Nanobash
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August 23, 2015

Why the change?

The original idea for Nanobash was to essentially create a better, more intuitive, more specialized Reddit. I implemented several features which should have in theory accomplished the goal, but there was a big struggle in getting anyone to actually use the platform. There was a huge chicken/egg problem and even when I curated content from other places instead of solving the content problem it caused the site to feel less personal and harder to get involved since if you did comment it would be nearly impossible to get responded to since content was moving too quickly.


The New Direction

After realizing growing a community from scratch was probably going to be extremely difficult due to the fact that hacker news already served as a sufficient platform for what I was trying to create. For Nanobash to work and grow I need to create technologies for communities which currently aren't able to thrive due to the limitations of other community sites such as reddit. As I thought about this I realized that there weren't any communities which I was an active member of that really needed this, but I know there are several communities out than and I still know that IF people switched over Nanobash it would be much more user friendly for both new and old users due to all the improvements I've already made.


The Solution

Instead of trying to become active in existing communities and create a grass-roots rise for a specific category then expanding, I believe it makes a lot more sense to let other people take advantage of the platform I've created and grow their own grass roots communities while I develop specific features common among all the communities helping them grow. Since I now should theoretically only have to do the technical part of Nanobash while others focus on the community aspect I have decided to offer an ad share program where Nano owners can earn money based on the amount of traffic they bring to their Nano.


The Branding

I've decided to look bigger than limiting each Nano to be a very simple focused community. Instead I want to treat each individual Nano like it's own startup where non-technical people can create a startup without any technical skills required. I will be dedicated to growing out the biggest most successful Nano's while still offering the added features to everyone using the platform. It doesn't make sense for 10 people who are developing similar sites to spend large amounts of time coding extremely similar or identical features in a non-optimal way. If all this code could just be written once and used by anyone creating a startup it would make the barrier to entry increasingly easier for people interested in entrepreneurship.


Why Startups?

There are other sites such as Weebly which focus on allowing people to create their own websites. I've also seen websites designed to let people create websites for their own personal businesses. Neither of these are the goal for Nanobash. Nanobash is meant to be a place where entrepreneurs can create tech-businesses without the need for technical skills. Nano's are meant to be startups which can grow to the site of other top websites on the internet such as reddit, pinterest, buzzfeed, new york times, etc... Instead of simple life-style business I want people creating Nanos to be focused on starting million-dollar businesses that could potentially get VC funding, be acquired, etc... Not every Nano will achieve this level of success and will probably make just a moderate amount of ad revenue, a high level of success should be the goal for users of the platform.


What's next

Next up will be an increased focus on getting Founders/Nano creators to start using the platform. Currently the only community-type functioning properly is the text-community type, but in the coming days I intend on completing the remaining features that need to be coded as well as fixing bugs found throughout the site. A few more days of development are needed then the focus will shift completely to growth and the needs of the individual Nano creators. The future looks exciting.

Reviewing YC Fellowship Application Videos

This post was going to be a random review of YC Fellowship Application videos found via searching on Youtube, but instead it lead to an interesting discovery in how I believe the process of selecting applicants really works. (Note, this post is theory, it has not been proven)


Seedly
Video Link

These two guys are doing everything right, impressive current job titles. Connecting two specific entities in a marketplace . Aggregates produce companies for companies to purchase and streamline the process. The one small issue is that their idea is awful and there’s not actually a need for their product, but this is what YC talks about when they are looking for good founders that don’t necessarily have a good idea.

(Real Reason: These guys fit the “startup” mold created by silicon valley)


Screelo
Video Link

The biggest problem here is there really isn’t any need for the idea. There’s not currently a gap between people using facebook for their personal lives and linkedin for their professional ones. Unlike the previous application where it’s clear the founders know the industry and are solid technical founders, there’s no proof that the people behind this team can pivot and be successful.

(Real Reason: Meh founders, No real market need)

Savvy Society
Video Link

Possibly the best application video I have seen out of all the ones I have searched through. The founders are attacking a very interesting market and are passionate about solving this particular problem. The biggest problem for these founders is going to be how they’re going to break into their market. While their approach to the accessory industry is unique, it’s still extremely overcrowded. As long as they gave detailed strategies on how they intend to go to market I assume this team has a good chance at receiving an interview.

