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What if you read that statement as "URLs are the basic interface of the web"?

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thezilch 68 days ago | link

But they're not. Hyperlinks, shortcuts, or similar are. To most people, the internet is an icon on their desktop, that goes to the Google/Yahoo/Bing, with which you can search for Facebook. You're going to be hard pressed to teach this majority on the rules of parsing a URL to eek out the domain before you can even begin to teach them which domains to look out and what not to do with those unrecognized.

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thesash 72 days ago | link | parent | on: Designer Duds

Precisely this. The examples in this article are all examples of innovation UI design, which is just a small, albeit highly visible edge of design.

That being said, startups like Uber, Waze, AirBnB, and Nest have all reached staggering levels of success by re-designing the entire stack of user experience in their respective markets. While the interfaces of these products are generally clean, they're not really the crux of the design innovation. Instead, the critical design innovation is elsewhere, in design of the systems, processes, technologies, and even business models that enable a magical end user experience.

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jessep 71 days ago | link

Yeah, I think this gets to the heart of it.

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rhizome 72 days ago | link

To be fair, AirBNB's site ain't all that great, and they only had to improve upon the mid-90s vintage VRBO, which is about the lowest bar for design imaginable.

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dpe82 72 days ago | link

You miss the point. AirBnB redesigned how one acquires temporary housing when visiting another city (staying at an individual's house, arranged via an online marketplace). Their site's visual design is really ancillary to that.

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rhizome 71 days ago | link

I don't think AirBnB has really added that much to the VRBO experience or business model.

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d23 70 days ago | link

They did something that caused them to stand out and become wildly successful. If that something is caused by the site being more usable or somehow easier, then they have added something to the business model.

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I think the answer is more or less that transportation costs aren't going down. We produce more than enough food to feed the entire world population, but the poor can't afford to buy it because of the cost of transporting it to them.

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pdonis 164 days ago | link

This doesn't seem right to me. Transportation costs are negligible for all sorts of products. It costs more in gasoline for you to drive to your local Best Buy and bring home a DVD player than it does to ship that DVD player from the factory in East Asia somewhere halfway across the planet to the store. Huge economies of scale have been realized in transportation.

If, on the other hand, we include under "transportation costs" the costs of dealing with corrupt governments in many countries who enrich themselves at the expense of their people, then yes, there are significant transportation costs in getting food to poor people in many countries.

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Love the idea. Love it so much that I bought the domain reread.co a while back with the intent to create something very similar!

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avlok 240 days ago | link

:)

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In my experience what drives great entrepreneurs is not a desire for wealth, power, or fame; it's a burning desire to make a small change in the world, usually in the form of bringing their product to market. Whatever success may come next is a byproduct of that drive, not the source.

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michaelochurch 248 days ago | link

In my experience what drives great entrepreneurs is not a desire for wealth, power, or fame; it's a burning desire to make a small change in the world, usually in the form of bringing their product to market.

This is silly. Entrepreneurs are no more (and not necessarily any less) virtuous than anyone else who works. People have the whole gamut of motivations. In general, humans need something to do-- to keep fed, and to keep their spirits high.

There are plenty of entrepreneurs (even many quite good ones, in terms of effectiveness and moral character) who have the same pedestrian motivations as average people going to work: wealth, security, esteem, et al. Don't put them on a pedestal.

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thesash 248 days ago | link

It has nothing to do with virtue, and I'm not suggesting that entrepreneurs aren't ambitious, I just think you're confusing ambition and drive. If your goal is wealth and security, then starting a company is a terribly risky way to pursue those goals, and statistically you'd be better off taking a job at an established company that can afford you a nice salary and job security. That's where drive comes in. Entrepreneurs who hope to make it to the finish line are going to end up being uncomfortable, anxious, overwhelmed, and afraid (not to mention underpaid) more than 50% of the time for however long it takes to achieve success, which generally seems to take 7-10 years. If the source of the drive to start the company is wealth and security, then why persevere?

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wtracy 248 days ago | link

Entrepreneurs are no more virtuous than anyone else who works.

Of course not. They're not driven to selflessly improve the world, they're driven to make a change in the world that has their name on it. In fact, that change often has a negative impact on the world at large.

