These are the trending ideas among tech's biggest influencers – Business Insider

Artificial IntelligenceFabrizio Bensch/ Reuters

Y Combinator, one of best-known Silicon Valley accelerators, has
an impressive track record of success. With well-timed
investments in Dropbox, Stripe, and Airbnb, the startups in the
company’s portfolio are now worth an aggregate of $600 billion in
market capitalization.

While Y Combinator has made a clear impact on the tech sector,
the company also launched an internal side project in 2007 that
would end up becoming highly influential in a different and
surprising way.

Its user-powered news aggregator called Hacker News,
which is now visited by 20 million people per month, has become a
mainstay for entrepreneurs, tech professionals, and venture
capitalists around the world. Using a Reddit-like interface,
users can upvote and downvote articles that they think have the
most relevance to trends and issues affecting the tech sector.


Today’s charts come to us from Variance Explained, and they help to paint a
picture of what topics have been trending on Hacker News over the
last 3.5 years.

Using data from over 1 million subject lines, we can see which
topics are being mentioned with increasing frequency by the
site’s community of technology influencers.

trending up hacker newsVisual

As you can see, words like “AI”, “artificial”, “bot”, “deep”,
“neural”, and “learning” are key terms that have growing interest
within the community. It shows that the buzz around AI and deep
learning is widespread and happening on multiple fronts.

Donald Trump was also a hot topic of debate in Hacker News, as
evidenced by the increase in mentions.


Here are some of the words in the community used with decreasing
frequency over the same 3.5 year timeframe:

trending down hacker newsVisual

Over time, as the rubber hits the road, we get to see which ideas
have staying power.

Google Glass, as cool as it was, ended up not directly
revolutionizing how we use augmented reality. Likewise, Edward
Snowden’s revelations about the NSA and surveillance seemed to
have also dropped out of discussion.

On the flipside, some of these concepts also seem to have
transitioned to the mainstream. Bitcoin and other altcoins, for
example, are now more popular than ever before with a market
capitalization of over $100 billion. Likewise, iPads, Gmail, and
Kickstarter are pretty ubiquitous, but it could be argued that
discussion on these topics is now pretty staid for the
idea-hungry folks that frequent Hacker News.


It’s also interesting to see the contrasting popularity of two
related terms among Hacker News participants.

Bitcoin-related talk, at least on Hacker News, was hot in
late-2013 after the price skyrocketed for the first time. The
blockchain, on the other hand, took some time to pick up steam
among influencers.

bitcoin blockchainVisual

Fast-forward to today, and the concept of the blockchain is much
more fleshed out.

It took time, but the blockchain is now considered to be a
foundational technology that is affecting everything from how
how stock markets work, to the proof of
ownership for digital assets.

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