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So you "just need a hacker", huh? (subwindow.com)
75 points by carpal on March 25, 2008 | hide | past | favorite | 102 comments

This would be better if the half that consists of mere insults was replaced with some ideas. There's a lot more you could say about this phenomenon, like why it happens, and what the solution might be.

Once again the top story is an embarrassment to News.YC. And unfortunately it is mostly the recently arrived users who voted it up. Maybe it's inevitable that I'll have to turn on some form of vote weighting.

The link itself maybe an embarrassment, but the discussions surrounding it on YC are somewhat less emotional and pretty interesting; and they do touch upon the reasons why it happens (particularly the thread started by mixmax)

I noticed that too. It's like stone soup. Still, chicken soup would be better.

You could take out the stones after the soup gets going--edit the post to be a self-reference link, rather than an outbound one. That would make it clear that the post is not valued, but the discussion is.

I wonder about the behavior of HN users. Do they vote up an article for the article, or for the discussion taking place?

Sure the (original) article does not deserve to make it to the top of HN, so why is it up there? Is it being up-voted because of the content of the article, or the content of the discussion, or because commenters have posted in a popular article and want their comment seen/possibly up-modded?

The last case is obviously the least desirable, but what about the other two? What should the community be voting on?

I never expected it to get this high. The post was a rant and, as most rants do, turned out to be a bad idea.

I've temporarily replaced the rant with my more complete and restrained thoughts on the subject.

For a quick switch your replacement text seems much better thought out!

The current link asks me to download a binary file when I click it in FF 2.0. Whats up with that?

It had to do with the weird way I switched out the post. It should be fixed now.

Ah, that explains it. I read the article and wondered what everyone was so worked up about. The new version that I read actually is very complimentary on the importance of hackers.

Perhaps new accounts shouldn't be able to vote stories up (only comment, and vote on comments). Through usage, the account would then earn the right to vote -- the hope being that they would have enough time to learn the culture.

Vote weighting is possible, but maybe it's too extreme yet blunt for the problem at hand. Vote weighting would affect all articles, but really there's a specific problem of popular-but-trashy articles that you want to target.

For example, you could add a penalty for negative-rated comments. A trashy article is more likely to cause the sort of argument that gets comments downrated.

Or you could try to classify the comment contents and organization to get a sense of how "argumentative" vs "quality" they are. Bayesian if you want. You could use article contents, too, if you had a scraper.

Either way the ranking algorithm will have to get more complicated as time goes on. Logically you should have more information with more users, so the quality of articles should actually get better. The problem with vote weighting is that by downweighting votes you are discarding this extra information rather than using it more cleverly.

Perhaps keeping tabs on how karma is used.

Are the recently arrived users simply voting up articles yet not adding any comments of their own to explain why they've voted up?

How about this?

If a person votes up an article (which costs a point), a contributing comment by the same person can start out at 2 points instead of 1. You're basically paying back the point taken to vote up an article. This would give more incentive for users to voice their opinion instead of simply voting up (without commenting) as well as now giving others a chance to agree/disagree. If their comments don't really add any value, they'll receive bad karma as normal.

You can also show a flag next to the user id to show whether they voted for this article or not.

This sounds similar to the rules Yahoo Answers has.

What about users who vote up a story so that it is stored in their history? I do it often, i like a story but don't think i have much to add to the conversation, but still want to keep it.

Adding a link to your list of favorites should be functionally separated from the public voting system.

There should also be some way to eliminate the votes of individuals whom you have personally black-listed .

Thus, you could toggle between the public view of the main news page with all votes counted versus the personalized view which takes your preferences into account.

Or you could allow votes from only those you have personally white-listed.

I think the best solution to maintaining the quality of a rapidly growing community/vote driven site is restricting the flow of new users by providing disincentives. Metafilter (for example) has a $5 sign up fee.

Requiring a small karma minimum before allowing users to vote on posts & comments, or submit new posts could work well. This way new users can only influence the community by engaging with it, which would filter out votes from casual users and trolls, while also giving new users a chance to grasp the community norms though participation.

