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YouTube won because it was first-- by the time Google tried to make a go of it, YouTube was pretty rooted in the market-- video creators went where the audience was.

The iPad was a massive step up from previous tablet efforts-- both with touch technology and software experience.

Certainly there is a timing and luck component to both of these.

But "mostly luck" - that's just wrong.


Google Video actually beat YouTube to market by about 3 months.

The problem was that Google Video was missing some critical features beyond the video player. It was harder to upload videos. It didn't get embedding until after YouTube, and then its embedded player had a clunkier, less-branded interface than YouTube's. It lacked the "related videos" sidebar that was the crucial feature that made YouTube take off. Google also couldn't put up the copyrighted content that YouTube often turned a blind eye too.

YouTube's actually a really good example of the better product winning. They understood their market and aggressively put out features that their early adopters wanted. It wasn't all that apparent to outsiders that the product was better, because the details don't register for them. (Personally, I didn't see what the big deal with YouTube was until 2007 or so.) But for the key early adopters, it was pretty clear which one was more fun to use.


I'm not so sure YouTube was first. There were a LOT of video startups at the same time as YouTube. Honestly I think a lot of YouTbe's early success was due to rampant copyright infringement. Once Google bought them companies like Viacom smelled money and went after them.

Glowforge - Seattle, WA - Full-time

We're looking for (more) full-stack web software engineers. We could also use an amazing visual/UI designer and a senior electrical engineer.

We're 6 months into building the a consumer-friendly laser cutter/engraver (and the the software to operate it). We call it a 3D Laser Printer because we're rolling in some pretty tremendous 3D-oriented features. The stuff we're building is straight from the pages of science fiction.

We're well-funded ($9M) and founded by three technical founders (one YC alumnus) with 7-9-figure exits.

Jobs page here: https://jobs.lever.co/glowforge

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Have you ever considered using a laser cutter, CNC, or the like?

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Yes, certainly thought about it. But for most of what I do, a consumer grade CNC wouldn't be able to do it. And for most of the cuts that a CNC could do, I can cut it much faster by hand. Yes, in theory, I don't have to be there while the CNC runs, but in practice, if I can cut it 10x faster by hand, that doesn't matter.

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In theory YOU don't have to be there when it runs, but in practice I own a 75w laser cutter, a CNC mill, and a 100amp plasma cutter and I would be happy to provide parts to you free, for science.

And also so that my kids think I am cool because Dad knows someone famous on YouTube. Because that is what it takes to impress 11 year olds these days.

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That's one heck of a shop you have.

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The pantorouter[1] is sort of an 'analog CNC'.

[1]: http://woodgears.ca/pantorouter/

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This project just blew me away. In fact, a lot of the projects on woodgears opened my mind to how far you can go in a wood shop. Really inspiring!

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Exactly. For some joinery, a CNC would be handy. But with the pantorouter, I can cut just about any joint a CNC can cut, but without a computer.

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That is low, but that's a big headcount for pre-A-- did they raise a huge seed?

That aside, you earn equity with risk, so my question to you would be: "What are you risking?" Certainly there's an opportunity cost (you're risking not working somewhere else). If you think your work-remotely-market-rate for a non-startup (i.e. no stock) is X, then you are risking X - 130k per year for 0.2%/4 (vesting over four years). So if X is $150k, you're buying those shares for $80k (4 years of salary difference). Is that a good bet in your eyes? It'd only be a good bet in mine if I had fairly heroic belief in the startups shot at "unicorn" status or if I was really excited about the work/team.

However, if you think $130k is a reasonable salary for remote work and the contribution you'll be making (it could well be), then the stock is a high-risk bonus.

Regardless, you should certainly negotiate for more salary OR equity (whichever you care about more) every time.

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A prototype doesn't get you a meeting with a VC.

It's usually a network thing. Founder X says to (slightly better connected) Founder Y, "I'm raising a round. Who should I talk to?" Assuming Founder Y thinks that an intro to Founder X is something investors would want, they say, "I could intro you to Firm X, Y, Z."

Clever fundraisers do this in a systematic when when it's time to raise. They make a spreadsheet of investors that might be a good fit, scour LinkedIn and the firms' portfolio pages to see if they are connected with them, try to see if the firm is a good fit (firm personality, conflicts, check size they write, geographic focus, etc) and then start working on getting warm intros. They try to get as many of these conversations going in parallel as possible, which is freakin' HARD.

