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Emacs fugue.co

A CEO's guide to Emacs

Josh Stella:

For those who haven’t used Emacs, it’s something you’ll likely hate, but may love. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg machine the size of a house that, at first glance, performs all the functions of a toaster. That hardly sounds like an endorsement, but the key phrase is “at first glance.” Once you grok Emacs, you realize that it’s a thermonuclear toaster that can also serve as the engine for… well, just about anything you want to do with text.

Clément Delangue huggingface.co

Hugging Face raised $100 million for open/collaborative machine learning

Big news from our friends at Hugging Face:

Hugging Face is now the fastest growing community & most used platform for machine learning! With 100,000 pre-trained models & 10,000 datasets hosted on the platform for NLP, computer vision, speech, time-series, biology, reinforcement learning, chemistry and more, the Hugging Face Hub has become the Home of Machine Learning to create, collaborate, and deploy state-of-the-art models.

What will they spend the money on? Good stuff:

Thanks to the new funding, we’ll be doubling down on research, open-source, products and responsible democratization of AI.

Startups supabase.com

Should I open source my company?

Supabase CTO Ant Wilson walks through the pros & cons of open sourcing your startup and why he believes the answer to the question in the headline is (probably) “yes”

Open-sourcing Supabase ended up surprising us in many ways. Many people imagine that maintaining your business in public might be burdensome - but the opposite is true. There are many unexpected upsides that have made building Supabase - the product and the company - easier.

While some of this advice comes from our lens as a Dev Tools or PaaS company, most of it will apply to any software company.

Startups dkb.io

The next Google

DuckDuckGo and Bing are not true alternatives – they’re just worse versions of Google.

The next Google can’t just be an input box that spits out links. We need new thinking to create something much better than what came before.

In the last few years, different groups of people came to the same conclusion, and started working on the next generation of search engines.

For this new generation, privacy is necessary, and invasive ads are not an option. But that’s where the commonalities end. Beyond that, they’ve all taken the idea of a search engine in very different directions.

The post goes on to describe & detail a whole new wave of search engines. I had no idea so many people were working on this problem. Exciting!

Chris Coyier CSS-Tricks

CSS-Tricks is joining DigitalOcean

Chris does a great job answering what will surely be the most common question about this acquisition in his announcement post:

  1. What happens to CSS-Tricks?
  2. Will you still be running CSS-Tricks?
  3. Why now?

The amount of value this team has given to the web world over the years is immeasurable.

I sincerely hope DigitalOcean turns out to be a worthy new steward of this precious resource and the site’s best years are ahead of it. 🤞

Jean Yang future.a16z.com

Building for the 99% Developers

Jean Yang:

Should you move to serverless? Is GraphQL the answer to your API woes? Should you follow the latest DevOps playbook to increase your system reliability? In the world of tech tools, there’s a lot of buzz. But it doesn’t always reflect the daily reality of programmers.

As the founder of a developer tools startup, I’ve talked with hundreds, if not thousands, of software developers over the last few years in the course of routine user research. The common theme in these conversations, even bigger than the need for the product we were building, was an overarching need that is currently underserved: building for real developers, or what I like to call the 99% Developers.

Good stuff to be reminded of. That reminds me: You are not Google/Amazon/LinkedIn.

Awesome Lists github.com

Open source startup alternatives to well-known SaaS products

The criteria for inclusion is as follows:

  1. Its product is strongly based on an open source repo
  2. It has a well-known closed-sourced competitor, solving a similar business problem
  3. It is a private for-profit company, founded in the last 10 years
  4. Its repo has 100+ stars on GitHub

I’m seeing lots of Changelog guests & friends in this awesome list. 😎

Rauno Metsa raumet.com

Marketing is scary for a solo developer

Rauno Metsa:

I’m a developer and I love to write code. I enjoy watching my brain come up with creative solutions for complex problems.

So, I often find myself with a blog post that’s ready to be submitted to Hacker News, or a tweet that’s ready to be sent, but postponing it.

Sound familiar? If so, read the story to learn how he got over it and started benefiting from his new-found confidence.

Startups clickhouse.com

Introducing ClickHouse, Inc.

Alexey Milovidov, announcing the formation of a (VC funded) corporation around ClickHouse, an open source analytics DBMS:

Today I’m happy to announce ClickHouse Inc., the new home of ClickHouse. The development team has moved from Yandex and joined ClickHouse Inc. to continue building the fastest (and the greatest) analytical database management system. The company has received nearly $50M in Series A funding led by Index Ventures and Benchmark with participation by Yandex N.V. and others. I created ClickHouse, Inc. with two co-founders, Yury Izrailevsky and Aaron Katz. I will continue to lead the development of ClickHouse as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Yury will run product and engineering, and Aaron will be CEO.

