Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hacker News, Censored

For some reason, HN likes to say " You're submitting too fast. Please slow down. Thanks.".

For some reason it only seems to happen after an account has posted a comment not everybody likes.

Unsurprisingly, yours truly doesn't care about political correctness and will burn when appropriate, thus getting censored by HN ...

Why blog about it ?

Well I believe startups shouldn't be a place to be politically correct, or blind to other people's point of views, especially when they're revolutionary.

If you, too, think HN should *not* be censored, feel free to bump this up.

Anatomy of the Best Programming Language

"A programming language must always enable full control of the underlying machine code in order to maintain full functionality."

"A programming language must be paradigm agnostic and enable any paradigm to be used"

"A programming language must be translated into perfect C until it's native compiler yields equivalent results"

And that is why C >>> all right now

So please, if you're going to create a language, mind those three, and avoid us more of the following:
  • religion wars
  • short-lived codebases
  • gotchas all around
  • shitty performance
  • more religion wars

WIP: don't hesitate to participate, I think we need a few more axioms here, about terseness and other things too.

The Age of Education

We've finally reached it.

Asia is on top of the world, Europe and US are slowly but surely sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

And that's because we lost our last advantage, education.

Our educational system has not only failed to improve over the last thirty years, it has managed to worsen.

We can either focus on education right now, or face the middle ages that are coming, with the western world as a mix of second and third world countries.

In the Western Corner

The US, which had a very bad level to start with and instead of producing smart people relied on imports to fill the ranks, has gotten even worse and seems to have become unable to import talents as other countries are now giving their own incentives to keep the brains from being drained - and it works.

Europe, which never had the brain drain to start with, but used to be one of the best "smart people factory", is slowly but surely losing in quality.

On the other side...

Japan is as good as ever, producing many of the world's top minds (many US nobels are clearly made in japan).

Korea (the good one) is at the top of the world, home to the world's best consumer electronics brand, as well as producing a lot of very talented, hard-working people, Jaedong and the others.

China, which still lacked brains a few dozen years ago, has solved its problem, is now importing knowledge and producing its own smart people.

The Future

I predict that modern companies such as google will increasingly focus on staff improvement and ultimately on the full scope of education in order to create a local and global advantage for them, and through that, for their country.

There will be however a bunch of businesses that will simply move to the now-rich part of the world and leave you to rot.

In my humble opinion, spending less than 30% of our total money on education is a very stupid decision.
And we never did spend that much in all of history.
Time to wake up ?

The First Technical Founder Mistake

I personally am a technical founder with decent knowledge from motherboard to front-end design and that gives me the assurance that I don't know anything and should either learn a lot or take other talented people on board to do most of those things properly.

The Pattern

somewhat technical founders (i.e. with some scripting knowledge, and a bit of database use experience i.e. mysql) know they can reach "a" result by themselves, and rush to do it, without considering the major pitfalls.

They may very well be not the best person to do it.

Quite clearly a better programmer (there's always one) could have written it in half the time while you were securing funding or figuring out another important part of the business.

A well-known example

facebook has that problem, with a mostly PHP and MySQL background brought by the founder and generalized as company tradition.

That makes their IT stack extremely ineffective and at least triples their costs, a major factor in survival probability (burn rate).

I since heard that they eventually at least partly woke up and started considering real tools instead of toys, but clearly they are still suffering greatly from a legacy of bad design choices.

The Impact

Big infrastructure costs > (more) advertising > less users > much less money longer term and possibility of losing that winner-takes-all market.

The Solution

Always be improving, do stuff yourself if you have to but always look up and reach for quality, it's a better long-term strategy.