Other approaches like vote-weighting and down-voting ignore the root of the problem, which is dilution of the community and its norms.

so, most of the new users voted up for this story, and the older users contributed the comments in the story...this is interesting about the "quality" of the users, so maybe the weighting that will affect story order, should take in mind user contribution(karma) in comments...

So, maybe comments's karma should be kept as a different record. And there should be comments weighting too, because we wouldn't want new users to game the system with each other and thus game again the weighting system for the story order.

"Quality" could be expressed as "experience" because obviously people adapted in the climate of YC.news who behave the expected way, as you say you expect to happen and thus the problem correct it self. But expecting the situation to correct it self may not be the right way.

Expected way though shouldn't be mean is the correct way, because the community would remain closed instead of being open.

So, because of the problems that arise with a weighting system making it probably not democratic, the most correct way for weighting would be to happen in manual down voting, which should appear only for "experienced users".

Weighting should happen there, so for example if you have 1 experienced user up voting and another one down voting, their vote is eliminated, which positive/negative difference could be used in two ways:

1. added in the current points of the story

2. or a non-linear scale be used that would determine the quality of the story.

what do you think?

You made me feel bad for LOLing at the article. :(

Regardless of his feelings on solutions and causes, it's not like an Internet rant is going to change post-industrial work relations in developed countries. Certainly the people at fault will never read it.

Yeah, simple trust metric would be very nice here. Give more weight to people who vote like you and everything will be ranked as if you did it.

with the considerable amount of traffic that HN can drive to a link/ blog (and such a specific audience) any thought that the "recently arrived users" may be gaming HN?

There has been an increase in spam lately, but there was no sign of that here. I wish...

> I wish...

The elided part is probably the most interesting. Don't let CagedLionGate turn you into a self-censor, pg.

you should check this out http://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=carpal. clearly carpal has some issues other than business guys. imo he needs attention sooo bad that 80% of his posts are somehow about someone attacking a product or a group of people. carpal get a life man and please if you cannot add to our intelligence do not take away from our precious and scarce time. and yes i am a business guy with 0 programming skills and i would never want to work with you even if that meant my startup would never come to life and you were paying me to work on it.

It's hard to find a brilliant hacker. But it's equally hard to find a brilliant marketing guy, a brilliant sales guy or a brilliant CEO.

While I don't disagree with the point of the post I think that many hackers should step back and look at how many great marketing people, CEO's etc. they know. The actual programming part is only a small part of starting a company, but many hackers seem to think it is all they need because hacking something together happens to be the first step to creating a great company.

The key insight is that no great company was made by only one guy. It takes both great hackers, great marketing people, great CEO's and great sales people. Hell, maybe you even need a great janitor...

So start showing some respect for each other instead of haggling over who needs who.

“Founders at Work” is an interesting book because you realize that there is no One Right Way to make a successful startup, not even the Paul Graham way! Some are started by hackers only, others include capable business people who were friends of the founding hackers. Some sold a product from the get go and others just went for eye-share. There are many additional degrees of freedom.

The needs of your startup will vary based on your business model. Smart, motivated people have a way of being useful, regardless of their education.

The Prize by Daniel Yergin is another great book that totally demolished all assumptions I'd had of what a "successful businessperson" looked like. It's a history of the oil industry, and I was riveted by how colorful and different the various major personalities were.

Sure I need a brilliant CEO, brilliant marketing guy, etc, etc. But first I need a great product. I'm going to make that, not the other guys.

You wouldn't start coding something before you'd fleshed out a design, right? So why would you start designing something before you identified the market for it?

Marketing is the social component of design, and you need brilliant marketing before you can create that brilliant product.

Not start coding before you fleshed out the design? Not design until you've identified a market? Sounds like a recipe for never getting anything done. That might be the proper way to tackle things when you have a big upfront costs, but generally for software you can just start coding on things you find useful and interesting. If others are interested, great, you've got a company. If not you just have a useful product and then you can move onto something else.