It's about ego, really.

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michaelochurch 248 days ago | link

Many have no choice. Entrepreneurs tend to split between the unemployably good and the unemployably bad.

The problem with Silicon Valley VC is that it has become so superficial. Unemployably good are 4-sigma creatives who tend to come with ADHD, mental health issues, unusual backgrounds and socialization, and (if they spent adolescence in the US) low-grade PTSD. Those are socially limiting. Unemployably bad people are great at making first impressions because their problems are deeper character issues. So guess who gets funded in shallow bubble times?

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nostrademons 248 days ago | link

There are also plenty of employably good people as well.

I've worked directly (as in, same team, interact with them day-in-day-out) with at least half a dozen people who have founded their own companies. Some of them ran these businesses for 5-10 years; a couple even exited for fuck-you money. They are back working at Google, because Google is doing things they can't accomplish working on their own. Oftentimes they make great employees in leadership roles, because they know what it takes to ship product and do it well, and they're well-versed in taking responsibility for their own actions.

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nonchalance 248 days ago | link

If your motivation is wealth, by far the easiest way is to work in finance.

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Can someone who understands the strategy behind fundraising explain why they would want to raise at such a high valuation? To be clear, one point left out of the article is that the $3.5B - $4B valuation is a rumored valuation being "considered" by the startup (Their most recent round of funding valued them at $800MM). When I read about the "rumor" my immediate thought was: Snapchat leaked that to the press to gauge the response from potential investors / acquirers. The thing I don't understand is: what is their goal here? It seems like raising at a 3B+ valuation limits their options for an exit to either an IPO or an acquisition by one of maybe 3 companies. Raising at such a crazy valuation also seems extremely risky considering the volatility of apps in their space and the fact that they haven't even begun to explore monetization. What am I missing?

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I can't wait to explain to my grandkids someday that back when I was young we used to let humans drive big hunks of plastic and steel at breakneck speeds, with nothing more than our laughably slow reflexes standing between life and death. They'll rightfully think it was barbaric and tragic that we let thousands of people died each year in accidents caused by distraction, drunkenness, exhaustion, and plain old human error, all at the hands of people granted the right to operate killing machines by way of a test passable by the average teenager.

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smokinn 259 days ago | link

Thousands is kind of downplaying it too. 32 thousand in the us alone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in...

Probably in the hundreds of thousands globally.

Self-driving cars can't come fast enough.

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anonymfus 259 days ago | link

According to mentioned in neighbour Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-re... ) WHO report (http://www.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/78256/1/978924156456... , "Preface", page V), it's about 1.24 millions deaths in 2010.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

Just to give a counterpoint (I know this opinion will be extremely unpopular on HN)

I'd explain how there was a time when we were free to drive our own cars, and make our own decisions. And simply hop in a car and drive.

Not like now where you get in the car and it asks you to download the latest software update, then it monitors your every move, sending back data to the car makers/NSA and showing you ads as you drive along at ridiculously slow speeds. It'll probably also drive you past a certain shop if they pay the car maker enough money! Oh no, the car has crashed. Better turn it off and on again and hope for the best. Nothing like putting my life in some low paid software engineers hands! Oh dear, the car maker has gone bust. Now you can't get any software updates, and the software has stopped working as it can't dial home anymore. Oh well, tough luck! You didn't really think you could buy a car to own and do what you want with did you? You can only pay subscription fees for cars now.

Freedom is certainly a double edged sword. With freedom comes responsibility. But taking away freedom isn't the answer. Making people more responsible is.

It's going to be pretty impossible to take away the peoples right to drive cars (Even harder than taking away the right to bear arms in the US!) Stop drinking the kool-aid. It's not going to happen.

I'm rooting for some massive disasters/scandals with self driven cars, to put the idea to bed. And you can be pretty sure there will be some big disasters if they ever get anywhere with it.

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rubinelli 259 days ago | link

The attitude I see from younger generations is that the freedom to drive your car is like the freedom to wash your dishes or balance your checkbook by hand. Driving, specially in overcrowded cities, is increasingly seen as a chore and a hassle. Getting rid of it means freeing up from one to four hours a day to study, play, or talk to their friends.

