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Hey everyone, I want to apologize for the inappropriate use of power here. While I do believe there is an ethical line that was crossed here, I should have called him to understand his point of view and work it out. Which is what I'll try to do now, and see if we can get his project back up again. I'm sorry Radon.

The lesson for me here is to internalize how I'm no longer the struggling kid from Jordan fighting for more than a decade to build something, and that I now have a responsibility towards our community and supporters to be kind and model better behavior. I'm sorry I let you down and I promise to do better in the future.

I've seen multiple tweets from you the last day regarding this where you definitely showed no regret and simply kept trying to prove you were in the right. Even this response tries to make people feel bad for you and divert empathy away from the person you attacked. And also implies the only reason you are relenting is because it's making the company you represent look bad.

So apologies are good but this seems the weakest sort of apology possible.

He deletes tweets that don’t fit his narrative (that he’s a genius building a product nobody else is capable of building) on the regular, so don’t be surprised if those tweets magically never existed by morning

His reply is after hours upon hours of getting torn apart for doubling, tripling, twenty-times-ing down on his power trip.

And he still believes that some ethical line was crossed.

When in a deadlock play the victim card. What an insincere apology.

“ Hey everyone, I want to apologize for the inappropriate use of power here. While I do believe there is an ethical line that was crossed here, I should have called him to understand his point of view and work it out. Which is what I'll try to do now, and see if we can get his project back up again. I'm sorry Radon. The lesson for me here is to internalize how I'm no longer the struggling kid from Jordan fighting for more than a decade to build something, and that I now have a responsibility towards our community and supporters to be kind and model better behavior. I'm sorry I let you down and I promise to do better in the future.”

Oh my, this is a classic poor response to this. Though you did apologize, which is good. You still are saying the intern is wrong, which isn’t good. This response may cause more issues than it solves.

> You still are saying the intern is wrong, which isn’t good.

That’s a good thing. That’s what happens when you have integrity. There is no reason to change his position on the subject of ex-employees making clones of the product.

> There is no reason to change his position on the subject of ex-employees making clones of the product.

Obviously I completely agree with this in a vacuum, but you seem to imply that that is what happened in this case. It was pretty clear from all the emails posted, assuming they were materially unaltered, that this isn’t what happened here. So your comment seems like a bit of a non sequitur, unless you’re saying that is what happened here?

I don’t see any reason why an ex-employee should expect a happy outcome when they create an open source “clone” of their employer’s product. Personally I have been in this situation as an ex-employee, where I was generally interested in the product field, and I avoided doing that to avoid any appearance of impropriety, and also to some degree, the copyright purity of the project would have been questionable and litigable.

A lot of people are very unclueful about this, especially young people, and maybe Mr. Masad could have had a gentler touch. But for the blogger to have cloned the product or part of it without (pinky swear!) actually taking any IP from the employer, that might in fact be legally true, but it’s a walk across a tightrope.

That you think “copyright purity” is the issue to litigate points out that you’re not very clueful either, I’m afraid. If I quit Google and write a clone search engine using none of their code but all of their technical architecture, in no way does that interact with Google’s copyrights. At all. You can’t copyright an indexing strategy nor a software architecture. You can, however, copyright a Visio diagram of the architecture. That’s a different thing.

This also applies to your nod toward “a novel fair use argument” in a sibling comment. Fair use has absolutely nothing to do with this or any hypothetical like it. You may as well have cited bird law.

Copyright isn’t the blanket IP concept people think would cover most disputes. These types of cases get into trade dress, patent law, and other legal concepts. The fundamental limits of copyright are why software techniques are patented in the first place and one reason among many why you sign assignment when you join a company.

IANAL and my comment is U.S. biased. At least in the U.S., the fixed and tangible aspects of copyright are bite-sized enough to understand without a J.D. Given how murky this entire field is when it comes to IP, it’s extremely important to understand these concepts for even a line engineer, as well.

Clean room design is a whole thing that people do, because of copyright. Maybe they don’t need to do that. If you want to quit the search team at Google and make your own search company, I’m not against that, but you should expect scrutiny like the kind Levandowski had.

Clean room design of software has absolutely nothing to do with copyright because software concepts cannot be copyrighted. I would encourage you to study these legal concepts further before you debate them, because you’re coming off quite uninformed. Copyright has a specific purpose and specific limits. Studying a competitive software product and cloning it (even non clean room) is, again, not a copyright violation unless you’re literally pulling code from the competitive product. Nearly all clean rooms are to avoid patents and specific implementation thereof in the software space. This is different when it comes to other fields, so I get the confusion.

Theft of intellectual property in the case you cited also barely touches copyright. Put another way, copyright status of the property in question is largely immaterial to securing a conviction on the allegation.

No, it is directly to avoid copyright. It doesn’t protect against patents. Trademarks are irrelevant. What other form of IP is there?


Wikipedia is speaking to a broader application of copyright than software. It’s also targeting an international audience, where this varies.

Again, you’re coming off uninformed here and relying on Wikipedia (which doesn’t speak to that context) isn’t really helping.

I’m linking Wikipedia to help you out.

Clean room design doesn’t protect you from patents. That’s not how patents work, simple as that.

To help me out? I’m patiently trying to explain to you that your mental model of copyright and particularly how it interacts with software is fundamentally flawed. I’m handwaving a lot of complexity when I refer to patents (and why clean rooms are important when dealing with implementation) because I’m not discussing patent law with you. I’m specifically responding to you saying “I didn’t clone a prior employer because copyrights.” That’s just factually wrong. Pulling me into “aha, but what about patents?” in a deep thread is extremely tiring.

