Simon Willison’s Weblog

1004 items tagged “quora”

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).

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How much equity does YCombinator get on average?

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

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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).

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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!

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

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Does Go have an equivalent node.js’s NPM?

Sort of. Go ships with a command that can download and compile a dependency for your project ("go get github.com/russross/blackfriday") but it doesn’t have a solution for library versioning yet (as far as I can tell).

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When applying to Y-Combinator, if your current product is just the first step on the way to a much larger product vision which will not be realized for many years, which product should an entrepreneur discuss in an application (the current one, or th...

The YC application form has fields that cover this. You should talk about your grand ambition in the “What is your company going to make?” answer, then describe your progress so far in the “How far along are you?” answer.

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What are the best ramen places in London?

The big four are Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu, Shoryu and Ittenbari, all in or around Soho. You can find them all on my foursquare list here: Ramen in London

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What are some good resources to learn how to cleanse data using Python?

http://gnosis.cx/TPiP/ “Text Processing in Python” is a free online book that covers a bunch of useful topics related to data cleanup. It’s over 10 years old now but is still mostly relevant—the chapter on regular expressions is particularly good.

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Are Django versions released too often?

The Django release process is well documented (see Django’s release process) and has been specifically designed to address the concerns of developers who don’t want to have to spend too much time keeping up to date with the latest version.

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What are some examples of startups funded simply for the strength and uniqueness of its founders rather than for any particular idea?

A good portion of YC companies fit this definition—it’s common for YC to fund the team and then work with them to help them either fix their initial idea or find a better one.

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Is there an application like Duolingo, but for math?

Khan Academy have a points, levels and achievements system for mathematics that is similar to the method used by duolingo.

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What is the Y Combinator cycle?

The winter program generally runs from January until March, with application deadlines the previous October (this year the deadline was was October 21st). Interview invites were sent out on November 4th, and interviews themselves in Mountain View were November 15th-19th. Teams get a yes or no answer the day of their interview.

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What is currently the best technology stack for web scraping?

PhantomJS combined with CasperJS is pretty fantastic—it runs a full, headless copy of a Webkit browser so it can operate against a real DOM, execute JavaScript properly, even grab full rendered screenshots of areas of the page but is still easy to automate.

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Is it fair for someone who calls themselves a “seed” investor to require traction?

It’s completely fair. If you’re building a web-based startup these days, you should be able to demonstrate initial traction on an idea with very little up-front investment—a couple of months of your time and a few hundred dollars in hosting costs, perhaps. Being able to do that is an excellent indicator that you’re a good bet for a seed investor. If you are unable to do that, you’re a much higher risk for investment.

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Which Y Combinator companies focus on finance?

TrustEgg (YCW11) help people open trust funds for their kids: TrustEgg Allows Anyone To Set Up A Trust For Their Kids | TechCrunch

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What do Twitter and Gawker think of hash-bangs URLs?

As of December 2013 (and potentially much earlier, I don’t have the exact dates) both Twitter and a Gawker have moved away from hash bang URLs, so my guess is they turned out not to be a good idea.

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How did GitHub get its initial contributors?

The founders were active participants in the open source and Ruby on Rails communities. The first users were people they knew in those communities (GitHub accounts were invite only at first).

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Why does TED refer to its speeches as “talks”?

I think this reflects a more general trend in the tech conference world which TED emerged from.

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When did South Park characters stop calling things “gay” in the vernacular derogatory sense “not very good”?

There was actually an episode that touched on a similar issue back in 2009: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...—“the boys attempt to change the official definition of the word ”fag“ from an anti-homosexual slur to a term describing loud and obnoxious Harley bikers.”

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Would/Does Y Combinator accept Students (Freshmen/Sophomores Undergrads) if they’re planning on going back to college?

YC want founders who are going to dedicate themselves full time to their companies after the initial three month YC programme has ended. If you’re not willing to do that, why should YC give a place to you over someone else who IS willing to make that commitment?

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How do I network with speakers at events?

I’ve spoken at loads of conferences, and I can tell you that speakers WANT you to approach them. They’re definitely interested in talking to you—that’s one of the main reasons they speak.

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Would YCombinator have invested in Apple?

Yes. YC is about the team, and the fact that those two had built a prototype of a personal computer in their garage (in 1976!) would get them in to YC without any trouble, even considering the quality of applicants YC gets today.

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How accurate is the GitHub status site?

Very accurate. Every time I’ve noticed a problem with GitHub the status site has either already published it, or publishes within a minute or so of me first noticing.

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What are good sources to learn about SEO?

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz (previously SEOMoz) is an excellent introduction to SEO fundamentals.

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