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This is unbelievable. If the author absolutely can't resist giving patio11 a bunch of advice about how to live his life, then write an email. If the author wants to tell us how super important it is to self-promote and make a lot of money, then don't make an example out of a dude whose mind and motivations are clearly completely fucking opaque to you.



I couldn't agree more. This article was extremely uncomfortable to read; if it was me being written about I would be embarrassed and probably more than a little angry.


I would be like, "Wow, thanks for the advice and the ringing endorsement." The guy is obviously trying to help Patrick out in multiple ways. The author is trying to make him realize how amazing he is and tell as many people as possible how valuable he is.

Personally, I might be a bit uncomfortable while reading it. But sometime down the road I'd look back on it and be very thankful.


As already pointed out, if he was really thinking about Patrick he'd have emailed him the advice rather making a huge blog post about it.


Hey but what a way to raise your own visibility by pushing down on someone else. Tragedy indeed.


Not if you think the advice is worthwhile to others as well. There's no reason to assume shady ulterior motives when there is a perfectly simple explanation: it's just an error of judgement.


Ultimately such a critique implies that the author is an authority figure qualified to give such a critique. It's really hard to see it as anything but self-promotion, especially when done so visibly.


OK, point taken. It might have been more difficult, but it could definitely have been possible to give him a strong endorsement without the rest of the post. Then he could have sent Patrick an email with the rest, indicating that the blog post might be a good reference.


"if he was really thinking about Patrick he'd have emailed him the advice"

Well part of the post was telling the public that Patrick would be a bargain to hire at a $200,000 salary. That specific part works better in a public post.


Somebody offering a $200K salary should better find out himself whether a person is worth that much rather than from a random guy on the internet


I would go even further and say that "The Idiocy and Tragedy of Sebastian Marshall" is that he thinks earnings are some measure of a human being's self worth.


I can't remember whether I've ever felt as embarrassed for someone else as while skimming over sebastian's site (anyone seen that about-page?!).

I still hope this is just parody?


This post is a real gem as well: http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/?p=236


If'd I'd stumbled on that page randomly, I would have thought it was a parody or something. Nobody can possibly be that pompous right?


it very much reminds me of aleksey vayner.

i'd love to read a psychoanalysis of this character type.


I'm not sure it's unbelievable. I'd say it's a mark of Patrick's success at building his personal brand that:

1) His words are watched

2) He inspires conversations and entire, lengthy blog posts

I completely disagree with the author's position and assumptions (as I've detailed in another comment) but this is hardly bad news for Patrick. We're all sitting here debating how much more money he should be making. This submission is the second-most popular story on HN right now.

This is an extraordinary win for Patrick's personal branding efforts, even if it comes with a pretty uncomfortable smell to it. It's unbelievable, inasmuch as Patrick has hacked a non-computer system for personal gain.

Bravo, patio11.


> This is unbelievable. If the author absolutely can't resist giving patio11 a bunch of advice about how to live his life, then write an email.

There was two other things I wanted to do - increase Patrick's profile in a positive way, and also make the point at the very bottom especially to young people in technology who are underpaid because they don't value/price their skills enough.

> If the author wants to tell us how super important it is to self-promote and make a lot of money, then don't make an example out of a dude whose mind and motivations are clearly completely fucking opaque to you.

He was saying he was upset when a public school teacher wanted wanted a discount because the teacher only made $60k - and he said he'd never made $60k.

Anyways, it looks like this has been popular with a lot of people and hopefully helpful, but also drawn some really strong negative reactions. I guess that's okay - ideally some good things comes out of this, I think it's quite possible. We'll see.


For what it's worth, I didn't interpret that as him being upset that he wasn't making more money; I thought he was upset because the teachers are treating him like some amorphous business-entity instead of a normal, hard-working guy who deserves what they're paying him.

Beyond the fact that I consider it extremely rude to write something like this about a private person without permission, I am strongly negative about this piece because it reinforces the bizarre idea that making money is somehow a really good and important value to have. If you have a particular passion that requires a lot of money, like running a huge business, or helping a ton of people through charity, then great -- make some money and do it! But most things that humans like don't require a lot of money!

Imagine I wrote this post:

The Genius and Tragedy of Sebastian

Sebastian is a multi-faceted genius. He’s amazingly talented, I can’t even explain how talented he is. But all is not rosy... His story thus far is a story of tragedy and wasted potential. I assumed he was a successful chessplayer. He's very smart, and has a good memory. Then I read this comment Sebastian wrote earlier today:

"I like chess, but I wish my dad would stop bragging when he beats me (I'm not even a C-class player.)"

WTF? Sebastian, dude, with your focus and brains, you could be an international master. Even if you don't fully appreciate the beauty of chess, your tournament games would entertain hundreds of players online, and help educate and inspire young players. Anyone who says "I don't care about competitive chess" clearly hasn't thought about it very much.

[insert ten pages of chess advice]

I find that to be totally identical to your post about why he should try to make a lot of money.


