Reading List

Noteworthy articles I read (mostly Hacker News) with a hand-written summary or hand-picked quotation



  2014   Jul   2013   Apr   Mar  

July 22, 2014

Interview with James Turnbull of Docker |

"I caught up with the VP of Services for Docker, James Turnbull, who'll be running a Docker crash course at the con. Besides finding out what Docker is anyway, we discussed the cloud, open source contributing, and getting a real job."


"This mobile architecture -  app constellations, if you will - is an important part of the Amino thesis: that for communities on mobile devices, hyper specific is of more value than general; that a series of apps is of more value than one; and that people are looking to build online relationships through the phone now, not just on the computer."

Here’s Why a Booming Tech Market May Fool You into Thinking You’re Successful

"I’d like to do a few posts on what life looks like on the way up and perhaps how to keep your head on straight and avoid drinking your own Kool Aid because as I often advise entrepreneurs on irrational exuberance, “In a strong wind even turkeys can fly.” It helps to have seen the way down twice before to know many of the signs."

July 17, 2014

What Qualities Make a Good Startup Engineer?

"The most effective startup engineers that I’ve worked with have the skills and decision-making abilities to effectively navigate this landscape. In particular, they exhibit some combination of these 7 qualities"

July 16, 2014

Why You Need a Strategic Data Service |

"Based on what I’ve seen, here are my observations on why data services are necessary for just about every business today."

Bill Gates's Favorite Business Book - WSJ

"Today, more than two decades after Warren lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published—"Business Adventures" remains the best business book I've ever read. John Brooks is still my favorite business writer. (And Warren, if you're reading this, I still have your copy.)"

From Rap Genius to Genius - Ben's Blog

"today Rap Genius officially expands beyond rap and renames itself Genius. Genius does for everything what Rap Genius did for rap. As part of that, the company is also announcing a new $40M round of funding lead by Dan Gilbert. Rap Genius will continue, forever, as part of the Genius family. I have looked forward to this day for quite some time and welcome everyone to Genius, the explanation of everything."

Courage to change things | CloudFlare Blog

"One of the things that CloudFlare is being brave about is looking at old code and deciding to rewrite it. Lots of companies live with legacy code and build on it and it eventually becomes a maintenance nightmare and slows the company down."

Looks by Dr. Dre +

"When Apple acquired Beats in the spring, there was some confusion as to why; some people didn’t understand why Apple would want to get into the premium headphones market, while others (including myself) speculated that Apple was buying into the emerging streaming music market. This afternoon I found myself looking through, and one possible reason suddenly hit me: Beats headphones come in tons of color combinations."

Optimize for readability first

"Premature optimization — everything one tries to optimize before profiling and running tests on a working system. Everything except readability. So instead of what one shouldn't do we'd better say what one should do. And the quote will look like this: Optimize for readability first."

July 15, 2014

There’s only a few ways to scale user growth, and here’s the list

"products mostly have one or two major growth channels, which they optimize into perfection. These methods are commonplace and predictable."

How Vibrant is the Hardware Startup World?

"Before 2013, there were very few hardware seed rounds exceeding $1M, but in 2013, 56% of seed stage hardware companies that raised rounds, raised more than $1M."

Book: The Alliance - Feld Thoughts

"Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh have written an outstanding and important book called The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age."

Comparing Cloud Compute Services

"I'll present actual comparisons from testing we've done recently on Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and SoftLayer."

The Basic Income Guarantee – AVC

"if we really are headed into a world where there aren’t any low skilled jobs, then I guess we need to be talking about ideas like this."

Marketing your startup: What's on your checklist? | Hacker News

Detailed digital marketing advice in the top comment.

"I actually was hunting Ewoks." The Original Lucasfilm Games Team Talk About Life at Skywalker Ranch. | USgamer

"Booger Hunt. George Lucas avoiding tax penalties. Monkey Island and dependency charts. The Lost Patrol. A file drawer full of crazy ideas. This is the story about life at Lucasfilm Games - as told by the people who lived it."

Mark Zuckerberg on a Future Where the Internet Is Available to All - WSJ

"The Facebook Chief Writes That Connecting Everyone on the Planet to the Web Can Create Opportunity and Reduce Poverty"

Complete DIY guide: legal basics for startups, COO responsibilities

"Today i will show you how to include COO (Chief Operating Officer) responsibilities in the Founders Agreement."

Will Angels Lose Their Wings? | EquityZen | Where Private Investors Access Proven Startups

"In this post we anticipate what the SEC will be looking at when it revisits the accredited investor criteria."

pressfarm - Find journalists to write about your startup.

journalist contact info as a service

Vagrant with Docker: How to set up Postgres, Elasticsearch and Redis on Mac OS X -- maori.geek

"In this post I will describe how to set up Postgres, Elasticsearch, and Redis as Docker containers with Vagrant on Mac OS X."

