Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged quora in 2014

Filters: Type: entry × Year: 2014 × quora ×


We applied to Y Combinator a few weeks ago and submitted a demo. We made significant progress since then and have a much better demo now. Is it possible to replace the demo? Is it advisable?

It’s fine to replace the demo, and definitely a good idea if your new demo is better. That said, don’t expect that anyone who has viewed the old demo will check out the new one. As a result the sooner you get the new demo in place the better.

[... 91 words]

Have you ever experienced a boost in productivity by switching to a different programming language?

Switching from PHP to Python (over a decade ago now) dramatically improved my productivity as a programmer.

[... 38 words]

How does one decide which Javascript framework (e.g. Node, Backbone, Angular) to use on any given project?

If you are just learning JavaScript, I suggest trying to work without any frameworks or libraries at all. Starting with something like Angular will make it much harder for you to learn the core language and browser APIs.

[... 137 words]

What are some tips for improving public speaking skills quickly?

Practice your talk, out loud, in private, as many times as possible before you deliver it. There’s no better way of ensuring you know your material and that you can deliver it at a sensible pace without freezing up.

[... 127 words]

Are there any YC startups based around open source software?

There have been a few.

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Aside from Google I/O, does Google organize any other conferences?

They run a whole bunch, but many of them aren’t widely advertised—they have a lot of invite-only events for customers of their advertising tools, for example, and there are things like the Google Analytics Summit.

[... 95 words]

What are good event venues to have a 100 person weekend hackathon in San Francisco?

As a general rule, tech companies in San Francisco are very supportive of hackathons and keen to host events. Eventbrite have hosted this kind of event in their office in the past, and I’m certain there are a bunch of other companies with decent spaces that would be worth approaching. Does the hackathon have a specific topic? I suggest approaching companies related to that topic as a starting point.

[... 90 words]

Does Y Combinator accept purely app ideas like WhatsApp, Flipboard, etc.?

Yes they do, but you’ll need to demonstrate that your team also has the ability to execute on the idea.

[... 37 words]

Should I use Django forms or pure HTML in order to do not establish borders for the growth of my app?

Use Django forms. Django scales horizontally on the front-end, so if your site needs to handle large amounts of traffic you just need to run multiple front-end servers—your form handling code will scale up just fine.

[... 65 words]

What are the most important things to keep in mind when doing a presentation?

Know your material, and don’t speak too fast.

[... 28 words]

What is the best payment provider for a web app with monthly subscription fees at its early stage?

We found Stripe extremely easy to get started with for charging subscription payments.

[... 37 words]

What are the key points accelerators such as Y-Combinator drill into their startups?

They also teach the importance of launching something and getting real feedback. The entire three month YC process is based around the need to launch and demonstrate traction in order to raise money from investors.

[... 89 words]

Does Ycombinator welcome projects that are similar to alumnis?

Y Combinator has funded companies that are similar to alumni in the past. Two examples: they funded dotCloud and Parse, both platform-as-a-service startups, despite having previously funded Heroku.

[... 45 words]

What’s the best way to communicate with go libraries from within Python programs?

Go speaks HTTP extremely well, so one simple but powerful approach is to hook your Go libraries up as simple HTTP+JSON APIs and have Python call them over HTTP (the Requests: HTTP for Humans library is awesome for this).

[... 59 words]

What are Good Conferences for SaaS Marketers?

Business of Software has a very good reputation.

[... 22 words]

Do accelerators (which do not take up equity) accept not-for-profit ventures into their programs? If yes, which are some of the best ones?

Y Combinator recently started funding non-profits: http://ycombinator.com/np.html

[... 37 words]

What are some good designs for a personal business card for professional networking?

Two things I think are absolutely worth including:

[... 112 words]

What is the best way one can expand his or her professional network?

Go to events—local meetups, conferences, tradeshows... there’s no better way of expanding your professional network than to attend events and build in-person relationships with people.

[... 46 words]

What are the best free tutorials on HTML5?

Dive Into HTML5 and HTML5 Rocks are both outstanding.

[... 25 words]

What’s the best way to keep track of changes to a project you’re not directly contributing to on github?

This is what GitHub’s “watch” feature is for: https://help.github.com/articles...

[... 35 words]

In simple terms, what is node.js?

It’s server-side programming, like PHP. The language you write the server-side code in is JavaScript (specifically the JavaScript version supported by Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, which was originally written for the Chrome web browser).

[... 46 words]

How much equity does YCombinator get on average?

They almost always take 7%—they get diluted down in further rounds.

[... 27 words]

Is YCombinator’s $20k seed capital enough to keep a team of 3 founders alive in Silicon Valley during the program?

Yes—especially if the three founders live together. A three bedroom apartment near Mountain View can be had for around $3-4,000/month (just check Craigslist), which will be the bulk of your expenses. The rest can cover food, car rental and some business-related expenses (we spent some money on office chairs and a desk).

[... 81 words]

Where can I find a list of web and tech business conferences happening across the world this year?

Our site http://lanyrd.com/ should be able to help you with this. We have a large crowd sourced directory of conferences and professional events—we should have most international events in the web/tech verticals, and you can add any that we are missing yourself!

[... 69 words]

Presentations: What tools does Patrick Van Stee use to make his slides?

That looks very much like Apple Keynote (used extremely effectively) to me.

[... 30 words]

Why was LinkedIn Events shut down? Why isn’t there now a social network for business events?

Our site Lanyrd offers LinkedIn signin and works as a social network for business and professional events. You can read more about our LinkedIn integration here: Use Lanyrd and LinkedIn to get more out of professional events and conferences

[... 62 words]

First: I am a first time speaker at a convention (to happen in 2 days time) and I have no experience at all but I believe I can do so can anyone give me tips on how to look confident, engage the audience, inspire them and NOT SUCK...?

Practice your talk, out loud, at the speed you will be delivering it (which should be slower than you normally speak) as many times as possible. After the first few runthroughs, think about ways in which you can improve the talk—things you could communicate more clearly, slides that could be better presented, changes to the order that might help. Then make sure you practice the final version, out loud, at least three times in the exact form you intend to deliver it.

[... 138 words]

Calendars: When posting a facebook event page for an event that is repeated on two dates, should you use one page or two? (The events are games that are identical and should not have overlapping players)

I would use separate pages. The most valuable part of a Facebook event page is being able to see who is going to that event (and hence which of your friends will be there). If there are two events on two separate days you want to be able to maintain two separate lists of attendees.

[... 97 words]

Whether 404 custom error page necessary for a website?

They aren’t required, but if you don’t have a custom 404 page you’re missing out on a very easy way of improving the user experience of your site, and protecting against expired or incorrect links from elsewhere on the web.

[... 98 words]

Why did Twitter move away from being a single-page application?

Twitter is still a single page application, it’s just built properly now (one result of which is that you can’t easily tell).

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