(Real Reason: Passionate & Close enough to “startup” mold)

Sports Tap
Video Link

This app doesn’t have any chance of receiving funding. There are lots of companies which try to somehow improve the bar scene and the vast majority don’t go anywhere. This approach isn’t ideal due to the fact that it requires a lot of extra effort from the bartenders and offers very little benefit to them. The team behind this also doesn’t show off any strong technical skills and the video and just see the problem from a user perspective instead of a business one.

(Real Reason: They sound like two young kids with no proof behind them)

FitFlo
Video Link

The idea is decent and the team behind it appears to be okay, but it doesn’t have anything particular that stands out that proves they will be successful. This is something that might see moderate success, but it won’t go on to be a huge company with rapid growth that YC is looking to fund.

(Real Reason: Average doesn’t cut it)

CampusCribz
Video Link

This guy wouldn’t have been accepted previously if he didn’t already have a proven product and he will now be rejected due to the fact that he has a proven product and it’s too far in for YCF.

(Real Reason: Solo Founder, No Technical Proof)

Tanto
Video Link

After getting to this point in writing the article it’s become very clear what YC is looking for in these videos and what qualities they believe is important in founders. This team is not going to be accepted, but there’s not going to be anything wrong with their application, they have a team that has a real problem and a solution that can solve it. The potential market is huge and there’s nothing inherently wrong about the founders.

So why does Seedly have a decent chance of getting a grant while Tanto has none despite the fact that Tanto is actually a decent idea? Let’s first get a transcript of each of the videos:

Seedly:
My name is Matt and I work at amazon as an SDE2
My name is Kyung and I work at workday as an application developer
We’re cofounding a company called Seedly where we’re trying to bridge the gap between restaurants and produce companies by making a webservice where restaurants can discover, rate, and buy from produce companies in a more streamlined fashion.
Customers need to know where the food comes from and I believe Seedly will provide the transaction and the transparency between the producers and food buyers
So this is a big problem because there are thousands of produce companies and there’s nothing there to aggregate them there all in one place. Seedly is going to be that place to aggregate them where restaurants can discover more easily these produce companies and where these produce companies can streamline their sales process. So we hope to see you guys in California


Tanto:
I’m Andy, Cofounder and CEO of Tanto
I’m (Didn’t Hear), Cofounder and CTO of Tanto
Hi, I’m Emily, the COO
Tanto is an online marketplace matching businesses with highly skilled local talent looking for short term work
We have all been contractors at some point relying on the flawed methods of job boards, our personal networks, and recruiters to find work
Existing free-mass market places like (can’t understand) are not suitable because the focus is on more workers and lower prices
We know that the only way to win at this long term is making the lives of contractors as easy as possible
We’ll do this by automating things like invoicing, marketing, payment processing, by giving them a great single place to be found, kind of like an (can’t understand) store but for person skills and services
Companies are already spending 300 billion a year on contractors, market opportunity here is huge


The ideas aren’t terribly different, Seedly wants to make a marketplace for producers and companies while Tanto wants to make a marketplace for contractors and companies. Tanto has experience from the contractor side while it doesn’t appear Seedly has much experience with either side. The market for Tanto seems fairly substantial while the market for Seedly seems moderately sized.

Based from the ideas alone it seems that Tanto should be miles ahead, but that probably isn’t the case in the eyes of YC.

The founders of Seedly lead with their current impressive job titles which gives them instant credibility, the vocabulary used and the tone in which they speak shows that they are completely integrated in the current culture that is “Silicon Valley”. The decision to fund a company will be decided within the first 10 seconds a video, the remaining 50 seconds is merely a formality to give the judges a legitimate reason to either give or refuse funding to a company instead of helping aid that decision.

Imagine if both teams had made the exact opposite pitch, the two guys would have still been picked and the three others would be ignored all the same.

After watching these video’s it’s clear that the important factor probably isn’t your idea, or your progress, or anything of the like. It’s likely dependent on whether you can point to a top tier school / job and if you fit the "startup" mold.

This seems totally outrageous, but they might not be wrong with their selection criteria. Despite the fact that the Seedly guys have a lackluster idea compared to the Tanto guys I definitely still would choose to fund them if I had the choice. They will still be the ones that iterate and fail fast; Not to mention potential investors will be way more likely to follow suit and help them grow/pivot into a real company or help them find a nice acquisition offer.

