hackNY Lessons: Week 7

Chris Dixon and Josh Knowles were the talks for the week, being the former mostly QA and the second one probably the best presentation on Agile management concepts that I’ve ever seen. It was so much stuff in less than 1 hour and a half, I already know most of it but hell now that’s really ingrained in my brain. Chris Dixon put an emphasis on personal branding, having really clear goals for your startup.. oh wait maybe I should get started.

Tech learnings:

  • Chapter 1 of the Joy of Clojure. I read slow, mostly because I only read on the subway or when I’m waiting to go to work in the morning.
  • How to solve this with Clojure (will post the solution right after this post)
  • Codata, corecursion, f-algebras.. looks like I learnt more math than practical tech this week.
  • Apache routing to keep different Rails projects separate.

Startup learnings:

  • Ndas.. most ideas seem stupid to a person who is listening to pitches 24/7. It’s so rare that you tell someone an idea and that person copies it to the point it makes your idea a serious competitor against you.
  • Jesus christ getting people to use your stuff is hard. And I don’t even know where to look at to get better at this. I wrote this post on HN asking for help but nobody seemed to care much about it. I’m sure its a lot easier to look for a niche then build something people will use than trying to do innovative stuff.
  • You should of course focus on something and do it really well. You’ll get to a point where you can be ahead 99% of the people on something. Then take something new on a totally different topic and become good at it. All credits to Chris Dixon on this one.
  • Make really, really clear to your cofounders what do you want to do with your little baby that your startup is. It will be a major source of problems if you want to sell it to some Indian company in 5 years while your cofounder wants to keep running it.
  • If possible, avoid having a team who cannot communicate. That will kill your company. There are ways to build a startup from scratch where all employees are friends with each other and still they are ‘A’ players as they like to call themselves..

Life learnings:

  • I get frustrated when I have no side projects. Project Euler was a good mental outing this weekend, I guess I will continue until some idea pops up.
  • Too much bleach is never a good thing even if you can’t fit anything else on your washing machine.
  • Another headache on Saturday night for the same reasons. I should do something.