Dan Hough

I can't keep up!

Published 31 October 2012 in London, UK

A year and a half ago, I discovered Hacker News. I was newly 23 and I had just started at Huddle so I was super-mega-excited to be working for a super-mega-cool startup. Somehow I had missed its existence before entirely, possibly because I was living under a rock.

Anyway, I was naturally pretty excited about what I saw. It was a connection to the magical world of Silicon Valley (as far as I could tell at the time, the only important place in the tech world apart from my office - naturally I soon learned this was not true) - a place where everybody rode Segways, drank Amazing Coffee and rode the coolest bikes ever constructed. That, and they were all a bunch of nerds, just like me. A world of tomorrow, where geeks had already inherited the Earth, and were living their utopian dream. My dream.

I saw it as an opportunity to pick up loads of awesome ideas, tips, new technologies, and maybe discover who it was I should or shouldn’t know about if I want to effectively network. Many new links appeared each day with tons of interesting stuff - I assumed that if it made it to the front page of HN, an article or technology must be the The Word or The Next Big Thing, respectively.

It’s just too much. From what I can tell there are about 200 programming languages, which all have about 50 new frameworks every day to do the Same Damned Thing, using 100 different patterns. How is someone supposed to read all of this and have a productive job and work on their side projects without getting distracted going down hundreds of rabbitholes?

I thought that by keeping tabs on the latest stuff coming from the HN frontpage I might find some fantastic technologies to use in my projects, but a lot of the time it’s just noise. And even when it isn’t, and I do see something I’d like to try out or read thoroughly, there’s rarely time to do so because I’m too busy working on stuff that needs to be done now to be distracted.

Furthermore, a lot of the time people are just posting completely random-topic blog posts where they come to some conclusion, which conveniently allows them to segue into a quick little pimping out of their app, startup, or whatever.

I think it’s fantastic. I’ve read a lot of great articles, and found a lot of cool technologies on there, but I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on loads because there’s just too much. I feel like some members of the community must either have absolutely zero life outside of HN, or they just sacrifice productivity completely in favour of reading and responding to stuff.

I could drop everything now and just focus on getting through my HN Reading List/HN Awesome Looking Technologies To Try List - but honestly, I have sh**loads to do on my app before releasing the iPhone client. That, and I need to sleep and get ready for Huddle’s Halloween Party.

My name is Dan, I’m 24 and I’m overwhelmed by the amount of cool stuff out there. I know I’m not alone.

Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.