How can you create a useful product if you haven't identified the use?

luck in combination with the Max Strategy (continually trying different things all the time):

a lot of products did not identify their use before hand, or their real use was discovered accidentally after they were made.

post it notes - started as a failed adhesive. a coworker found that it worked well using it with paper and a gospel hymn book

snood - (a very popular puzzle bobble variant) the programmer made it because he was bored in grad school

linux - started as a hobby by a bored phd candidate

silly putty - a failed rubber substitute designed for WWII use

the list goes on...

I'd agree with that. The one piece of software that I have written that people choose to use (as opposed to being forced to because the code is embedded in the widget they just bought)has got to be the most trivial thing I have ever done - a multicast bridge that I hacked together one afternoon. It has some trace that is very useful for the proprietary multicast protocol that we use.

That stupid bridge, that I wrote because I needed it one day, is now in regular use in three different companies (mine plus two parteners). I get support emails for it to add features or fix bugs about once a month.

If you find it useful, chances are that others will find it useful too.

That said, I think that the Y-Combinator crowd should probably pay more attention to resolving non-programming needs. Most programming tasks already have good tools these days, because if a programmer sees a need, she can code it herself straight away, and programming tasks have lots of programmers identifying programming needs.

For example, I put together a stupid little app a few weeks ago that took a pdf document from Paris Town Hall that lists the addresses of all handcapped parking spaces in Paris. The app reads the list, sends the addresses to yahoo maps to get the long/lat, and then puts the results in a .gpx file for loading into gs devices. Yet another dumb app, but I've had more than 200 downloads of that .gpx file in only a couple of weeks. It's popular because there are apparently few programmers trying to solve problems in the handicapped problem space.

Perhaps better stated that a lot of products did not identify their eventual use beforehand. For your list the seed product had some utility:

* adhesive gives rise to postit * rubber alternative gives rise to silly putty * pedagogic device gives rise to game, kernel

"the seed product had some utility"

for some of the seed products their makers intended for them to have utility, but they didn't - that's why they were initial failures...

Make it useful to yourself. Solve one of your own problems. Chances are others have the same problem as you.

I would say you don't need brilliant marketing before you can make a product. Brilliant marketing can maximize the money you make off an idea, but you can make a great product with a small market. 37signals is a great example. They build products for them, since they know what they want.

Of course, this doesn't work in a lot of situations. People who don't know how to write software need software too. To start a startup though, all you need is an idea that some people might think is ok. If it really is good, marketing and business will come later, after you've developed the product.

I think that 37signals is the wrong example to pick here, they are where they are because of great marketing. There are loads of sites that do ajaxified to-do lists, a good hacker could probably code up their ta-da lists in a weekend. The reason they are popular is because they have attitide and great marketing skill. Just look at the number of submissions to YC news from their blog.

And no ROR has nothing to do with this - you could implement their site in Cobol if you wanted to and the average customer wouldn't know the difference.

I agree that a lot of their success has to do with great marketing, and I've never said that marketing isn't important. I believe, however, that 37Signals did very little market research when they started. They made products and then figured out how to get users, not the other way around. Now they're successful and can use that success to grow even faster.

You bootstrap with great products, not great marketing.

You just might want to make sure you have some people interested in buying your "great product" too.


If a product is good and investors are convinced it has a market, they'll invest. Otherwise I'll need to move on to something more compelling. That's no reason not to try. Insisting on an identified market before starting on something would eradicate a whole lot of University research.


Because a great product is not the same thing as a great company. Investors don't invest in a good product, they invest in great people. Look at any VC or angel webpage and you'll see what I mean. Here is a quote from YC: "The people in your group are what matter most to us"

And btw. University research is for finding out how the world works, business is about making money. There is a big difference between the two.

Investors don't invest in a good product, they invest in great people

How are they quantifying great people if they are new? School? GPA? Fraternity? What is this VC metric based upon?