ClickHouse wasn’t always a business. It also wasn’t always open source.

Making ClickHouse open source was also not an easy decision, but now I see: doing open source is hard, but it is a big win. While it takes a tremendous effort and responsibility to maintain a popular open-source product, for us, the benefits outweigh all the costs. Since we published ClickHouse, it has been deployed in production in thousands of companies across the globe for a wide range of use cases, from agriculture to self-driving cars.

Raj Dutt grafana.com

Grafana Labs is officially a unicorn

Grafana Labs announced a $220 million Series C investment round yesterday at a $3 billion valuation. I had Raj Dutt, CEO of Grafana Labs, on Founders Talk late last year — should I get him back on?

Congrats on the “B” Raj and team.

As with our previous rounds in 2019 and 2020, this funding will enable us to focus on accelerating the development of our open source observability platform and supporting the success of our community and our customers.

Here’s one example of how we’re pushing toward those goals: Earlier this year, we launched an “actually useful,” forever-free tier of Grafana Cloud that provides the industry’s most generous no-cost, fully managed observability stack, with 50GB of Loki logs, 10,000 series of Prometheus metrics, and 3 Grafana dashboard users included. Now, we’re adding 50GB of traces to the free plan, leveraging our Grafana Tempo OSS project, which recently became generally available for production use.

Alex Ellis blog.alexellis.io

Building an open source marketplace for Kubernetes (2 years later)

It’s 22 months since I found myself frustrated with writing boilerplate instructions to install simple, but necessary software in every tutorial I wrote for clients and for my own open source work.

In this article post I’ll walk you through the journey of the past two years from the initial creation, through to growing the community, getting the first sponsored app and what’s next. There will be code snippets, and technical details, but there should be something for everyone as we celebrate the two year anniversary of the project.

Startups github.com

GrowthBook – an open source A/B testing platform

The top 1% of companies spend thousands of hours building their own A/B testing platforms in-house. The other 99% are left paying for expensive 3rd party SaaS tools or hacking together unmaintained open source libraries.

Growth Book gives you the flexibility and power of a fully-featured in-house A/B testing platform without needing to build it yourself.

GrowthBook – an open source A/B testing platform

David Sacks sacks.substack.com

Building out your SaaS org

David Sacks shared frameworks for Series A, B, and C stage SaaS startup orgs, saying they can be “helpful as a starting point.”

You’re the founder of a nicely growing SaaS startup which has just raised a Series A, Series B, or Series C funding round. You need to hire rapidly to seize the opportunity. But how much should you hire, what roles should you hire, and what should the org chart look like when you’re done?

Career revenuecat.com

The case for location-independent salaries

Miguel Carranza from RevenueCat lays out why he and his co-founder decided to provide equal compensation for the same role regardless of location. Here’s the bullet points of their reasoning:

  • The quality of the work is equivalent
  • Immigration can be a challenge
  • Keeping up with the competition
  • It’s simpler
  • It’s part of our company mission

Read his post for the details along with some downsides of this approach.

Productivity typesense.org

The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday

Kishore Nallan:

When I first started working on Typesense six years ago, I set myself a simple rule:

I shall write some code everyday before or after work.

That’s it. No deadlines, no quarterly goals, no milestones.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much I’ve been able to ship over the past 6 years by just following this one rule.

This rule has served me well in my career as well. Showing up consistently and putting in the work pays dividends over the long-term that you just can’t see over the short-term. I’m reminded of the two best times to plant a tree: twenty years ago and today.

Devon Zuegel devonzuegel.com

What are startup cities for?

Devon Zuegel on startup cities:

While the startup cities industry is still small, it is already quite heterogeneous. Each project has its own distinct set of goals, motivations, and scope. However, this diversity isn’t fully captured by the vocabulary we use right now.

To help myself create a mental map of the industry, I’ve grouped these motivations into 5 categories. I’ve also included examples of places that personify each motivation.

She goes on to discuss each of the 5 categories: economic opportunity, competitive governance, lifestyle, community, and technological & social experimentation.

I think it’s interesting how many of these categories also apply to online life. Related: cloud cities?!

Startups tinyacquisitions.com

A place to buy and sell tiny projects worth less than $5k

Sometimes you start a thing and lose interest. Or maybe it brings in some cash, but not what you’d hoped. Rather than let it languish and eventually die, sell your thing on Tiny Acquisitions.

Sometimes you want to start a thing, but don’t have a good idea. Or maybe you’ve tried a few times, but nothing that generated income. Rather than start from scratch with an unproven idea, buy a thing on Tiny Acquisitions.

