right from Microsoft to Apple to Twitter. I expect Uber will do the same - they're just in the "let's open up our API to make the world a better place la la " phase now. As soon as someone builds a breakout app on their API, they'll eat it.
Some of the advice YC partners give seems harmful because of survivorship bias (Basic for the Altair -> Microsoft). I've seen some people criticise you for it, but I've never seen any of you address it directly. Do you mind doing so now?
Most startups don't work--everyone understands the odds are long. What makes it worth it is that when they work, they really, really work. So we try to give advice about how to maybe become a huge company.
I understand your motivation. My point is that your advice on how to become a huge company seems a bit flawed - specifically because it ignores all the companies which failed even after following that advice.
Anyway, there is so little data on the topic that I don't feel anyone has good advice on it.
As a techie, I find it exceedingly hard to ban myself from here. Setting up a work-around for browser blocks, dns blocks, etc--takes a couple of minutes at best, not to mention there's a ton of pages where they just use the api and create their own interface.
I usually just edit my hosts file now, because it prevents the 2-second "ctrl+t, n, enter" combo and makes me think about what I'm doing.
We do not have access to the µc data, any longer. That belongs to Matasano. I am now sad that I did not ask myself the same question and pay closer attention while I did.
However, this is what I am hoping and dreaming for: that work-sample testing will completely level the playing field. Regardless of gender, age, or origin, if you can do the work, you should get the job. I believe in this so strongly that I am dedicating the rest of my career to work sample testing and, eventually, training.
Getting women to play, though? I'm not so great at marketing, so still working on that. I am writing a blog post to go up later in the week that addresses some of the issues in hiring women, based on my personal experiences and those of my female peers. The tone of the post is as politically neutral as it can be. My hope is to draw out some productive dialog rather than piling on stink for flies. Specifically, vast majority of the people in my professional network, male, female or in between, are genuinely interested in addressing the "women-hiring problem," but they avoid any discussion of it because ... well, it's always covered in flies.
The challenge will be to make just enough of a stink that it draws attention and not flies.
> However, this is what I am hoping and dreaming for: that work-sample testing will completely level the playing field. Regardless of gender, age, or origin, if you can do the work, you should get the job.
That's a nice thought, though it rather presumes that the playing field is level outside of the immediate neighborhood surrounding the hiring process.
I think that neighborhood, though, is probably, while not without gender/race/etc. bias, overrated in terms of the proportion of that bias on the course between birth and getting a software job that it is perceived to contribute.
Believe me, that has crossed my mind. This is where the segue into training comes. We've discussed it. As a woman, my one experience of being allowed to play outside and beyond the hiring process is pretty consistent with the anecdotal evidence given by my peers. But correlation is not causation. For every one candidate, there are an uncounted number of pivots to consider, and mapping them all out is impossible.
I agree that bias is overrated as a contributing factor to this so-called problem. But it is one we focus on because we also believe that behaviors can be controlled for and habits can be rehabilitated. There are a lot of narratives where the circumstances are very different but the dynamic is the same. Someone whose parents want them to be a doctor or lawyer who aggressively derail them from pursuing the arts. Some very intelligent kid growing up in poverty with no access to resources who starts acting out and ends up with a criminal record. A woman who is forced to take HomeEc in high school instead of trigonometry (me).
Taken in isolation, these narratives can be explained away. As examples of a larger pattern, they become flaws in a system that can be engineered away. There's a meta-bias, and I'm still searching for a way to describe it that doesn't trigger an emotional response. It seems that until we can have that rational, engineering-focused discourse to identify the not level playing fields of the world, cataloging their characteristics, finding what things can be controlled for and/or eliminated,... sigh I don't know how to finish that sentence.
You say it's a nice thought. I believe it's a nice thought. More people hope for it than do not. What exactly is keeping all of us who genuinely believe that it's at least worth a try to apply a dialectic method to the problem from banding together and attempting it?
I think the desire to to figure out where a level playing field can be built within a neighborhood of aptitudes. And to be fair to a process of refinement for that goal, some problems can't be solved before you have them. Like a business plan, the initial draft is just a guess, and I think we can all agree that it's a heretofore unsolved problem, the gender thing.
Also true for large coding projects. At some point, you have to identify the components that will need to be built and portion them off into approachable tasks. In this case, the first task is agreeing on the 'heretofore unsolved problem' -- that hasn't happened yet.
Discerning invested participants from trolls might help.
>The tone of the post is as politically neutral as it can be. My hope is to draw out some productive dialog rather than piling on stink for flies.
I am sorry, but that is a line with a negative width: if you so much as hint that this may in part be the fault of males (as a whole or, even worse, individuals) pitchforks will be out. If you do not hint strongly enough that this is the fault of males (as individuals and as a group) pitchforks will be out on the other side. As a more personal point the sheer toxicity of those debates continues to shock me, even after spending more than a decade on the internet. Vi vs Emacs debates don't tend to end in treats of rape and/or genocide but "why aren't there more women in computing" almost always do.
This isn't to say that we can't draw any benefit from your writing, just be aware that of the things you can't say (http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html) this is the thing you can't say most.
Hi, I've taken over from Tom for hiring at Matasano. There's a couple of things that you need for "diverse" recruiting (e.g. hiring women in tech):
1) A way of evaluating candidates that avoids mirrortocracy style institutional -isms like sexism and ageism.
2) A way of convincing people who have bounced off the field due to -isms to even try.
BTW, Tom was great at Matasano on #1, and only moderately successful at #2. We get tons of people who aren't in the industry, but they tend to self-select to be young men. For an individual company, #2 is way harder. It's "easy" to fix yourself, but hard to fight the larger culture.
Starfighter looks to me like something that supports #1 directly (by allowing objective metrics), and enables #2. It's a way for people who aren't welcome into a field to dip their toe in without some roomful of young white men asking them illegal questions about their child-rearing plans. On the other hand, there's still tremendous pressure pushing people away, and it's a deep problem. Still, part of the puzzle and I (personally) highly endorse.
As to the numbers, I've been meaning to dig into the data, but Matasano's hiring as fast as we need to, so it's been hard to motivate myself to do so. Maybe once graduation season ends...
Which OS do you support? Some screenshots or demo videos of the workspace would be nice.
Edit: Also, a comment on the video - it started off well with the woman having issues with an old slow computer (which is what I have and so I could relate). But then later on all the actual use is shown on fancy macbooks and iMacs which kind of defeats the puropose for me.
That still relies on the company, or people therein being not quite economically rational: free riding is cheaper. Unless of course everyone does it and the good in question is then underprovisioned. It is certainly worth a try, though!
The thing is, free riding isn't necessarily cheaper for anyone.
When you're depending on the software in question, it being underfunded might mean you're not getting the quality and features that would pay off in multiples for you. You could be sitting on a pile of bugs, or your dependency could be abandoned at your expense. These things happen all the time in open source land and it's a tragedy.
I'm not convinced that freeriding is really rational at all. I would however grant that it's both easy and lazy.