If you’re serious about getting into YCF or even the normal YC program, don’t fret about every last little detail of your idea. Those details may be important for your business but they aren't likely to affect your chance of getting accepted at YC. Instead, Focus on making yourself fit the startup mold without breaking character… ever….
July 25, 2015

A whole new look

The redesign has now been more or less completed, I'm working out a few bugs, but the overall look and feel of the site has been overhauled with a new fresh look. I think the current look will be here to stay for awhile as any improvements will likely be incremental rather than requiring everything to be torn up and re-done. Looks like I've finished about a day ahead of schedule as well!


Why the change?

After starting Nanobash I have been visiting new websites and startups increasingly often. While I believe the old look of Nanobash still exceeded many of them, I feel like a couple manage to take web design to a new level. With this redesign I looked to put Nanobash on par with the best of the best in terms of design and usability.


What's next?

Specifically I intend to start working on making some specific sub-sections of the website to cater to certain communities that are in need of specialized features. I will of course be doing bug fixes and might implement a few more small features such as private messages or leader-boards for users. Everything is set up to make Nanobash a success, now all that's needed is to get people on it.


To the future!
July 23, 2015

The Start

I have decided to overhaul the entire site. I realize that I have been too stuck in the mindset of other content aggregators that have come before without realizing the true potential of a new a system. With that said I will be working hard trying to get everything functioning as soon as possible. I expect the process to take around 3 days to fully complete.


The Plan

I will be redesigning the entire site with modern web design principles. A lot of what currently exists on the site looks dated and would be more standard about 5 years ago. I will be attempting to make a desktop version separate from the mobile version of the site. The mobile version will function very similarly to how the site currently functions. However, the desktop version will be heavily based on making everything usable without ever having to change pages.


The Future

Nanobash will be continuously worked on with features being added daily to make the site as awesome as possible.

See everyone in about 3 days

The Idea

After the YC Fellowship was announced yesterday on hacker news I got excited about the new idea YC was trying and decided to apply. I thought it might be an interesting experiment if everyone could post their applications in the same place and get them reviewed by one another. The idea stemmed from the fact that with Nanobash I could customize and build a community exactly catered to that need to exemplify the utility of Nanobash.


The Results

Unfortunately the idea does not seem to have taken off. When the deadline approaches for applications I will attempt another post to see if I gain any interest. I still believe it would be beneficial for anyone who is planning on applying.


The Future

I'll keep up the application page up until the deadline of the application after which I remove it as a visible section of the website. I will however re-use parts of the code for future plans that I have for the site.
July 20, 2015
We have just finished coding the official Nanobash blog. We will use this blog to post interesting information about the website as well as updates about the current development of Nanobash.

July 20, 2015

Hey everyone, welcome to Nanobash!

Here are a few links to get started:

About Us
Content Policy
FAQ


What is Nanobash?

Nanobash is a place to post anything from images, to news articles, to text posts. The idea is that through our rating system, the best and most interesting content will rise to the top. Each post has a comments section in which users can discuss and talk about the particular post.


Philosophy

1. First and foremost our plan is to listen closely to our users and make all decision based on your needs.
2. We made this site with the intention of creating a place for high quality discussion. We intend on using our rating system and content policy to ensure our users will see the best posts!


How it works

1. Create an account with the sign up button at the top right of your screen
2. Confirm your email address with the link provided in your email
3. Log In and click the New Post button at the top of your screen
4. Post any type of interesting content that follows our Content Policy
5. Let people rate it in the "Basher"
6. If the average rating is high enough it will be promoted to the new and hot categories to be seen by all!


What will make this site unique?

We currently have a lot of features planned after we nail down the bugs. Here's a little taste of what you have to look forward to!

1. Sub categories for different interests
2. Discovery tool for organizing communities you are apart of (Easy to find new active communities you are interested in and organize the content in a way that’s easy for you to digest)
3. Unique features for communities with different needs (Polls, Layout, Chat Rooms, Etc…)
4. Rankings that let active users show off their contribution to the site and their communities


Bugs

We are a brand new site so you're bound to run into a decent amount of bugs. Please report them here so we can fix them ASAP!

1. Error Messages don't display properly


More Information to Come!