Introducing the BPF Tools | CloudFlare Blog

CloudFlare open-sources the tools they use to deal with large scale DDoS attacks.

MIT And Dropbox Alums Launch Inbox, A Next-Generation Email Platform | TechCrunch

"Founded by Dropbox and MIT alums, a new startup called Inbox ... offers a more modern way to build apps that access end users’ inboxes."

Keeping a Research Database - Josh Kaufman

"Evernote serves as my research database. Evernote is capable of doing a ton of different things, but I only use it for one thing: storing the full text of useful articles I read on the web in a searchable, organized fashion"

July 12, 2014

The Characteristics of a Billion Dollar Consumer Hardware Startup

"I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast a top consumer hardware startup with the benchmarks of public SaaS companies using GoPro's S-1. I have three goals with this analysis. First, to understand GoPro's business better. Second, to benchmark GoPro's capital needs, capital efficiency and attractiveness to investors. Third, to draw conclusions for other hardware startups."

Code review without your glasses | Robert Heaton

"you can tell a surprising amount about a file without actually reading any of it"

HTTP API Design Guide

"This guide describes a set of HTTP+JSON API design practices, originally extracted from work on the Heroku Platform API."

From Missiles To The Pitch: The Story Behind World Cup Tech : NPR

"At the World Cup in Brazil a stream of real-time data has been pouring off the field. We can find out exactly how many miles each player has run and how fast - also, detailed tracking of ball possession and location. We wondered, how is all that data being collected?"

July 11, 2014

Why composition is often better than inheritance

"There are lots of cases where inheritance may seem the cleanest solution, while in practice composition would be better."

Rob Pike's 5 Rules of Programming

"If you've chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming."

This Ugly Ad Saved My Business | Grigoriy Kogan

"I made a banner ad that was ugly as sin and went against all common sense… Then it worked better than ever expected, and it saved my side business."

A practical workflow for resizing images with ImageMagick

Image editing from the command line.

During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union - The Washington Post

"The memo is one of more than 130 newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency’s secret involvement in the printing of “Doctor Zhivago” — an audacious plan that helped deliver the book into the hands of Soviet citizens who later passed it friend to friend, allowing it to circulate in Moscow and other cities in the Eastern Bloc. The book’s publication and, later, the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pasternak triggered one of the great cultural storms of the Cold War."

How to destroy Programmer Productivity | George Stocker

Author analyses causes of his own productivity loss and things that help.

Paul Chiusano: CSS is unnecessary given a layout language with means of abstraction and combination

"It’s true that in using a language like Elm for layout, one loses the ability to cut and paste random CSS found on Stack Overflow in cargo-cult fashion without understanding what it does. I consider this limitation a feature. Layout code can and should be managed using the regular tools that programmers have developed for managing complexity and factoring out duplication."

Make Things and Show Them - Y Combinator Posthaven

"We've often been asked to make a section of Hacker News that's just for Show HNs, so we did. We're releasing it today, along with a new set of Show HN guidelines."

July 9, 2014

Betting on the Ponies: non-Unicorn Investing - Reaction Wheel

"Even with the worst-case scenarios weighted in, my expected value IRR is much, much higher than would have been available to me in other investments, and top-quintile of venture over the same period. And not because I’m some super-genius but because I haven’t tried to emulate what venture firms have to do to win, I’ve played my own game. In that sense, it’s definitely working."

Cheat Sheet for User Feedback Surveys

"This multi-part blog post reviews various feedback collection methods, outlining pros, cons, and best practices."

Encourage Your Employees to Talk About Other Job Offers - Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh - Harvard Business Review

'the “Right of First Conversation” (ROFC). If an employee decides she wants to explore other career options, she commits to talking with her current manager first, so that the company, if it so desires, has the opportunity to define a more appealing job or role.'

Hacker News, Techcrunch and Product Hunt: which is most effective to launch your product? | Front

"Last week, we launched Front after 7 months of beta. To make it really official, we managed to be featured on 3 different channels: Hacker News, TechCrunch andProduct Hunt. A week has passed now and we took the time to analyze how each channels worked for us. And we want to share the results with you."

Lionel Messi Is Impossible | FiveThirtyEight

Awesome analysis of football (soccer) player performance data, focusing on Lionel Messi's incredible statistics.

Confessions of a startup: all our numbers, insights, everything — Looking forward, a blog by Lookback

"today we're sharing it all, in a transparent way. How we got our investment, all our growth numbers, customers, finances, our mistakes and insights"

Winner of Bitcoin Auction, Tim Draper, Plans to Expand Currency’s Use -

"through a partnership with the Bitcoin exchange start-up Vaurum, Mr. Draper intends to make the coins available for use in emerging markets"

The Coinbase Blog — The Future of Bitcoin Storage: Wallets + Vaults

"The Vault is a second account type designed for storing large amounts of bitcoin with higher security on Coinbase."

