Startup Money (and how much?)

Posted 6 years ago

Alright, did you get an offer to join a startup? Or maybe you are looking for a new career path. Are you fed up with years of wage slavery at huge corporations? Maybe you just graduated, looking for the first dent you'll make in the world. Perhaps you and a few friends are about to embark on a new voyage to discover a trove of digital treasures. So you're wondering if you should take that ever sought after leap of faith and join a startup? Maybe start your own? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions, one of the top concerns is the experience you'll have, and the things you will learn. But after that, the next thing you might... Read More


Which JavaScript Framework Should You Learn To Make Money

Posted 8 years ago

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post called Which Programming Language Should You Learn To Make Money, and at the time, the post was fairly relevant. In fact, it still is today, with one exception. JavaScript. JavaScript has really started to come into its own lately. There are multitudes of frameworks, patterns, architectures, microlibraries, testing tools, build tooling, and more. It actually boggles the mind to contemplate how many different frameworks you can use to architect and build your JavaScript app. With Node, you now have isomorphic apps, utilizing your favorite event-driven, asynchronous goodies on the backend. 

Hir... Read More


Philip K Dick Predicts The Matrix In 1977

Posted 8 years ago

Back before The Matrix, back before Simulacra and Simulation, and even back before Star Wars, Philip K Dick predicted that we are living in a computer simulation, and he cited his knowledge of this as the source of his novels. He even went so far as to describe a girl in black hair who shows up at his door and tells him his world is a delusion. While we may not want to believe PKD, we cannot deny his absolute prolificness, and that even today his work shows up all over our media. And the scary thing is, the closer we get to the future, the more accurate his predictions appear.

Here's the video where he made the speech, and full tran... Read More


What Is Growth Hacking?

Posted 9 years ago

Full disclosure: I run a growth hacking service called

I hear it a lot, I see it everywhere. Growth hack your userbase! Growth hacks for more followers! Growth hack your way to success! But is it real, and does it work? The short answer is yes, it works. But the how and why may not be palapable to everyone.

Growth hacking can be used by anyone from a teen on tumblr to your Series D funded startup with $200M in the bank. Growth hacking refers to getting more users in a cheap manner. More users to follow you on Twitter or Tumblr, more likes on your Facebook page, or more paying customers. It is not always ... Read More


The Cloud Sucks And Here's Why

Posted 9 years ago

Wow, the cloud sure does suck. But that doesn't seem fair. Your Digital Ocean account is fine. Your Dropbox you use to share your family photos is the greatest thing since sliced bread! In fact your mom has never been happier. So why does it suck?

1) Arbitrary restrictions and limits

Your client asks to upload their forms to a server. Your boss tells you Google App Engine is amazing for this. You can manage your stack from the cloud, and you can support all the greatest languages! Once you get onto the cloud, you realize that servers will shut down whenever they feel like. Well actually, they... Read More


How Much Money Do You Make Programming?

Posted 10 years ago

I'll get right to the point.

About $100,000 a year. That's the answer if you have been programming for 4+ years and work in a major tech hub like the Bay area or NYC. Of course your mileage WILL vary. Your salary is dependent on your skill level, your experience and your negotiating power.

  • Most programmers will make between $40,000 and $120,000.  
  • Junior prgrammers, or people starting out in smaller cities can expect to make around $30,000-$50,000.
  • Most average programmers are bringing in around $60,000-$85,000 a year.
  • Senior programmers will typically reach $100,000.
  • And highly value... Read More

Friday Quotes

Posted 10 years ago

I don’t care if you’re a billionaire. If you haven’t started a company, really gambled your resume and your money and maybe even your marriage to just go crazy and try something on your own, you’re no pirate and you aren’t in the club.
— Michael Arrington 

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
— Stephen King

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.
— Bruce Lee

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human ... Read More


Bill Watterson's Commencement Speech to Kenyon College Class of 1990

Posted 10 years ago

I really love this commencement speech. It's not about technology, it's not about business, it's not even about success or making money. It's simply a very real, honest examination of what life is like out here in the 'real world.' It seems like the thing that every commencing college student should hear, but none will understand (until it's too late.)

It is a stark reminder that the syndicate's are in the business of bleeding each other dry, particularly at the mercy of creators and do'ers, often under the guise of promising happiness or satisfaction. Bill's account will bring us all back to reality and help us remember wh... Read More


Startup Story: A Cautionary Tale

Posted 10 years ago

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

There's nothing new on the internet, there never is. You get tired of wasting time and go back to working on your prototype, SocialBox. It's your newest project, a social memory box, and it is starting to get some attention from your friends. You've really enjoyed building it, and like every project, you've learned a lot along the way. "Carol has ad... Read More


How to Get a Programming Job

Posted 10 years ago

How do you get a programming job? It seems obvious, just apply for jobs until you get one. But that's not so easy for people coming from another industry, or people who have no programming experience. To get a programming job you will obviously need programming experience. Even getting a freelance job will require you to have some kind of portfolio. Also, there are many programming career paths. You could be a rocket scientist, a web developer, a genome researcher or a hardware programmer, just to name a few. For the purpose of this post, we will focus on the career path with the most jobs, web programming.

