Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged quora in Nov, 2013

Filters: Year: 2013 × Month: Nov × quora ×


How do I put my Twitter picture on my company’s about page so that it automatically updates?

This used to be pretty easy, but Twitter made it a lot harder with their APIv1. You need to do authenticated API calls to access their image API now, which means it’s best to set up a cron job and cache the correct URL.

[... 125 words]

Where can I find a copy of Y Combinator’s user manual (as mentioned in the most recent book by Randall Stross)?

You can’t—the manual is confidential and only available to YC founders. If you want to read it, you need to get in to YC!

[... 86 words]

Can Meetup be used to organize virtual events?

I don’t think so. From http://help.meetup.com/customer/...

[... 41 words]

How does one actually find Angel investors, when our business/startup is taking off and we need to grow fast?

The best way to approach angels is via introductions. To get introductions, you need connections to people who are known and trusted by angels.

[... 281 words]

Using AWS, as my cloud, what is left for me to work on? Is it enough for me to just write the html+css code and programming language code (python)? Or do I stil have to work with mysql and backend stuff? I am pretty new at programming, so I hope it i...

Using a cloud server platform like Amazon EC2 unfortunately will not protect you from needing to understand basic server adminstration—it’s not that different from running your own physical server, except that if you screw up the configuration it’s much easier to throw everything away and start from scratch.

[... 134 words]

I’ve been working alone for about a year, how do I get out of this feeling of loneliness because no one is around me?

This is why co-working spaces exist. I don’t know which country you are based in but here in the UK most cities and many larger towns now have at least one tech-focused co-working space where you can rent a desk on a month-to-month basis and have a work environment outside your home with other freelancers with whom you can socialize.

[... 129 words]

Has anyone been through Y Combinator more than once?

Yes, this isn’t that rare. I think the Hipmunk crew went through YC, despite having previously gone through as part of reddit. The Erics from clutch.io had previously participated in YC as part of Convore.

[... 51 words]

How log in my e-mail and send sms via php?

If you want to send SMS via PHP I suggest taking a look at www.twilio.com—they are pretty inexpensive and ridiculously easy to get started with.

[... 44 words]

If Sheryl Sandberg cannot  code, how can she manage a leading software company like Facebook?

There is way more to running a technology company than just writing or understanding code. According to Wikipedia, Sheryl “oversees the firm’s business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications.”—that means that among other things she’s responsible for the parts of Facebook that make the money!

[... 74 words]

What’s involved in making a site like JibJab go from conception to reality?

I’m afraid you don’t get to create a hit website just by having an idea: You have to have the skills and focus to actually make it happen.

[... 118 words]

Are there any good bootcamps, such as Code Fellows, DevBootCamp for mobile (iOS/Android)?

Big Nerd Ranch have been offering iOS and Android for several years now. A friend of mine went in the iOS course a while ago and spoke highly of it—he has since released an app to the App Store.

[... 62 words]

How do I overcome my fear of public speaking (of people just “switching off”, or simply getting up and leaving the room)?

Look for opportunities to give “lightning talks”—5 minute talks given as part of a series of talks. These are excellent for beginner speakers as they help force you to get to the point as quickly as possible, and you only have to survive for five minutes! They are good for the audience too as if they don’t enjoy our talk they only have to sit politely for a couple of minutes before the next talk comes along.

[... 107 words]

Why doesn’t Google use their resources to improve coding languages?

Google invest vast resources in to language improvements, and have been doing so for over a decade now. Just off the top of my head...

[... 184 words]

Online Ticketing: Is Biletto a good way to find music / entertainment events in London, or are there any other alternatives? What are some problems you see with the site?

It looks like a clone of http://www.yplanapp.com/ to me, but without the exclusive inventory.

[... 51 words]

Do all incubators / accelerators welcome their startups getting funding?

Yes. The goal of incubators and accelerators is to obtain a small amount of low-cost equity in promising companies and then help them grow and reach their potential.

[... 122 words]

Which is more productive for a professional software engineer: Sublime Text or Notepad++?

Sublime Text 2. It is cross-platform and hence won’t lock you in to Windows.

[... 33 words]

Does Facebook fly you to London when you apply for this office or are the interviews done remotely?

If they are anything like Google (which I expect they are) they will do the initial interviews remotely and then fly promising candidates to the London office (or even to California) for in-person interviews.

[... 58 words]

Should I pull the plug?

Is there any way if turning this in to a recurring revenue product? It’s enormously easier to get money from an existing customer (since they already know that your product works for them and is worth the cash) than to sign up a brand new customer.

[... 140 words]

What computers do Google engineers use when doing heavy programming?

Loads of people at Google use Macs. Google as a company is way too smart to stop using a good product just because it is produced by a competitor.

[... 45 words]

What are some great board games to play for 3 or more people?

I suggest looking in to German-style board games. They tend to be quick to learn and extremely well balanced but with a great deal of strategic depth once you get in to them, and they also have running times in the order of 45 minutes to an hour and a half. They’re ideal for games nights, especially if you might be playing with people who think they don’t like board games.

[... 254 words]

What would be a good web application framework to use for running a small online retail business?

I’d look at hosted SaaS solutions rather than running your own. I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve heard excellent things about www.shopify.com

[... 47 words]

Is there an unsecured credit card that you can apply for that everyone who applies gets it?

No. Any company that offered that would quickly go bust.

[... 33 words]

What’s the best way to reach out to alumni if you’re interested in working at their company?

Yes, it’s fine. Many tech companies have a referral bonus for employees that help them make a good hire, and any alumni you contact will be able to forward your details straight on to the recruiting department.

[... 96 words]

Does Ycombinator accept applications even though we will not be able to work full time on project?

Very unlikely. One of the questions on the Y Combinator application form is something along the lines of “Which of the founders listed on this application are ready and able to work full time on this project—please explain”. If none of your team are able to work full time on the project, your chances of being picked over other teams who CAN commit are vanishingly small.

[... 91 words]

How can I convince my boss that I should dedicate time to clean an important part of our code base?

It sounds like your boss needs to learn about the concept of Technical Debt: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog...

[... 42 words]

If a startup has raised 10M, how much is it worth?

That depends on how much equity they sold for that $10 million.

[... 142 words]

Is there anyway to game unique link verifications?  Like when you get sent a link of the form https:/........com/UID=TYYN04001 How would one change the digits to reproduce another working link?

Not if they’ve been implemented correctly.

[... 42 words]

How could GitHub improve the password security of its users?

By doing exactly what they’re doing already: adding more sophisticated rate limiting, and preventing users from using common weak passwords.

[... 80 words]

In which case have you seen a non-tech sole founder rise to build a sustainable great company without a tech co-founder? How can this work? What are the steps/advice you would give to the non-tech founder?

Here’s a great write-up of his experience: From Selling Scoops Of Ice Cream To Founding ZeroCater | TechCrunch

[... 110 words]

I’m a developer, I’ve an idea, how to look for funding?

If you only need $10,000-$15,000 you should be looking at funding it yourself—professional investors very rarely get involved for that size of raise, and you probably wouldn’t want them to—giving up equity in exchange for so little money is usually a bad idea.

[... 90 words]