Stack Overflow wsj.com

Stack Overflow sold to tech giant Prosus for $1.8 billion

I hadn’t heard of Prosus prior to this announcement, so if you’re at all like me, this is for you:

Prosus invests globally across a range of online platforms focused on areas such as food delivery, classifieds and fintech. It also maintains a more than $200 billion holding in Tencent. Prosus’ parent company, Naspers Ltd., acquired the Tencent stake in 2001 for $34 million.

Turning $34 million into $200 billion is quite the feat. They’re a savvy bunch, if nothing else. Joel Spolsky also wrote about the acquisition on his blog, ensuring us that everything is going to be okay:

Prosus is an investment and holding company, which means that the most important part of this announcement is that Stack Overflow will continue to operate independently, with the exact same team in place that has been operating it, according to the exact same plan and the exact same business practices.

I hope he’s right, but color me skeptical. Stack Overflow surely isn’t perfect as is, but it’d be a huge set back to the software world if it were to decline from here.

Stripe Icon Stripe

Guide to managing founder stress

Stripe Atlas has a wide array of guides to running an internet business that are totally open and free for everyone. This guide, written by Dr. Sherry Walling (a clinical psychologist), on “managing founder stress” covers everything from running smart (not just hard), coping with chronic stress, mastering the ups and downs, and a reminder that as a founder you are not alone.

If you like this guide, then you’ll probably be a fan of my podcast Founders Talk too.

Paul Graham paulgraham.com

Crazy new ideas

Paul Graham on preposterous sounding ideas and how easy they are to dismiss:

Most implausible-sounding ideas are in fact bad and could be safely dismissed. But not when they’re proposed by reasonable domain experts. If the person proposing the idea is reasonable, then they know how implausible it sounds. And yet they’re proposing it anyway. That suggests they know something you don’t. And if they have deep domain expertise, that’s probably the source of it.

Such ideas are not merely unsafe to dismiss, but disproportionately likely to be interesting. When the average person proposes an implausible-sounding idea, its implausibility is evidence of their incompetence. But when a reasonable domain expert does it, the situation is reversed. There’s something like an efficient market here: on average the ideas that seem craziest will, if correct, have the biggest effect.

I’m not a big ideas guy. Never have been. Adam is, though. And I freely admit that many of his ideas sound preposterous to me at first. But I’ve learned over the years to hear him out, because he’s usually on to something, even if it’s not fully-formed yet. And it turns out I’m pretty good at taking partially-formed ideas and helping firm them up. This is one of the reasons why we make a good team.

Having new ideas is a lonely business. Only those who’ve tried it know how lonely. These people need your help. And if you help them, you’ll probably learn something in the process.

Raj Dutt grafana.com

Grafana, Loki, and Tempo will be relicensed to AGPLv3

Raj Dutt, CEO and co-founder of Grafana Labs:

Our company has always tried to balance the “value creation” of open source and community with the “value capture” of our monetization strategy. The choice of license is a key pillar of this strategy, and is something that we’ve deliberated on extensively since the company began.

Over the last few years, we’ve watched closely as almost every at-scale open source company that we admire (such as Elastic, Redis Labs, MongoDB, Timescale, Cockroach Labs, and many others) has evolved their license regime. In almost all of these cases, the result has been a move to a non-OSI-approved source-available license.

We have spent the first months of 2021 having sometimes contentious but always healthy internal debates over this topic, and today we are announcing a change of our own.

They’re switching to AGPLv3, which is OSI-approved, but like Heather Meeker said on our SSPL/Elastic episode, is often on the DO NOT USE list at large tech firms. Raj continues:

Ensuring we maintain these freedoms for our community is a big priority for us. While AGPL doesn’t “protect” us to the same degree as other licenses (such as the SSPL), we feel that it strikes the right balance. Being open source will always be at the core of who we are, and we believe that adopting AGPLv3 allows our community and users to by and large have the same freedoms that they have enjoyed since our inception.

Read the entire post for more details on what is being re-licensed, what isn’t, and what it all means. They also have a Q&A on their blog answering other common questions and concerns.

Mikael Cho unsplash.com

Unsplash is being acquired by Getty Images

Mikael Cho:

This is not one of those tech acquisitions where the company is bought to be shut down. Unsplash will continue to operate as a standalone brand and division of Getty Images. The entire Unsplash team will be staying and building Unsplash in the direction we have been. The main difference now is we have access to the resources and experience of Getty Images to help accelerate our plans to create the world’s most useful visual asset library.

I’m a huge fan of Unsplash, but I can’t help but be skeptical of how this plays out in the long term. I’ve heard it all so many times before. My fingers are crossed, though. If you haven’t listened to Mikael and Unsplash’s story on Founders Talk, now’s a good time. It was an excellent conversation.

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