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Crush Notifier backlash: if Dan Lowenherz is a crook so is your favorite company (jarinheit.posterous.com)
104 points by jarin on Feb 26, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments



Don't let it get to you, Dan. The day I launched Notifo, I got instant backlash on TC, HN, Quora (back in private beta days; had to beg for invite to defend my honor) and even IM. It caught me off guard, but eventually I noticed it happens to everyone.

New and unique ideas are the hardest to gain traction because nobody understands them yet. Improved executions of existing ideas can gain traction a lot faster. There is hardly one version of anything out there... and if there is, there is something wrong about it.

Haters gonna hate.


It's funny that the haters usually say some combination of "It's not going to work" and "Someone is already doing it".

As Scott Adams put it: "Can the people saying it won't work please talk to the people who say it's already being done? Work it out and get back to me."


> It caught me off guard, but eventually I noticed it happens to everyone.

EXACTLY. What no one ever tells you is that as an entrepreneur one of two things will be true:

1. 100% of people will ignore you

2. OR, some nontrivial fraction of commenters, journalists, bloggers (often 10-20%) will HATE you

It helps a lot to know that this happens to everyone.


One more vote for "everyone gets this", and I do mean everyone. BCC received the following comment on July 17th, 2006:

Am I the only one who is a little annoyed?

Patrick, you spend 8 days, budget $60, spend most of your time blogging about what you did, and you call yourself a MicroISV? It's more like NanoISV to me. A real MicroISV pour a lot more energy and soul into the software they develop.

If somehow, your blog gets popular and what you did is considered a "MicroISV", I will be very sad. There will be no more pride in being a MicroISV and I will stop calling myself that. Spend a few days, a few bucks, to get a few extra bucks is a MicroISV ? Shame on you man! You give those real MicroISV like Bob Walsh and few others a bad name!

I should really get that framed.


I love comments like this, because if you truly believe in yourself (and your product), it will only spur you even more to prove everyone else wrong.


Totally. Do it. Living well is the best revenge and haters are universal, so there's lots of opportunity to get the best revenge ;)

My parents, circa 1999 when I was dropping out of high school to teach myself: "You'll end up working at 7-11!"

(Our income from products this year will be 10x my father's salary from that year.)


What they most likely meant was: "This increases the probability that you may have to support yourself working at 7-11".


Naw. What they REALLY meant was, "We're adult children who are afraid of life, afraid to take risks, and because we don't bother to know who you really are, daughter, we're going to project our brokenness on you and destroy your dreams like other people destroyed ours."


Thanks for sharing, Amy. It's been very educational watching your transition and hearing about your product success. I'm working on a new product and you've been a great motivator! Note to self: Stop using the 7-11 argument with your teenagers.


Thanks Chad, I really appreciate it. I'm just trying to have fun with this, and it's really distressing that these people who don't know me are calling me names, hating on me, etc.

Seems like I need to grow a thicker skin and accept that it comes with the territory. :-/


If you check out the profiles of most of the people who are calling you names, etc., you'll see that they have no history. They are probably sock puppets.


"Pioneers get the arrows; settlers get the land."


"The early bird may get the worm; but the second mouse gets the cheese."


Don't worry about it, Dan.

Here's something I've noticed in the years I've been on HN: Many seem to be so utterly pessimistic about others' ideas, executions, and successes out of what I suspect to be nothing but pure jealousy. Seriously. Take a look at every Rate My Startup thread, every thread about a company being acquired, etc, and you'll find people left and right throwing criticism after unwarranted criticism.

The difference between you and most of the people on the thread about you releasing your new product is this: You're actually creating stuff, and I'm willing to bet that a good 80% of them are not.

If Crush Notifier doesn't work, it seems like you'll quickly jump onto the next thing; so keep pushing, and don't mind the disgruntled, cynical, vain naysayers here on HN or TC, etc.


Assuming that the comments are even real, they show a naive and fundamental lack of understanding of how marketing is a tough skill to master on its own.

Even if you were to be handed the keys to a perfect replica of Facebook, with a whole new brand, it would be anything but trivial to gain traction with it.

Success is above all determined by the execution of the idea as well as its marketing.

Some of the commenters are no doubt annoyed by the fact that the idea was (in their eyes) easy to execute and TC did most of the marketing for them. So I think it comes down to petty jealousy for some.


Success is above all determined by the execution of the idea as well as its marketing.

And even with brilliant execution and a fantastic marketing strategy, most things are still doomed to fail. Luck still plays a brutal and major part - the internet is chock full of successful startups/sites/projects that lingered in obscurity for many months or years without catching on, and then suddenly blew up and started to go viral without any particularly clever action on the part of the founders.