If you want to keep driving as a hobby, I'm sure there will be some accommodations made. But just as you can't tote a rifle in a downtown mall, there will be some restrictions to make sure you don't endanger anyone.

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datalus 259 days ago | link

Pretty much this. I love driving, but its my largest hassle and expense I'd like to replace with a good commuter bike.

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jmccree 259 days ago | link

In many states, it'd be perfectly legal to tote a rifle in a downtown mall.

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microcolonel 259 days ago | link

Good thing, those states have lower rates of murder with firearms I'd imagine.

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pencilcheck 253 days ago | link

Yea, perhaps disable auto pilot mode when you are in less crowded areas.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

If you're a "city" person, that may be the case. But it's a terribly big generalization to make about all younger generations.

The younger generations I know can't wait to drive, and have the freedom to travel where they want to.

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Nicholas_C 259 days ago | link

>The younger generations I know can't wait to drive, and have the freedom to travel where they want to.

I think it's simply the ability to be able to go wherever that lures teenagers to driving. I know that's why I got a job and saved up for my first car. You can still do this when cars are that don't require a driver.

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exodust 259 days ago | link

>> "It's going to be pretty impossible to take away the peoples right to drive cars"

No, they will simply phase out manual cars. No big deal, it just means it will be almost impossible to crash, and that's a good thing.

It doesn't mean you won't be able to drive, but you'll be driving with a computer keeping watch over the road ahead and obstacles around you.

Put the car in auto mode and sit back... Most people will choose that. Those who prefer to drive themselves can do, but within limits. You couldn't for example deliberately crash into the back of someone. There won't be a setting to turn off to achieve an outcome whereby the car touches any other object. It just won't happen while you're driving on public roads. For example the computer will not let you cross over double lines at certain speeds, or accelerate too fast at busy intersections, and so on. But it may let you accelerate fast if it determines that doing so won't put anyone else at risk, and conditions are suitable etc. The algorithms controlling when the computer takes over will be clever enough to almost be invisible, and that's what will win people over.

Regulations will prevent car manufactures from making fully manual operated vehicles. Every car will be required to have automatic safety overrides for any action deemed to put the car at risk of impact with another object.

Everyone thought it would be people who override the computer, but it will be the computer who has the final say in the direction and speed of travel in a hazardous situation. I think car manufacturers and the public will LOVE the fact that driving is safer.

Any driverless car accidents will be statistically unlikely, and everyone will see this. Even when just one car crashes, it will be headline news each time, like commercial airline crashes are now. People continue to fly because accidents are rare.

So, the "right to drive" won't actually be taken away. Your right to put yourself and others in danger on public roads WILL be taken away. Have a cry, but then you'll need to get over it because 450 billion is significant.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

"There won't be a setting to turn off to achieve an outcome whereby the car touches any other object. It just won't happen while you're driving on public roads."

Can you not see the idiotic flaw in your plan.

You're driving along. You're coming to a junction. A bike isn't looking and is going full speed and will hit into the front side of your car. You do not have time to brake. Your only option is to swerve into the next lane, which will mean you crash into a fellow car.

You have crashed into a car, but you have saved the cyclists life.

There is absolutely no way in the world you'll be able to get regulations in place to prevent making fully manually operated vehicles. You're high. It's not going to happen.

There's also no evidence to suggest that driverless cars will make roads any safer. You still have to account for cyclists, pedestrians, animals, and the billions of cars driven by people etc etc.

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pencilcheck 259 days ago | link

Are you countering his argument or just grumbling to yourself?

What drive less car can do and the system in the whole can do is to be able to know where and when a car is driving in the vicinity where normal human cannot perceive. So the situation you describe will not happen at all if those systems are in place. Actually, you just describe a scenario where it is preferable to have a system that monitors human error that could prevent accidents like the one you describe to happen.

Also I don't know whether you have been following tech recently, and if you have seen the intro to drive less car, you would probably seen or heard about the infamous laser and radars mounted around the car as shown in the article in the link: http://www.slashgear.com/back-to-basics-how-googles-driverle...

