Simon Willison’s Weblog

1004 items tagged “quora”

Should I build my startup’s web-based product as if it’s going to one day be widely adopted and experience high-volume, or instead focus on quick delivery over scalability?

Absolutely the second: build for rapid learning, not for eventual scalability. The vast majority of startups fail, and the number one reason they fail is that they didn’t achieve product-market fit: they failed to build something that customers actually wanted.

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Getting the blog back together

Getting this blog up and running again has turned out to be one of those side-projects that keeps threatening to fall down a rabbit hole.

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What’s the cheapest or free stack solution to deploy and experiment with a realtime application in 2016?

Heroku have a good free tier, and comprehensive support for deploying both Python and Node.js. If you are mainly interested in realtime I would suggest starting out with Node.js on Heroku. Depending on the complexity of your project you might even be able to use raw Node.js without adding something like Express.

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Which VCs invest in an early stage in an IOT Technology startup in USA North East?

I can’t provide a specific list of VCs, but I can help you answer this question for yourself.

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What’s the first thing you would check if the company is losing money even though there’s a big increase in its revenue?

The company’s expenses.

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What is the single greatest value-add from Y Combinator?

It’s very difficult to pick the best one, but from our experience here’s something that really stood out: the sense of camaraderie and trust you have in others who are also going through YC.

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Why is snapEDA.com slow? Is it because it uses Django?

No, it’s not slow because it uses Django.

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What are the best strategies to get a tech job at YC-backed startups in the next 5 months?

Keep an eye on jobs | Hacker News—it’s the official listing of almost all jobs advertised at YC companies.

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How can I negotiate a free conference venue in London?

The two top options in my experience are universities (including student unions) and private companies with good meeting facilities.

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Are traditional web frameworks and languages like RubyOnRail, Spring Boot and PHP dying now when new fast reactive pure JavaScript frameworks and services like Meteor, Node, Angular 2.0 and Firebase are breaking ground?

No.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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What are Good Conferences for SaaS Marketers?

Business of Software has a very good reputation.

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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

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

Two things I think are absolutely worth including:

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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.

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What are the best free tutorials on HTML5?

Dive Into HTML5 and HTML5 Rocks are both outstanding.

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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...

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