hackNY Lessons: Week 4

Awesome fellow Terence Nip  had a great idea and he is going to post his weekly learnings on his blog.

We met with Joanne Wilson (a.k.a. the gotham gal), Dennis and Harris Foursquare founders, and chilled out on Wednesday with the Fog Creek crew at their offices. Overall a terrific week. Plus we got some stuff done and I went to hack n jill and got to do some cool shit with Cheryl and Jesse, he wrote about it on his blog.

From http://blog.terryatjn.com/post/24749339216/hackny-lessons-week-3 ,

Tech learnings:

  • Mongomapper
  • I learnt to love HAML over ERB.. and SLIM over HAML.
  • I mostly did front-end stuff this week.
  • Enlive and how to scrape websites with Clojure. Still not quite there though but I’m getting the hang of it. 6 weeks to go.
  • Lean planning and dividing your work into chunks to put in your to do list makes everything easier. i.e: “Crawl 1 site and 1 link”. I try not to plan any further than 2 or 3 of this chunks at a time.
  • I need some help on learning more common functional programming idioms than map/reduce/filter …

Startup learnings:

  • Whenever you get denied for funding, always ask why. Otherwise you’re going to get in a never ending circumference path where you get rejected and you cannot do anything to solve the situation.
  • Get your legal stuff sorted out early on. If you don’t know how to start, Doccracy might help here 
  • Why would you try to raise funding if you don’t need it? Just bootstrap it and enjoy your cake while people in suits look at you with envy. Definitely the way to go if you or the problem you want to solve don’t really need the money and especially if you can’t give back 100x that amount.
  • Almost every successful entrepreneur has been very, very tight in money at some point of their lifes.
  • Overnight success doesn’t last.
  • People at foursquare were working for 10 years on the same sort of problem until it clicked. They even got acquired by Google and they ditched their product. That should tell you something.
  • However, in Harris words.. don’t take all advice you get. No matter if it comes from Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Take risks if you think your idea will change the world even though everyone else tells you it will not.

Life learnings:

  • Startup learnings should really go here but whatever.
  • Work hard surrounded by people who work hard. Then party hard together. Rinse and repeat. Motivation can be a bitch when you work on your stuff all alone.
  • Having no money forces you to be creative if you really want to get out of that situation.
  • I need to think for 5 minutes on the solution of a problem before actually starting to work on it.. not sure if this is a good thing or not.
  • For some reason places like Fog Creek attract lots of hardcore nerds. Even though they make really top notch cool stuff, diversity >>>>> being in a plastic bubble. Please prove me wrong on this.