It is virtually impossible for the car to crash into anything because the car can literally "see" everything around it. Also the algorithms is smart enough to anticipate or plan an alternative path to prevent collision with the objects. You sounded like you have never heard or been following tech especially machine learning, so I forgive you, but you should do some research first before posting comments like this...

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

Next you'll be telling me that speech recognition works. It doesn't.

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TeMPOraL 258 days ago | link

Pick up a goddamn Android phone and see for yourself.

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exodust 258 days ago | link

"Can you not see the idiotic flaw in your plan."

It's not my plan. It's the inevitable path of innovation and technology. What I described should be obvious.

Eventually, all cars will be driver-less, and the "old style" of car will be rare to see on the road. Like pre-1974 cars are extremely rare to see now. Everyone will want the newer, safer, cooler, energy efficient cars that drive you home safely, even when you're high.

"You're high. It's not going to happen."

Yes, I'm high. But it will happen. The bicycle situation you describe is one where the computer could still take action to minimize injury to the cyclist, and reduce the risk of causing a major accident with other vehicles. Most drivers would panic and "swerve into the next lane" as you describe, which is not the best action to take. It's about controlled evasive action, not "holy crap... slam on brakes...over-steer... enter skid... over-compensate over-steering... enter another skid... crash."

If the cyclist collides with your car because of cyclist error, then what you have firstly is an extremely unlikely situation, as cyclists are usually focused on what they are doing. They're not adjusting the air-con, or thinking about sex while riding through traffic - they are concentrating.

"You still have to account for cyclists, pedestrians, animals...".

Come on bolder88, get real. Driver training teaches us to avoid swerving into the path of oncoming vehicles to avoid impact with wildlife. The computer would not allow you to do so, and that's how it should be. However, the computer WOULD allow you to swerve into the other lane if there was no oncoming traffic. Otherwise, the safest option is to run over the animal.

With pedestrians, it's certainly a challenging scenario for the driver-less car, but I still think that the automatic hazard avoidance systems can save the day better than manual intervention. That's because it takes great skill to control a car in an emergency situation. Most drivers don't know how to control a skid, because most drivers don't get any practice with such driving.

Perhaps then, to meet you half way, some drivers can apply for a special license that gives them full control. For the rest of us, the computer is the safer option for controlling the vehicle during an evasive maneuver.

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JonSkeptic 259 days ago | link

I agree. The first large accident involving a self driving car will pose a real challenge to its adoption.

I also agree with you about trusting my life to a disgruntled software/firmware engineer: I'd rather not. I know people like self driving cars because 'ZOMG! Computers react so much quicker!' but I'm not convinced that they will react better, or at least, that they will react better in critical circumstances. I don't want a software bug, a flaw in an algorithm, or a dust covered sensor to kill me.

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maxerickson 259 days ago | link

Of course, right now, when you get in your car, you are trusting your life to each driver of an oncoming vehicle (and side traffic, and...).

So the better question is whether you trust the median driver more than you trust the process used to approve the self driving system. This is a much different test than your disgruntled engineer.

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JonSkeptic 259 days ago | link

If I get in a self driving car, I am still trusting my life to each driver on the road, but now I am also trusting the software of the car.

In an ideal world I would not mind self driving vehicles nearly so much if everyone had one. Advocates of self driving too often forget that there is an adoption period for technology and that for a vehicle it will span a decade. During that time, why I should I trust the firmware/software to react appropriately to other people's insane/suicidal driving maneuvers? For that matter, when those people are a minority on the road, I'm not sure that they wouldn't become worse, engaging in ever more stupid maneuvers because they can assume the other car is 'smart enough' to move out of the way.

It's a great idea to remove the human element from driving completely in 99.99% of scenarios. The problem is that its the 00.01% of scenarios that kill you. The other problem is that adoption doesn't happen overnight and during that stage I see no logical reason to put myself in more danger by removing my ability to react to my surroundings and instead trusting that the software of my car can handle the suicidal driving of angry high-way drivers.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

Not really. The first rule of driving a car, is assume that everyone else driving a car is trying to kill you, is blind and is absolutely rubbish at driving.

If you keep that rule in mind at all times, you'll be pretty safe.

I would absolutely trust a random driver far more than a self driving car.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

They can react quicker, but can they react correctly. What if a cow starts ramming the side of the car? Did the programmers account for that eventuality?

