Launch of BTPwatch

June 19, 2013


As a graduate student in life science and also an avid fan of biotechnology, I often feel frustrated as I see lots of successful technology start-up stories compared to the relatively mundane biotech start-ups. People pay attention to apps, mobiles, computers, but don't care too much about healthcare, new drug and other innovations that are related to people's health. There are also plenty of tech media, blogs to cover every little aspects of google, apple and all the other technology companies. Biotech media is on the other hand rare.


I started to think about what I can do to improve the situation. Then I thought about Hacker News. Hacker News is founded by Paul Graham as part of Y combinator. It has since become a community for startup guys and hackers alike. For the history of Hacker news here is an interesting article. So I said to myself, why not make a website similar to Hacker News but specifically target biotech or pharmaceutical community? The result is BTPwatch.

The idea of BTPwatch is similar to Hacker News: to bring together people in the bio-related industry and form a community to share news and discussion.

At first, I was looking to build this website using Wordpress. It turns out to be pretty hard to incorporate voting and ranking function into Wordpress. Later, I got an advise from Hacker news about an open source project Telescope, which has the exact feature I am looking for. So based on this project, I was able to build BTPwatch and add some more features.

Future plan

The plan for BTPwatch is simple: keep it useful and relevant. BTPwatch now has all the features I want it to have, but that doesn't necessarily mean other people would agree with me and jump in to use it.

I will keep the website up for as long as I can, and see if there is a broader recognition as time goes by. Even there is only a small group of people who feel like using it, that's still the value of BTPwatch.