The important thing is to resist the urge to explain success and failure as if they are deterministic when they're really driven by essentially random factors (to be precise: they're not random, but they're so unpredictable and difficult to control that to us they might as well be). The "execution is everything" mantra is true for most types of products, and poor execution can explain failure, but IMO it's far overrated for things that rely on virality. Even if you do absolutely everything right, there's always a significant chance that an inferior me-too ripoff is going to be the one that gets all "your" users.

Which is why it's so much smarter to build things like Breakup/Crush Notifier as weekend projects rather than startups.


Your posting pictures of techcrunch comments. I'd qualify them somewhere between Youtube comments and yahoo answers.


Indeed. Though I find it remarkable that a tech/startup blog has managed to cultivate such a ferociously stupid group of commenters. You expect that on the general internet - YouTube, news sites, TMZ, etc - but even Gizmodo has half-decent comments.

Who benefits from such garbage? I'd love to know if anyone here has experience maintaining loose communities like that. Does light moderation help? I feel like letting the loudmouth morons run free tends to shut out anyone who might want to write something intelligent or useful. A crappy comment section is worse than useless; it actively makes your site look bad.


I think it's too late for moderation there. If you moderate, sometimes with a heavy hand, right from the start, you can build a good community (Making Light, Metafilter) - but once you have a community that isn't good, you essentially have to reboot it entirely by shutting off comments for a while, then starting over with draconian moderation (BoingBoing).

I still don't know how HN happened. I suppose making it a private community to start, then opening up once the culture was established, played a large part, and I know pg does some moderation. But I personally haven't seen much evidence of moderation, so my mental model is a little soft there.


And yet this story is #1 on HN right now. Ugh.


This is why I have a policy of NEVER reading comments on mainstream sites. Almost 100% of the time comments are atrocious, or worse.

Even sites like NYT have morons and it only goes downhill from there.


The backlash just doesn't make any sense. Its just a weekend project getting TechCrunched, and hence getting a lot of traffic. The fact that there were similar services existing beforehand, is really irrelevant.

Sometimes the internet looks like a really strange place.


I think people are mostly upset because he got coverage on Techcrunch and, IMHO, that idea isn't Techcrunch-worthy (whatever that means).


Haha, I feel for Techcrunch. No matter what they write, seems like the vocal majority deems is TC-unworthy


I really think it's time for TechCrunch to turn comments off.


the comments are definitely adding to my complete disinterest in TechCrunch in general (especially post AOL acquisition) re: quality (though the comments were typically always abhorrent).

Quality discussion of articles is many times (like ycombinator) more relevant, salient and informative.


So maybe the 'vocal majority' is not TC-worthy?


If they are upset about him being covered on Techcrunch, then what will they say when they find out the story has been on radio (Z100) and TV (CBS2) in New York? Whatever sequence of events got this guy so much publicity, all you can do is wish him well, and keep doing what you are doing. I don't think the process is repeatable.


There are zillions of crush apps already. It is a nice idea, but to accuse anybody who implements it of stealing the idea is ridiculous.


If people read Dan's blog post http://blog.crushnotifier.com, they'd realize what a good and down to earth guy this his. Honestly, I think he's an inspiration to put oneself out there and give your projects a shot. It's one thing to not like a product. It's totally another to bash and write hateful comments like those on TC. That doesn't encourage other young entrepreneurs to take risks and try products out, which could be a horrible side effect. The best will always rise above it as I think Dan is doing.


It's like TechCrunch has been infected with Winklevi.


Glad someone already said everything I wanted to write on the TC threads... just another reason I like HN so much better than TC...


Sour grapes, plain and simple. Nobody should get upset over an app that literally took two days to build.


Worse than bad press is when no one's talking about it. Even if it's bad, people talking about it means people care enough to do so!

engadget once called something I did outright 'crappy' right in the title of the article. guess who was making sales? that's right, this guy :)


It's not he who has an idea first that wins, it's he that executes it best.


There is no bad PR.


I think it's a bit arbitrary and ridiculous that Dan is getting the kind of attention he is for these projects given all the other products out there - but that's the way mob mentality and yellow journalism a la Tech Crunch work, so good for him for exploiting that.

Most entrepreneurs would kill for this kind of attention to their weekend projects. Now everything he does is inherently newsworthy because he's "the creator of Breakup Notifier."

The lesson here is - do something controversial and make a name for yourself. Notoriety is far better than obscurity for an entrepreneur.


"The lesson here is - do something controversial and make a name for yourself. Notoriety is far better than obscurity for an entrepreneur."

This lesson isn't anything new, it's been around since Diogenes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope


No ill will vs Dan, but this is not like Steve Jobs taking an academic project from Xerox and integrating it into his system. This is like Steve Jobs joining Xerox and presenting the same system to the Xerox manager under a different title.

There's nothing different btwn this and Zynga's cloneVille tactics which all other game companies universally hate.




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