Happy software developers solve problems better: psychological measurements in empirical software engineering [PeerJ]

"We report a study with 42 participants to investigate the relationship between the affective states, creativity, and analytical problem-solving skills of software developers. The results offer support for the claim that happy developers are indeed better problem solvers in terms of their analytical abilities."

Sick of Ruby, dynamic typing, side effects, and basically object-oriented programming - Abe Voelker

Author expresses in detail his frustration with dynamic typed languages, TDD, OO, and suggests Haskell as a possible improvement.

GitHub · Build software better, together.

"So we created diffscuss--a code review format based on unified diffs, with editor support for threaded inline comments, basic review management and git integration, and (best of all) support for jumping right from a comment to the local source it addresses, without ever leaving the comfort of Emacs (or, because Hut 8's own Matt Papi is a Vimmortal, Vim)."

BitAuth, for Decentralized Authentication | The BitPay Blog

"BitAuth is a way to do secure, passwordless authentication using the same elliptic-curve cryptography as Bitcoin."

Learning Vim in 2014: Vim as Language

"Vim doesn't speak English, but it has a language of its own, built out of composable commands, that is much more efficient than the simple movement and editing commands you'll find in other editors."

Making code better with reviews | CloudFlare Blog

CloudFlare team cites a specific example where they benefited from doing code reviews.

TDD, where did ‘I’ go wrong | Frank Code

"I recently watched a talk by from NDC 2013 titled ‘TDD, where did it all go wrong‘, and it has completely changed how I look at unit testing. This post looks at how I got it so wrong, and the benefits of following Ian’s approach."

Social Login Buttons Aren’t Worth It | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog

The MailChimp team argues for ditching social login and improving email login error handling/messaging.

Investor Updates - Aaron's Blog

YC Partner gives advice on investor updates.

Field Study — What Really Happens When a Company is Acquired

"What really happens in an acquisition is individual, personal, and mostly below the surface. It starts with all the excitement and speculation you would expect, but then that goes away and you are left with a rewarding but complex mix of emotions and expectations, and those carry on long after."

July 7, 2014

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Marc Andreessen

"My primary task with this blog post has been assembling the quotations and placing them in an order which flows well, since understanding the earlier topics helps the reader understand ideas which come later in the list"

July 6, 2014

Goals Are For Losers

"Instead of goals, have a system. A system is something you can do everyday to increase your chance of success. By using a system, you won't feel bad for not meeting your goal, but rather feel good about doing exactly what you intended to do."

Reduce integration test time by 94% by using Ramdisk

"The solution we came up was to run the embedded Cassandra using a 1GB Ramdisk. We simply changed the embedded cassandra.yaml data directories to point to the newly mounted Ramdisk."

Why use www? | www. is not deprecated

"You should use www because today you have a small web site, and tomorrow you want a big web site. Really big."

July 5, 2014

The Dark Corners of Your UI

"I challenge you to take a fresh look at the following pages/flows in your product: New user on-boarding. Empty states (particularly for new users). Password and email resets. Email confirmation prompts. Emails you’re sending. User Settings. Closing an account."

July 4, 2014

An Awk Primer/Awk Overview - Wikibooks, open books for an open world

"Awk has two faces: it is a utility for performing simple text-processing tasks, and it is a programming language for performing complex text-processing tasks."

July 3, 2014

Cognitive Biases in Software Engineering

"Human logic, unlike that of the machines which we program and use every day, isn't perfect. We make mistakes, we establish bad mental habits, and we have many cognitive biases that negatively impact our ability to be successful engineers. I want to go over five of the most common biases that I see on a regular basis as a software engineer."

What Every Frontend Developer Should Know About Webpage Rendering — Frontend Babel

"Today I'd like to focus on the subject of web page rendering and why it is important in web development. A lot of articles are available covering the subject, but the information is scattered and somehow fragmented. To wrap my head around the subject, for example, I had to study a lot of sources. That's why I decided I should write this article. I believe the article will be useful for beginners as well as for more advanced developers who want to refresh and structure what they already know."

July 2, 2014

The Best Code Documentation 'Tool' Ever Made

"The Best Code Documentation ‘Tool’ is: Private methods. It doesn’t get anymore simple than that."

Twitter Founder Reveals Secret Formula for Getting Rich Online | Business | WIRED

"find something that’s tried and true — and to do it better." “Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.”

Why Venture Capital is So Much More Compelling Now

"This year an associate from Upfront Ventures – Glenn Poppe – helped me pull together more information about how our industry is changing. I hope to publish that deck and a full write up in the next 10 days in partnership with Dan Primack at Fortune (if my write up doesn’t suck, I guess ;-)) Having worked through the data with Glenn I am even more optimistic about venture capital than I was even a year ago. Here is a preview of what we found & what we will publish:"