> Imagine I wrote this post: ... Even if you don't fully appreciate the beauty of chess, your tournament games would entertain hundreds of players online, and help educate and inspire young players. Anyone who says "I don't care about competitive chess" clearly hasn't thought about it very much.

It's a little different than that - there's some smart and accomplished people who read my site, and I was hoping to introduce them and connect them with Patrick, maybe creating some opportunities. If you posted on a Chess blog and told all your readers to go look the person up if they wanted an exceptional Chess student, and I was looking to be apprenticed, then I'd appreciate that.

I don't know how it'll go over, we'll see what Patrick says. If he's displeased or this brings ill on him, I can edit or delete the post as suits him. I wrote it with good intentions, we'll see how it goes.


> It's a little different than that - there's some smart and accomplished people who read my site, and I was hoping to introduce them and connect them with Patrick, maybe creating some opportunities.

I'm sure that if that was your true goal that there would have been better ways of going about it.


There was two other things I wanted to do - increase Patrick's profile in a positive way, and also make the point at the very bottom especially to young people in technology who are underpaid because they don't value/price their skills enough.

The latter you could have done without using patio11's real name.

The former - you are misguided. I accept that you didn't intend it, but the thing reads like "this guy is too dumb to make money from his assets".


There was two other things I wanted to do - increase Patrick's profile in a positive way

Well, way to mess it up. Suppose he wanted to take your advice -- you've just undermined him in any future negotiations.

Negotiating with sharks is not the same as friendly banter with your hacker friends.

Idiotic!


> especially to young people in technology who are underpaid

Young people who have built up a skillset similar to Patrick's are willing to sacrifice 60-120k paying jobs in their early years in favor of going out an learning how to build a company. It takes a lot of trial and error to get it right.

While Patrick may be making less at the beginning of his career, I guarantee he'll be making more than the average bay-area developer once he really begins to nail down how to build profitable companies.


Granting a discount to that particular teacher would have been an even greater insult to any of Patrick's other customers who don't make 60K (and I'm sure there are more than one). I mean come on, anyone who makes 60K should be able to spare $30 on something that makes his/her life easier.


I agree, that post was really stepping over the line. Its disturbing that he wrote it without actually interviewing him or asking permission.


Judging from the votes, the majority of readers feels this post was very inappropriate. What I don't understand is:

- Why it is massively upvoted anyway and

- Why people don't feel that it is equally inappropriate to personally attack the author and accuse him of all kinds of bad intentions, when an honest misjudgement is the more likely explanation.


To add to that, the post seems very personal to me, which is the part I find most distasteful. Yet, there are many many reams of comments here that are further dissecting patio11 on a personal level. It's like people don't seem to realize that patio11 is either reading these posts or soon will and it feels very much like people are speaking good/bad of him behind his back. A lot of this discussion and commentary will be linked to his real name and his future. For better or worse.

It feels like a room full of amateur psychologists diagnosing a person in public.


Judging from the commentary the majority of the commenters think this post was massively inappropriate.

It was massively upvoted because many, many people agree with a lot of the content of the article. If this was lesswrong or reddit, the post might have a negative score, it would certainly be controversial.

Personally attacking the author is okay because

(a) He's not remotely as active, committed or useful a commenter as Patrick.

(b) Obvious self-promotion is taboo among technical people and among their broader cultural peers, nerds, geeks, whatever. Demonstration of talent in the course of something else is the way to go. lsc has some great comments on this, and makes the point that business people are just not like this, at all. Sebastian is much, much more like them in this regard than Patrick.

But many people probably agree with him among the lurkers because not all of his comments on this thread are negative, they're hovering around 1 or 2.

Now personally I too think this was inappropriate, but if he had run it by Patrick, it'd have been fine. It's not like I, and the no doubt many other, habitual patio11 comment stalkers, couldn't have writted this or something like it<1>.

That said, this post probably wrecked Patrick's day. I felt uncomfortable reading it and I'm way less territorial or private than normal. It will probably occasion an Xing of his consulting rate though, which will leave Patrick more time for leisure or working on his own stuff, so distasteful as even I find it, it may in the long run turn out to be a _small_ favour. Maybe it accelerated his consulting trajectory a year. Whether that's worth what was no doubt a punch to the gut I don't know.

<1> also yummyfajitas, lsc, pg, tpatecek, tokenadult, cperciva, RiderOfGiraffes, ErrantX, btilly, moultano and nostrademons


Clearly that article polarizes Hacker News readers. Which is a good sign.


HN is growing and influential - a front page post can drive 10k+ quality eyeballs.

Patio is a public figure here, should unfortunately have some expectation of the glory that comes with pseudo-celeb status for better or for worse given that good comments likely see similar numbers of eyeballs.

For biz guys exposing talent to your network is about the biggest way to give back.

Maybe it's just linkbait for HN, but seems to me like it's written genuinely from the standpoint of exposing a guy that's providing a lot of value to a wider community.


The article is not exactly about advice to patio11, it's more about advice to many other Hacker News readers. Besides, by giving advise the author is getting feedback on his own advise, which is important too. I don't agree with several statements in the article, but I like the article overall.




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