How can you not judge a founder based upon the product of their efforts if it is not good?

wouldn't it be safe to assume that great people make great products?

Well, great product people make great products. But if they don't have great marketing people nobody will know.

from what I gather you seem to be saying is that great product people aren't as great as great marketers / biz people and that great product ppl/devs can't simultaneously have great marketing and biz skills too

What I'm saying is that we should all try to get along and try to respect each others skills.

That's all :-)

Nothing wrong with that.

>If a product is good and investors are convinced it has a market, they'll invest.

The business world is littered with great products with no markets. And, as dot bomb showed us, investors don't have a clue. My advice would be to arm yourself with market knowledge, and not rely on investors.

>Insisting on an identified market before starting on something would eradicate a whole lot of University research.

That's why a whole lot of University research gets grants from taxpayers - nobody is willing to fork over any dough for most of it.

Seriously, are you trolling?

traditionally the hackers have been the most undervalued in the whole equation.

Yes they have, probably because hackers are the only ones in the equation who don't need to be good at selling, bullshitting and staking out territory.

Hackers should try and become better at selling themselves and knowing their worth. This, however, is an art - selling yourself well is a very subtle and hard thing to get right. Underdo it and you won't get results. Overdo it and you'll sound like a pretentious asshole.

Philip Greenspun wrote convincingly about how programmers are under valued because they fail to treat programming as a proper profession. They don't dress and otherwise present themselves professionally. They fail to interface professionally with customers and analysts as a doctor or lawyer would. Programmers themselves tend to demand a management style that treats them as a cog in the machine, where they are fed detailed requirements and produce output for others to deal with.

The nature of programming work is not so far removed from what a corporate lawyer or financial analyst does. Yet programmers have a much different public image. I think it's fair to say programming attracts certain idiosyncratic personalities that affect the general perception of the work.

On the same theme as the grandparent post, don't undervalue the soft touch. There are people who bring to the table little more than that they're nice and likeable. I've seen such people in analyst roles responsible for retaining or creating substantial business.

This concept of professionalism depends very much on who you ask. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, the duo behind Peopleware, might suggest that the problem isn't with the behavior of the programmers, but rather with the definition of a proper professional, and by extension the proper profession. I also think your claim of what programmers want is hasty; my experience, albeit somewhat limited, suggests that there are programmers who fill any spot on the scale between autonomy and cog.

For that matter, here's a link to the essay by Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/ancient-history/professionalism-....

From what I gathered from the article, you're misrepresenting him. His qualifications are much more about giving back to the community and actually giving a damn that it is about aesthetics. Perhaps I didn't find the essay you're referencing?

Finally, I don't think you're metaphor using the corporate lawyer or financial analyst is accurate. The corporate lawyer, especially, has far more public exposure than does a programmer, and maintains his image as much or more for the company's sake than his own.

Different piece. The one I'm referring to focuses specifically on his experiences with employing programmers at arsdigita.

"The nature of programming work is not so far removed from what a corporate lawyer or financial analyst does. Yet programmers have a much different public image"

Unfortunately I think this also has to do with the way Western culture views the foundation of programming (math, science, ...). Unlike in say Asia, math and science are looked down upon by main stream culture; since they are considered "nerdy". Maybe that's why we are on our way to producing a lot more lawyers than programmers and engineers (at least for our part of the world)...

Very true - my experience is that "the soft touch" that you so eloquently call it is far more important than people generally think.

If people care about what they are doing and come to work happy and ready they will produce much better work.

What's more true is that pairwise, no two of these roles really understand each other.

People that understand and appreciate all sides of the equation are worth their weight in gold - unfortunately they are also very hard to find.

Current US hiring practices don't help. Job descriptions are well specified and exactly followed. That can be good, but it means you get what you ask for instead of something great but unknown.

Over here in the UK I see a little more flexibility in hiring good people and (finding somewhere to put them|letting them work out what to do).

Like everything it has good and bad points, not the least of which is that you really only need so many people who can do everything.

I wonder which is really harder, becoming a good enough coder, or becoming a good enough $specialty.

