TJ Murphy


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How Hacker News Saved My Startup

I’m co-founder of a startup called MinoMonsters, we make an iOS game by the same name. We went through YCombinator in the Winter 2011 batch. On December 18th, the eve of our big launch, I nearly fucked everything up. This is the story of what happened.

MinoMonsters is a monster battling game. Think of it as Pokémon for the iPhone. As is the case with many apps, our game is internet connected. During the course of play, the app talks to a backed server. The server diligently performs tasks like finding your friends, letting you purchase in-game items, and letting you play with others. When planning our server, we needed a solution that was quick to build, had fast performance, and was light over the wire. We chose to build the server in Ruby with EventMachine and Synchrony speaking in protocol buffers over TCP.

Since our soft launch on December 6th, the server has been chugging...

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The Problem With Malaria

Let’s talk about malaria.

Malaria is the one of the leading causes of death in the world. It’s an important problem to solve. So important that the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has dedicated billions of dollars to the cause.

But we havent fixed it yet. Why not?

As with every disease, It starts with what malaria has evolved to do. The lifecycle of malaria requires both a mosquito and a human. The disease starts inside a female mosquito, jumps to a human host for a while mucking about, and then jumps back to a different mosquito.

Like the common cold, malaria doesn’t instantly kill its host. If malaria killed its host, it wouldn’t last long enough to transmit to the next host. Since it require both a mosquito and a human host, the disease stops working if it isn’t constantly jumping around. This means malaria must be good at least two things: going undetected and keeping its...

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