You will need to learn a ... Read More


Your Facebook Posts are 'Public'

Posted 10 years ago

Turns out that I've been posting in the 'Public' setting for some time now. This means whatever I post, anyone on Facebook can see. And anyone with an email address can sign up on Facebook. It does NOT mean anyone on the internet can see your posts, but a simple registration to the Book is all it takes.

I quickly created a new Facebook account and checked out my profile. Sure enough, all the public posts I have made are visible, and turns out I've made a lot of public posts. I browsed around on Facebook and could see my wife's profile in full, and lots of other folks.

All it takes is a short script to start m... Read More


Big Companies Are Trying To Protect You, For Once

Posted 11 years ago

Three big players and one little guy are looking out for your best interests. It is a good time to be a consumer. In the past we've seen loads of debacles around Facebook and privacy, and it seems like these guys don't want to make the same mistake.

The most recent protector of your identity is Apple. A few months ago they announced they would no longer allow developers to track your UDID, a unique identifier on your phone. The UDID is essentially an ID on your phone which allows apps to identify you. The problem is your UDID never changes, so Bob's app and Jim's app both call you the same name. Now Bob and Jim can talk about you, t... Read More


Moving Art Work Seen From Q Train

Posted 11 years ago

I've always wanted to get this, and I did a few days back. There's some art work (graffiti?) you can see from the Q train as you leave Brooklyn, just before you get out of the tunnel and on the Manhattan bridge. I always love seeing it on my way to work.


Xcode Sucks And Here's Why

Posted 11 years ago

1) It crashes. A lot. I remember back in the early days of Eclipse, it would crash pretty frequently. It's funny because I had forgotten all about that until I started using Xcode. Then I remembered what it's like to be using a shitty IDE which crashes all the time. Ironically enough, Eclipse NEVER crashes on my Mac, but Xcode, which is an Apple product, is crashing on its own hardware.

2) It manages the project files and their hierarchy using a shitty flat file (pbxproj). This means if you want to use Finder to organize your project, which is sure to have tons of graphical assets, forget about it. ... Read More


If You Build It, They Won't Come: A Warning To Developers

Posted 11 years ago

That was one of the best lessons I've learned in recent years, something I like to call the Field of Dreams mentality. That if you build it, they will come. They being the critical mass, the teeming hoard, ready to blast your servers to hell. And it being anything your fingers could program, possibly something you thought of with a friend, and most likely involving social, mobile, geolocation or all of the above.

Some years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about building something for an audience. The conversation went something like:

"We should build something..."
"Ok, what?"
"I don't know,... Read More


Apple stock is Steve Job's Thriller album

Posted 11 years ago

This is a guest post by Stephen Johnston

Just like when any good celebrity worth their grits dies, we all go on a rampage to buy anything and everything that has to do with the late great entertainer.  Oh yes Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) was a genius, but he was also a celebrity and an entertainer.  A keynote delivered by him in a lot of ways was better than seeing Radiohead live in concert.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with Apple.  In the late 80s they were the computers at school that I played Oregon Trail on.  Then I would go home and play DOOM on my PC, which was much cooler at the time.  Back then Apple was j... Read More


Why We Didn't Get Into Y Combinator

Posted 11 years ago

Our idea sucked. That was probably the biggest reason. Other factors include: we had no prototype, no users, no traction and no revenue. We went to YC NYC and asked Paul Graham, Harjeet Taggar, Fred Wilson, Jessica Livingston, one of the founders of Airbnb, and some other really smart people about the space we were trying to get into and they didn't turn us off right away. They didn't say we had a great idea, but they didn't say we had a horrible one either. I suppose they knew what we all know, which is that an idea is worth very little. (Also, YC is accepting app... Read More


Hypem Extension For Chrome Lets You Download Your Favorites

Posted 11 years ago

This sweet new Chrome extension creates a temporary history of the songs you've been listening to and provides an easy download link to nab your favorite tracks. It even sets the right name on the file and adds id3 tags. I'm using it right now and I have to say, it is very convenient.

My biggest gripe with Hypem used to be that I would like a song there, come back a few days later to hear it again and it'd be taken down. That always sucked. Now I can just download it for my future listening pleasure, in case Hypem has to take it down. 

Scott Rogers, the creator of the plugin, also plans to add desktop alerts for what track is... Read More


Which Programming Language Should You Learn To Make Money?

Posted 11 years ago

I often hear people ask what programming language they should learn first. But the question should be: why do you want to program in the first place? If you are interested in it because it seems fun, then any language will do.