Computers are, lets face it, logical things. How much programming skill do you _really_ need to build a prototype? The ability to logically think through a problem, the ability to decompose it into small enough chunks, and then to make those chunks work. Sure, it won't be pretty or elegant or scale if you suck at data structures and algorithms, but it doesn't _need_ to be pretty and elegant to get through the prototype stage. Heck some major sites are ugly, inelegant, and scale like a man climbing a wet glass wall.

Fortunately computers are viewed as 'super hard' (genuine quote) by the general population... for now. If that changes, by virtue of people being introduced to start-simple-get-complex coding (eg excel macros, flash) or easier creation tools being developed, geeks who bang out simple web apps could be much less competitive as startup founders.

That's not to say they won't be valued - someone will need to clean up the huge pile of steaming junk thrown out by Dreamweaver 6. And there will still be genuinely hard problems to solve... which is one reason why I'm basing my startup on a problem set that requires efficient graph coloring and traversal :)

Great point. Your comment reminds me of a story we had here about a week ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=136087

I liked this rant, immature as it might be.

Just about every month, some business student will come to me and say they've got some "amazing idea" and just need someone to do the work of implementing it.

Before I even hear their idea, I do a simple mental calculation.

First, I have to see their skills at least exceed mine in the same areas. For instance, I'm a competent but mediocre designer and marketer in addition to being a programmer. They better at least match that and have actually worked on (and finished!) some project that they started themselves.

The person needs to be as competent in their supposed field as I am in mine. The value that people who are good at selling and networking bring is incalculable, I'd kill for a co-founder that could bring that. But they have to be as crazy and devoted to it as I am towards my coding, or else it just can't work.

Maybe that's why I suck at finding people to work with. :(

Send them to an outsourcing site. Tell them you'll offer a competitive rate. Most of these guys won't think of spending a dollar.

I wouldn't work for rates "competitive" with those at eLance or Rent-A-Coder. I've done projects through those sites, and despite explicitly stating, "Don't bother with lowball offers--we're looking for good work, not low prices. We are developers, and we will be judging your experience and code harshly." I still got bids of 150 bucks for a project that I would have billed a weeks worth of hours for. They, of course, would do a horrible job, and not even worth that much...but you shouldn't try to compete on price with those folks.

In theory, but we're talking about guys who think that you love programming so much that you'll just work for some of their worthless equity.

True. Asking any amount is probably enough to weed out the folks who think hackers are inter-changeable and completely devoid of business ideas or acumen. Of course, you can also just say, "No thanks, I'm working on my own idea for the time being. Best of luck to you, though." That's what I do.

My strategy has always entertained me because the guys I've known were so thrilled about their rediculous "world changing" idea that they were crushed to find that hardly any outsourcers were even interested:)

Yours will work well enough, but I also like to test to see if anyone is actually determined enough to go through all this trouble and carry out their plan anyway. Serious entrepreneurs are very few in this part of the country...

What a lot of people miss that the hacker is actually the starting capital of the company.

If you have an idea, and can't programm you can:

1. Pay lots of money to hire programmers, or outsource your work, which needs money, i.e. capital.

2. Find good programmers to work for your company, that are willing to do it with little pay, or only equity.

If you have money, you can buy the programmers, but if you have no capital to start off, no matter how brilliant your idea is, it will go nowhere, and remain nothing more than a day dream.

See people value what they know, and for businness types they would like to think that "ideas" are worth more, and that programmers are just little disposable things that they can just hire anywhere.

As we have seen, the most successful companies are being started by hackers, and not businness types.

This sounds just like a zed shaw rant, in fact I think he says the exact same thing in some article. For the most part this is usually true (although abrupt), it is often hard to break it to people that their 'awesome idea' really isn't worth anything.

Pretty much any solid rant sounds like a Zed Shaw rant.

Lots of people are Jacks of All Trades, but masters of none. Take, for example, the Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen movie franchise. Everybody had skills and roles to play. It wasn't possible for one person to be in all places all the time, nor was it possible for a single person to perform each job.