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maxerickson 259 days ago | link

What a horrible attitude in your last paragraph.

Anyway, your right to drive a car probably won't be taken away. Your ability to afford the insurance necessary to operate on public roads is probably a different matter.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

Sorry if it came across as harsh. I believe there's two options...

a) We let our freedom be gradually eroded over a long period of time, so that people don't notice it, and so that any one generation can't really remember how great things were.

b) There's a wake up call event that shows people we should not allow ourselves to go down this road at all.

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philwelch 259 days ago | link

> I'm rooting for some massive disasters/scandals with self driven cars, to put the idea to bed. And you can be pretty sure there will be some big disasters if they ever get anywhere with it.

During the Vietnam War, more Americans were killed in auto accidents on the DC beltway alone than in the actual war. Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death, and driver error is the leading cause of auto accidents. No, I think you just want to watch people die.

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bolder88 259 days ago | link

I think you should probably update your stats.

Auto deaths are almost half what they were in the 60s in the US, despite more cars and more miles driven. And that figure is coming down by a pretty good percentage each year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in...

To put in in perspective, every year in the US:

  * People die from heart attacks: 600,000
  * People die from auto accidents: 32,000
Obviously every lost life is a tragedy, and my last comment may seem harsh, but the alternative is that this sort of technology creeps up on us, and we don't understand what we had until it's too late and we've lost it forever.

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philwelch 259 days ago | link

Heart attacks, in the cases where they are preventable, only end up killing the person who failed to prevent them. People who drive cars poorly end up accidentally killing other people all the time. And it's hardly a "freedom" anymore when people are practically required to either drive everywhere or at least be around constant car traffic in order to get anywhere.

Getting human-operated cars off the road doesn't diminish freedom, it enhances it.

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fexl 259 days ago | link

I upvoted you before I read your last paragraph. I am massively in favor of personal freedom, but I am not rooting for massive disasters or scandals with self-driven cars. Nevertheless, it creeps me out in the same way it must creep out Richard Stallman.

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Sounds similar to BoxBee[1], although they don't photograph & inventory, they just catalog & store individual boxes and make them available on demand.

https://boxbee.com/

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thesash 299 days ago | link | parent | on: Why Is Zambia So Poor?

Well, look at the centuries of violent war that preceded most modern, stable nation-states. Europe was pretty much in a constant state of conflict from the fall of the Roman Empire until WWI.

Nationalism is also an interesting phenomenon, in that over time it tends to transcend ethnic groups, but only once the thread of common identity has established itself. Take a look, for instance, at the post WWI Middle East, where the imposition of arbitrary zones of influence (the origins of many modern states) disrupted a budding pan-Arab nationalism in favor of keeping a balance of influence between the colonial powers.

The United States is a completely different case in that the nationalism that took root here was based on a shared identity among immigrants of (relatively speaking) diverse ethnic groups-- but even so, our early history had no shortage of atrocities committed agains native populations, as well as conflict among the constituent religious and ethnic groups that comprised the nation.

That being said, nation states seem to be a very stable and agreeable governance paradigm once they become established, but a shared identity amongst diverse groups (ethnic or otherwise) takes time to develop, and as history has demonstrated, it certainly can't be imposed from the outside.

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thesash 299 days ago | link | parent | on: Be the best?

People don't generally accomplish something immensely creative or interesting by setting out to do so. Instead, they stumble upon that great idea after some amount of time spent pursuing their own curiosity. The process looks something like:

1. Do things that interest you

2. Follow the threads of those interesting things towards a deeper understanding of your domain

3. If you're so inclined, specialize further and repeat

4. With some combination of luck, perseverance, and time, you may become the "best" at something for a brief time, but either way you'll have learned a lot and pursued your own curiosity.

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bluedevmonkey 299 days ago | link

so it's a process built upon a calling and without any comparisons to other? the last part is read into it, but you get the point; I think these comparisons affect the motivation - even if you don't do it for that. - i.e. this blogger stopped with ballet after she saw better ballet dancers in her course. (unclutterer.com/2009/08/03/you-dont-have-to-be-the-best/)

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