Which is where this article comes in. It's massively wasteful to have conversations with investors which end quickly with "We don't do seed rounds," or "we only invest in New York" or "We already invested in a company that you compete with", "we don't write checks that big", "you don't fit our investment thesis", etc.

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Sorry if this is a silly question-- but if that hangs over you like that, can you just (legally) change your name?

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In the US, you're required to share information about past felony convictions on job applications and so forth, plus there are companies that specialize in tabulating that sort of information. So trying to start over by concealing your past is treated as inherently suspicious.

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Criminals in America sound like they're treated as a de-facto permanent underclass. Less rights (no voting, custody, criminal suspicion, etc), less privacy (sex offender registry) and less opportunity with respect to job applications (job discrimination based on criminal record is legal?).

And then they're released back into the general population, expected to be upstanding, rehabilitated citizens that want to (and can?) contribute back to society.

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You think sex offenders shouldn't be on a register?

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In some states, urinating in public qualifies as a sexual offense.

I think that such a crime does not merit being placed on a list that is presumed to be comprised of rapists and child predators.

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What makes them different from murderers, robbers?

All I was saying is that these individuals are now part of a permanent underclass. This after they've supposedly "paid" their debt to society by serving their allotted jail sentence.

Whether there should be a registry for sex offenders, or anything else. That's a really big, and complicated problem, though.

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Depends. Rapists and child molesters, I certainly support long-term monitoring and strict parole requirements, in combination with treatment. Some teen sexting his teen girlfriend a picture of his dick? No. Quite a lot of 'sex crimes' prosecuted in the US are based on moral panic rather than any injury.

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How can this possibly fail? /s

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We're making a desktop laser cutter/engraver: a magic box that makes beautiful products. CNC lasers have been around since the 80s but innovation's been at a standstill. We're driving the price of the hardware down 5x and building a cloud backend that does motion planning and machine vision to make it dead simple to use. Push a button, out come flat-pack wallets, lamps, board games, and anything else you can dream up. We're up in Seattle, funded, and have 8 employees including 3 founders who've manufactured hardware, sold companies, graduated YC, and built profitable businesses. Check out this article about us: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/slice-and-carve-the... If you like what you see, shoot us a note at jobs@glowforge.com!

PS: We'd love to talk to anyone, but especially want to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to apply. We're building a product for all kinds of people, and we'd like it to be built by all kinds of people, too.

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Glowforge - Seattle, WA - Full-time

We're looking for (more) full-stack software engineers, back-end engineers, and front-end engineers. We could also use an amazing visual design and a mechanical engineer who has injection molding experience.

We're well-funded and founded by three technical founders (one YC alumnus) with 7-9-figure exits. We're building an insanely challenging hardware+software product straight from the pages of science-fiction that's aimed at makers and creatives. It's early-- our product team is just 5 folks, but we're growing.

You can read our "coming out" article in the New York Times here: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/slice-and-carve-the...

Actual job openings here: https://jobs.lever.co/glowforge

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That "nice to have" list in the software-dev position seems a little over-broad. "Genius with back-end server technologies" plus "familiar with hardware, like drivers" plus "some graphics experience" plus "Javascript, CSS, and HTML"...

It's hard to tell if it's a "whatever you have we can use" situation versus a "we want an ubermensch"-one.

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Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, truth be told, there are a ridiculous number of skills/experiences that aren't required but would be really awesome. We erred on the side of having relatively few "requirements" and all of the nice-to-haves we could think of for what we're building. You could have any combination of those (or none) and still potentially be someone we'd love to hear from!

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Glowforge - Seattle - Full time - Full stack / back-end-leaning developers

Well-funded and founded by three technical founders (one YC alumnus) with 7-9-figure exits. We're building an insanely challenging hardware+software product straight from the pages of science-fiction. It's early-- our product team is just 4 folks and we could use two more.

https://jobs.lever.co/glowforge/fd6f421a-b6cc-413e-8b0f-7523...

(also interested in mechanical engineers with injection molding experience and a visual designer)

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Go get 'em Tony!

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PG is pretty careful with his word choices, and I think he's probably right about being mean interfering with success. You can not be mean, but still be a healthy distance from kind, good-hearted, honest, justice-minded, generous, etc.

A question successful people ask themselves is "Why be mean? What do I get out of it? What does my company get out of it?" They can be ruthless but realize that treating people with respect and warmth is smart in the long-game. Forum-trolls don't ask that question-- they just get emotional satisfaction from being mean.

Note that I'm not saying successful people are necessarily ruthless and manipulative-- just that they CAN be and still correctly be called "not mean".

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