This blogger...lots of attitude, but doesn't sound like a team player. Attitude will take you only so far.

Yeah. It also wasn't possible to knock out all of the power in Las Vegas with an EMP bomb, to lift a mansion covertly with a 12-man team in one night, or to "hack" into a casino's "security system" by clipping little tiny things to a few network cables.

That's because those were movies.

I heard a Hollywood producer reference Ocean's Eleven in the same way. Moviemaking requires a ton of skills spread out over a large number of specialists. So what if the author has a business degree. Does he have mad business skills?

Is Hacker News the new slashdot or what? How come this entry made it to the top of the page? And a note for Erik Peterson: some future day when you discover that you need some help for something you don't quite understand fully, you might regret having written that blog entry.

Someone (aswanson?) posted a question I thought was really good, and was replying to with the following. But when I hit "Add Comment", it seemed the post was deleted in the meantime. I'm going to put my reply up anyway 'cause I spent 5 minutes writing it :)

The question was: how did the situation get this way, with creative and knowledgeable people being told what to do by often clueless managers and MBAs, who have no particular expertise? It seems irrational and it's not obvious why the world would work this way.

Jerry Weinberg, who was one of the first few computer programmers in the world and later became famous as a writer, was asked this once. He said that the first few generations of programmers (up to 1970 or so) were arrogant towards customers, businesspeople, and managers. Programmers were so scarce, and computing itself so unfamiliar and scary, that programmers expected and were given a kind of godlike deference, which they abused. After a while, customers got angry about the fact that they didn't have a say, were treated like idiots, and given stuff that didn't work very well. Eventually, Weinberg said, this led to a backlash whereby managerial control was imposed on programmers. The effects of this backlash persist today.

I don't claim that this is the only answer to the question, but it sounds like a piece of the puzzle, at least in the software business. The thing about the backlash is that it also failed, leading to the irrational situation the original questioner described.

Perhaps the current generation of entrepreneur hackers can be seen in this context, as programmers who have creative control, but also really care about building what customers want.

As a non-coder who is cursed with a brain that comes up with a constant flow of creative ideas that my fingers can't execute, you've just shattered my world. Screw you. Oh, and do you mind if I borrow some of your old reference manuals, I just decided to learn how to program. ;-)

The problem is this: If Wozniak had the mentality of a 14-year-old with a thing for Marilyn Manson records and huffing glue, he would have said the same thing to Steve Jobs.

Who is upmodding such rubbish? Seriously--

There are two main differences:

1) Apple was a hardware startup. Hardware startups need funding and someone to aggressively sell the product in person to big vendors. Software startups don't usually need that kind of person (unless they're going after the Enterprise cookie).

2) It was in the 70's, and startups were, in general, harder to start than they are now.

I went a bit more in-depth here:


It turns out that Apple is a totally perfect example.

Ah, and a lot of people mention Jobs as a non-hacker, which is simply not true. He was a hacker, but with great businness sense.

"Jobs attended Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California,[9] and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and worked with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee.[12] In 1970, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester,[13] he continued auditing classes at Reed, such as one in calligraphy. "If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts," he said.[14]

In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Wozniak.[15] He took a job as a technician at Atari, a manufacturer of popular video games, with the primary intent of saving money for a spiritual retreat to India. During the 1960s, it had been discovered by phone phreakers (and popularized by John Draper) that a half taped-over toy-whistle included in every box of Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal was able to reproduce the 2600 hertz supervision tone used by the AT&T long distance telephone system. After reading about it and later meeting with John Draper, Jobs and Wozniak went into business briefly in 1974 to build "blue boxes" that allowed illicit free long distance calls."

I can't help but wonder whether this was inspired by the Facebook dev forums.

Commenters here talk as if no successful business was ever started by a sharp businessperson who hired software developers.

Clearly, many such businesses exist.