But I have a feeling some of you have bills to pay, and you're thinking it wouldn't be so bad if programming could foot some of that.

Now the question is more specific: which programming language should you learn to make money? Now the question is ponderable, but be warned, the answer won't be the same for everybody.

The good news is that all popular languages are pretty fair in terms of compensa... Read More


5 Ideas For Your Next Startup

Posted 11 years ago

It feel like every week that I read some post on Hacker News or some random blog post extolling the virtues of free love with our ideas. People say that ideas are cheap, it's execution that matters. They say that nobody is interested in stealing your crappy idea. And if your idea is worth anything, you will have to shove it down peoples throats.

I think that ideas are floating around in the collective unconscious, and it is rare that you are ever the first or last to think of something. Consumers are fickle, markets fluctuate, and ideas are always floating around, waiting for the proper execution. With that in mind, here are 5 ideas... Read More


The Value Of An Idea

Posted 11 years ago

Many people guard their ideas, as if simply sharing them would give others the desire, will and motivation to begin working on them and outpace the conceiver, who is probably not the only person with that idea. In Waking Life, there is a scene with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke lying in bed, and Hawke suggests that there is some telepathy, some type of Carl Jung collective unconscious:

It's like there's this whole telepathic thing going on that we're all a part of, whether we're conscious of it or not. That would explain why there are all these, you know, seemingly spontaneous, worldwide, innovative leaps in science, in... Read More

Building An App Is The New 'Starting A Band'

Posted 11 years ago

Although that's probably not a big surprise since everyone is looking for a 'rockstar programmer' or 'ux ninja' these days. I feel bad for my friends who don't posses these skills, it seems like that's all anybody cares about in the job market. And that reality is tough for job seekers, but it has an entirely different effect on youth.

Back in my day if you wanted to be cool, popular and get the girl/boy, you would simply need to start an awesome band with your friends (preferably in one of your garages). You didn't all know how to play your instruments but you'd pick it up as you go along. You would learn a thing or two, and some m... Read More


The National Advises You To Quit Your Day Job, Do What You Love

Posted 11 years ago

One of my favorite songs by The National is Theory of the Crows. It takes place during the dotcom era when a couple of the band members were working in a startup, looking to IPO or have a sucessful exit, and Cash In. They caught the goldrush fever of 2000, and like so many others, got burned. Stereogum asked Matt Berninger what he would have done had he had struck it rich.

STEREOGUM: Ever wonder what would’ve happened if you’d become that millionaire?

MB: I probably would have taken guitar lessons and tried to start a band. Isn’t Steve Jobs or s... Read More


Why I Work At A Startup

Posted 11 years ago

I have been trying to trace back to when I first became so enamored with startups, and creating a business. I think it began when I met the founder of MenuPages, Greg Barton. Prior to that I was just another software engineer, totally oblivious to what the world had in store for me. I spent my days slinging code and my evenings chugging brews with my fellow developers.

When I accepted the job at New York Magazine (NYMag) I had no idea I would be working on MenuPages. My manager at the time did mention I would be working on some top secret project, but he could not mention what it was, as the acquisition was not yet complete. When I ... Read More


5 Reasons People Are Busier Than Ever

Posted 11 years ago

Maybe you missed it, but there's been a slew of new productivity apps lately: Orchestra, Clear, Asana, and so many others. We haven't had this much productivity since David Allen coined GTD. So why the obsession with productivity apps?

  1. Email Overload - People are inundated with email. Most productivity apps today are really touting email connectivity, with the promise to help reduce the burden of growing email. Most are offering features around email forwarding. We're going to be seeing more of these email aggregators/hubs in the coming years, especially for niche markets. I could really see something like thi... Read More

Playstation Vita is the Foursquare Killer

Posted 11 years ago

The Sony Playstation Vita came out just a couple of months ago and has already sold over one million units worldwide. And it could be the next Foursquare killer.

The Vita includes things we take for granted: GPS (3G only), accelerometer, motion sensor, front and rear camera. All these are ubiquitous today but they are still new to the portable gaming community, especially GPS. 

Dennis Crowley envisioned a check-in game, but recently Foursquare has had to look for a business model, slowly moving it away from gamification and into local advertising. This is where an actual game could be different. Gamers are of a different vari... Read More


First Post

Posted 11 years ago

Customary first post. This is sort of like smacking the side of my yacht with a champagne bottle, or cutting a ribbon on the neighborhood grocery store, or making that first dig. But it takes more than a shovel to build a town hall. So I think I'll stick to building shacks, or dinghy's.

I look forward to covering weird programming things I discover during my day to day, hot button issues on tech, only the most white-hot startups, and all the video game excess I can squeeze in. We'll see how this goes.

 Now I just sit back and wait for the inspiration to hit.