I kind of concur. I am egotistical enough to maintain a list of people who I know to be unquestionably smarter than me. Patrick is one of the few names on that list.
I think Patrick is a Woz and he needs to find his Jobs. Patrick can optimise and refine to an almost incomprehensible degree. I think largely as a consequence of the precision and detail of this mindset, he lacks the grandiosity to attack a really big, difficult problem. Without Jobs, Woz would probably still be designing calculators for HP - beautiful, legendary calculators, with circuits that get used as engineering case studies, but calculators all the same.
If you're reading this Patrick, I hope you don't take this as an insult, I intend it as the opposite - I consider you to be a world-class thinker and hope you end up working on problems befitting that.
Think of everything that went before as a training exercise.
> I think Patrick is a Woz and he needs to find his Jobs.
I would rather see it the opposite way, Patricks business skills and insights far outpace his technical capacity to implement at this point in time, I would not dream of presuming who he should work with but if that person had him do a/b testing or coding that would be an utter waste of talent.
$30k. That's less than a self-employed plumber. That's far less than a doctor or a pharmacist (5 years training).
While we can all read Patrick's writings and think 'hey that's pretty good', all it means is that he's a good writer.
He's a good writer, but a terrible businessman, he has the business sense of a dead ferret.
Clear evidence of dead ferret like business skills:
1. He builds BCC in 1 week then spends 5 years gradually improving it instead of just building more products.
2. It took him 5 years to make another product.
3. He entered an extremely small niche and then instead of building another product he spent 5 years attacking that niche.
4. He'll gleefully take a 10% increase in sales in 6 months for a product he built in 1 week, not realizing that perhaps, just perhaps, he should spend another week BUILDING ANOTHER PRODUCT.
Yeah, they're all the damn same point. The point is that the internet's exploded in the last 4/5 years (whenever he started). It's exploded and 50% of his growth can be put down to just that. The internet growing. The rest of it was largely wasted time if you look at it from a business perspective. He was an SEO expert and totally failed to capitalize on it when it would have been worth millions. He spotted and knows how great small web apps do years ago and yet only just gave up his day job. He missed so many massive first mover advantages reading his blog is like watching a slow motion car crash.
That's why, when reading his stuff I get so angry. I can see it, plain as day on my face. He's done it, he can do it so much better, so much bigger, and yet there he is, tweaking his blog posts, A/B testing BCC, his crutch.
This guy's no business genius, he's totally clueless at business. 10 seconds looking at his tiny market vs. his potential reward for entering ANY other market would make him realize he should make another gad-damn product. He's got the experience, he's done it before! What's he afraid of? He missed every single web opportunity that's been going.
Worse he even knows, knows, that if he switched his product to a subscription based thing he'd probably be rolling in it. And he hasn't even tried. He's even letting people still use the desktop client. Why? WHY?
Because he's NOT got the business skills.
I'm not saying I'm better, in many, many ways I'm a lot worse. I can't get my first product out the door yet and I've not got some crazy salary. But to call Patrick's first skill business is to do a great disservice to all those people who were in the same position he was 5 years ago and are now millionaires or multimillionaires while he's small time apart from some kudos on hacker news and Spolsky's forums.
I am so glad he's finally making another product. I really wish him well. But he let so many pitches sail by it makes me angry just thinking about it.
Patrick picked a niche product to hone his skills in, he had to pick something that was complex enough that he would see the whole story, yet simple enough - and not critical enough - that if his day job demanded it that he could ignore it for a bit.
That rules out B2B, which is where the money is when you're a one man show.
So, now he's got his hands free, he's got his knives sharpened and he's going to do his next project, presumably at a higher level of turnover.
Some people are cautious other people are much more of a risk taking nature. I can fully sympathize with the way Patrick went about this and I would definitely not assume that this was all one big accident, it seems to me as though it was by design. He simply tried to find a way to turn his idle time in to passive income enough to get his hands free.
Running a business is about being in control, about not letting your business run you in to corners that you can not back out of, and Patrick has - as far as I can detect - succeeded admirably in his goals so far.
I have absolutely no doubt that he will do it again, I really hope that this time he'll hit one out of the park.
> I'm not saying I'm better, in many, many ways I'm a lot worse. I can't get my first product out the door yet and I've not got some crazy salary. But to call Patrick's first skill business is to do a great disservice to all those people who were in the same position he was 5 years ago and are now millionaires or multimillionaires while he's small time apart from some kudos on hacker news and Spolsky's forums.
Let's look at that 5 years from now, ok? Some people are slow but steady, some people are fast but go down as fast as they go up. Patrick has tried very hard to take the lottery element out of how he runs his business and that alone should tell you something.
Good points, but I think design is a strong word. I think it's a natural consequence of his character rather than a planned strategy.
I think Patrick loves writing, he loves writing about his business and he loves helping other people, making informed and reasonable comments. I imagine, and hope, he has had a lot of fun the last few years doing what he did and in the end it made him money too.
It's just that he could have made so much more, vast amounts more, if he'd taken a bit of risk. And every time I see him talk about business or strategy or anything that idea is screaming at the back of my mind and I judge him harsher than I should.
> It's just that he could have made so much more, vast amounts more, if he'd taken a bit of risk.
Someone down the street where I used to live won the lottery, it was just a bit of risk. I'll never win the lottery because I'm not that kind of person.
Instead I very slowly year by year move forward. Invariably when I do take risks I either lose big time or I move forward a bit, on the whole that seems to work out to a slight net positive but it hasn't been a real game changer for me.
Patrick seems to prefer 'monotonic upwards' instead of 'rollercoaster', and that's his privilege.
He might have made so much more, or he could have lost it all, who is there to know for sure.
This is the most offensive thing I've ever read on Hacker News. Seriously - you're not just talking about another person, you're talking about one person in a fairly small community who will read this !!!!
I think there are quite a few people that are outright jealous of Patrick, I can't explain some of the votes in this thread in any other way.
If you can't concede the business acumen of someone that manages to go from employment to being self supporting in such a short time without any outside help or financing then you're very much out of tune.
It depends how well the site would run now, if he stopped working on it today. If it would run for another 5 years with comparable profits, that would be a lot more than a plumber could make without doing any work.
Agreed. Not to argue with his accomplishments, but none of his actual coding has been legendary. Sure, he wrote a bingo card creator and a library that has a decent amount of use, but we're not talking Linus Torvalds here. Business wise, though, he's got a gift, no question.