I know of businesses who look like they were started by businesspeople who hired hackers because the hackers were later ousted (like digg). The businessperson displaced the hacker after the fact. Can you think of any businesses were there where this clearly didn't happen? Can you think you any successful software company started by a businessperson who paid consulting fees to thoughtworks or IBM, set up a booth at a CS department to recruit techies, or paid a headhunter?


Also, Intuit.

And, Wikipedia. And YouTube. Can Dick Costello code? I can't remember (he's a really nice guy, though). No? Feedburner.

Jeff Bezos was a hacker. He didn't call himself one because he also had significant business & financial skills, but he worked as a quant for D.E. Shaw. D.E. Shaw is the Google of hedge funds; anyone there is more than a match for the Ph.Ds at Google. Bezos's degree was in EECS, and his childhood projects would easily have gotten him into YCombinator.

Intuit was cofounded by Tom Proulx, who wrote the first version of Quicken himself. Scott Cook gets most of the credit because of his determination, but without either of them, the company wouldn't exist. It certainly was not an outsourced startup.

Wikipedia I'll grant you. Though the concept of wikis was invented by Ward Cunningham, who certainly was a hacker.

YouTube was started by 3 ex-PayPal employees. Steve Chen and Jawed Karim were certainly hackers, Chad Hurley was more design. They built the initial version themselves.

Hurley was CEO, and received more shares than the other two founders. YouTube was founded with Hurley's money.

We can argue about the other two; I feel like I'll lose Intuit but win Amazon, but who knows. Not worth it. I think my point stands.

this presents a rather binary view of things - either you're a hacker or you're an arrogant MBA.

there are plenty of people who aren't hackers but they certainly understand tech and aren't beef-headed MBA's. mitch kapor and joe kraus never wrote a line of code.

I think the author has a point, but I think hackers are guilty of similar behavior regarding legal and finance expertise, both of which are critically important in keeping and profiting (respectively) from your hacking. I think it's really just pretty self-evident that people will overvalue their own field of knowledge, and consider other fields to be less important/valuable than they actually are.

This sounds as hysterical as if someone told me, "If you don't know Mandarin, don't do any business with/in China!"

Delegation of responsibility is a concept of pivotal importance for any entrepreneur to grasp if they want to go very big. Isn't Richard Branson dyslexic?

Sounds as young as he looks.

My advice: Never pass up a good opportunity.

I sure hope he doesn't need as many lines of code to build something as he needs cuss words to make a point.

Stuff like that makes me wonder if I should start a "Never ever work with that person, no matter what"-list.


the immediate downmods of my original comment of "stubborn" seems to be further testament to the overall quality in capacity for this site lately.

the authors comments are emotionally loaded opinions that are quite frankly, a result of immaturity and frustration.

so my original comment stands:


It was not a great comment, but I'd also like to say that we've had, if not quite a tradition... many of us have encouraged people not to downvote beyond -1 or 0 for comments that are not "really bad" (racist, outright insults, spam, that kind of thing).



I can understand it. While I don't necessarily subscribe to the "ideas are worthless" meme, I definitely don't believe that "hackers" are commodities either.

Probably a valid assessment.

I also think his opinion, while strongly stated, is very valid though.

There a more "good ideas" than people to implement them. Thinking up an idea, writing a business plan, and securing some funding is (IMO and IME) easier that actually putting that good idea into practice and finding all the little edge-cases, never-thought-of-thats, and such along the way.

Well, funding is a different matter. If a beef-headed M.B.A. actually has some funding, they might actually be worth listening to.

However, 99% of the time they don't have funding, they've (at best) got "strong interest from investors" or some such.

I wouldn't get distracted by funding, especially angel funding, which is what you'll typically find at the very early stages.

Beef-headed MBA's went to school with other beef-heads, and might know a few people who know a few people. Scraping up $1M is not terribly difficult when you know a few people. Put another way, one of my favorite quotes is "A fool and his money are soon venture capital".

Ruby book: 30$ - Rails book: 30$ - Never have to work with arrogant hackers again: priceless!

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