Software industry VS “Real world” industry

I was just reading this article about opening a restaurant in Portland, found on Hacker News. Then, this comment happened: I’ve changed it a bit, but it’s almost untouched. Credits at the end.

It’s amazing how much better we Software folks have it when it comes to starting a business.

The profit margins for a single-player SaaS business (like many, out there, check this) can be somewhere around 90%.

And the interesting thing about that isn’t even the number. It’s that SaaS is so profitable that you don’t even have to calculate your margins.

To an order-of magnitude, every dollar a customer pays for the service can be considered profit. Real Businesses, like restaurants, shops, etc… have expensive office or retail space. We have “wherever we happen to be living at the moment” when it comes to software development.

Real Businesses have employee salaries. We have an industry where a single person can plausibly run every aspect of the business from writing the code to marketing to racking servers to high-touch Enterprise sales.

That single “employee” can have his “salary” set to (Total Profit) / 1.

Real Businesses have equipment and other recurring costs. We have those too, but they’re tiny compared to other types of business. Like, single-digit-thousands per year tiny. All in, for servers, software, dev hardware, etc.

It’s almost unfair, how Software wins in pretty much every category against pretty much everything else.

From an Hacker News comment.


The luxury of having secrets

It’s 2017. You barely have any secret anymore. But what’s a secret? Let’s see a definition of the term “secret”:

Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.

According to the Oxford Dictionary.

If you think of it, you can’t really find a secret which is not known in some way by Google, Facebook or other big corporations.

Let’s make an example. Continue reading “The luxury of having secrets”

Why programmers should try online poker

Recently I found a new hobby: online texas hold’em. I’m not spending big money on it (I mostly play free tournaments in an italian poker room and a free online game on my iPhone) but I’m finding poker very relaxing and I also find some similarities between online poker and programming, plus something more…

Poker teaches you to be a better programmer…

There’s always someone better than you
You can be the best coder among your friends and colleagues, but you’re not for sure the best developer around. The same happens in poker: you can be the best player in your friends pool, but you’re not the best player in the world.

Remember to code, code, code, exercise and study, try and fail. This is the only way to improve yourself and prove you are the best.

Math is useful
I see a lot of people around telling “I don’t need math”. In poker (and in programming) you need a lot of math, even for simple operations. Maybe you already know that, but pick five minutes to test (and improve) your math skills. You can find some tests and exercises here.

Be fast and precise
In online poker you can’t think hours for your next move. If you are a programmer you should be fast-thinking and precise. Fast and no errors. Simple, isn’t it?

Apply lateral thinking to approach your problem
Sometimes the best solution is just around the corner. Be creative!

If you want to try poker there are a lot of free poker games on Facebook, iPhone, etc… Don’t waste your money. The fun is the same.

Online gaming is an hobby, but it could easily ruin your life. If you have problems with gaming & gambling visit this site.

How to get rid of old programming books

Old programming books… Our house is filled with them.

In “Kindle’s times” now maybe you have an electronic copy of those books (an many other) on your fav. ebook reader / tablet.

What can you do with those old programming books? Well, if you don’t have any particular reason to keep them and make them cover in dust, you can sell them on eBay or on a classifieds website (but you won’t get more than a few bucks for them) or donate them to the local public library.

Every library accept donations, just be aware that:

  • Books must be in good conditions and complete of their CDs /DVDs (if present when you bought them)
  • Library staff can refuse donations if they have too many copies of a single title (this happened to me in Italy, don’t know if it’s the same in the US) or if the title it’s not “useful” for them
  • You can also donate CD, DVDs and audiobooks

You’ll end up with lot of free space on your bookshelves and maybe you’ll help someone who’s searching for that book you’re not opening since 2005

The new MacBook Pro – Part Two

I’ve written an article about the new MacBook Pro a while ago.

It’s a couple of months since I changed my 2014 MacBook Pro with a new MacBook Pro. Here’s what I like and what I dislike.

What I like:

  • The new keyboard. The touch&feel is just “right”
  • The screen. Amazing, as usual.
  • The USB-C thing (more on this, later)

What I don’t like:

  • The touchbar. I never really use it. Because I don’t need it.
  • The USB-C adapter I have to carry on every time I travel.

More on the USB-C. That’s the future, for sure. But as usual Apple, predates everyone else by forcing people to “migrate”, everyone else is still not ready. I have to carry with me many cables in order to be “retro-compatible”.

That’s for sure an issue that will be solved in the future.


Looking for a tech cofounder? Look no more!

It’s 2017. I keep reading (in Italy more than anywhere else) about people looking for a tech co-founder that will help them develop their idea.

Look no more people!

No, I’m not trying to teach you the latest trick for finding a tech cofounder. I‘m simply telling you to stop looking around for tech cofounders.


Why? Let’s keep it real, from a developer point of view.

  1. Do you want me to work on your ideas for free? I already have mine to work on for free, no thanks.
  2. Ok, you want to pay me. With shares in your company. If you’re Google that might look interesting. Otherwise shares of something valued 0, guess what, are worth zero. Go back to step 1.
  3. Doing business with someone is like getting married. Would you marry a complete stranger met on the Internet or at a startup event? No. Probably it will happen someday if you really like each other a lot and after many years of deep knowledge.

But wait. There’s a way to make people work on (and love, if you’re really lucky) your idea:


It’s really that simple.