I know how patents work. I hold 15 and I’ve defended two at trial. I’m tapping out here, since you’re simply competing with me to be less wrong the deeper this goes, and I’ve rapidly run out of patience to have intellectual property law explained to me by someone who doesn’t understand the fundamental purpose nor qualifications of copyright, and thinks it and fair use doctrine has any bearing on “I built a clone of Facebook”.

And here I thought you were the one pulling me into this tangent.

If you have the time later I’d love to hear how you can legally infringe on a patent with clean room design.

While we’re on this tangent, you might want to check out the Zenimax vs. Oculus copyright judgement. Which I think is bullshit, but that’s the sort of thing I was worried about.

Clean room design is about wholesale copying of code. If you copied the APIs and architecture and wrote the code differently there would be nothing wrong as SCOTUS just ruled.

You’re stretching SCOTUS’s ruling about API’s farther than it goes.

Regarding this part of your comment:

> Fair use has absolutely nothing to do with this or any hypothetical like it.

Yes, it does. The commercial effect of the usage is a factor in determining fair use, and that might distinguish a “show and tell” project from a “production-ready” OSS project.

Fair use only applies to copyrighted materials. The parent poster is pointing out (correctly but maybe not written the best way) that it isn’t a copyright issue unless something like code was actually copied, and thus fair use doesn’t apply. Abstract things like ideas, architecture and design don’t have copyright protection.

> The parent poster is pointing out (correctly but maybe not written the best way) that it isn’t a copyright issue unless something like code was actually copied,

And this is in fact false. See https://m.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=191354689554...

That was an expert witness claiming “non literal copying” is a copyright violation, but that doesn’t make it so. As far as I can tell the trial concluded with a finding that someone violated an NDA but no copyright violation. Am I misreading that ?

The trial had a $50 million award for the copyright violation.

I appreciate your diplomacy, but from my POV, GP is definitely trying to suggest the intern's actions were equivalent to founding a competing company, and is interested in defending REPL.it's CEO.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a competing company or open source when it comes to the question of whether IP got stolen, unless you want to make a novel fair use argument.

What IP was stolen? The idea of running code from a web editor? The _button placement_?

There’s nothing here that says he’s stolen code or any IP. The CEO doesn’t even claim that he’s stolen real IP. Everything that’s similar is public knowledge and the burden of proof is to point out what’s been stolen.

Which the CEO could! Because the work was open sourced. So he could reply and say, “hey, you implemented this part in a way that is in code you worked on. It’s also a pretty atypical solution to this problem, so it seems reasonable that you took that from us.”

He doesn’t.

Instead, he gets insecure that a kid implemented a similar product in a couple days and decides to rail on him, then offer a half-apology well after it has blown up.

I don't think he necessarily needed to say that - he can apologize for poor behavior without trying to reassert his moral/ethical stand in every public-facing comment (here, on Twitter).

Taking the analogy of the punch/stab example from one of the cousin comments above, it would be really strange for people to believe that because you apologized for retaliating the original act of getting punched was blameless.

Of course the analogy of physical violence is more explicit, less vague, less nuanced than the context of IP. If he wants to explain/assert his moral/philosophical ideas on IP, then it should be done separately in a more nuanced, detailed manner than what he's been doing all this while, which is acting out in retaliation of a seemingly small threat.

This also shows insecurity/weakness. He could have acted as/been the bigger person but gave up on it on every turn.

Cloning your previous employer's product doesn't seem illegal in California given the limitations on NDAs and very strong limitations on non-competes. Assuming no trade secrets or copyrighted information was used which would be easy to verify in an open source project. Merely having information about a company's internals in your head does not make it illegal to work for or start competitors.

And maybe that’s the answer here. Or maybe the legal and moral boundaries don’t coincide. But the facts of the case haven’t changed, so there’s no reason you’d expect any genuinely held opinion to have changed.

> Hey everyone, I want to apologize for the inappropriate use of power here. I should have called him to understand his point of view and work it out. Which is what I'll try to do now, and see if we can get his project back up again. I'm sorry Radon.

> The lesson for me here is that I now have a responsibility towards our community and supporters to be kind and model better behavior. I'm sorry I let you down and I promise to do better in the future.

Fixed it for ya!

IMHO it's better if we convert it to the strongest form of the argument:

> The lesson for me here is to internalize that even though I'm just an unfrozen caveman lawyer, I still have a responsibility towards our community and supporters to be kind and model better behavior. I'm sorry I let you down and I promise to do better in the future.


The lesson here is to ask people for advice before writing public statements (for one), and before threatening with lawsuits in private communication.

1) You apologize, but basically the other person did something wrong?

2) You invoke sympathy for being a "struggling kid from Jordan fighting for more than a decade to build something" ; so what? So now you're the victim?

Your reaction to all of this is comedy gold. Hire a PR person (who never would have signed off on your comment), do some management/communication courses and start being professional. You're running a business, and you don't look the part. Did anyone in your company screen your comment and say "this is a good response, post it"? I doubt it.

>The lesson here is

The lesson here is never apologize on the internet because that'll be thrown back in your face.

I see what you mean and there's of course some truth to it. He's stuck in a corner and no matter what he does now, some will write if off as insincere. I don't doubt that.

But besides honing communication skills and maybe tune back his ego some (for the future), do you really think the whole situation (including his apology) would not have been vastly improved by consulting with someone knowledgeable in PR?

If you think his apology sounds sincere and is worded appropriately, or his Twitter activity since the fiasco, does (or has done) him any good, then I guess we disagree on this.

Not really. Don't apologize unless you first Google "how to apologize" and are willing to mostly follow the advice you get. The problem is that to follow that advice you need to publicly accept that you were the bad guy unequivocally which many high ego people are not willing to do.

I guess my problem with this (and with the idea of the "right way" to give an apology in general) is, what if you weren't the bad guy unequivocally?

Say someone punches me and out of anger I stab him. I apologize for stabbing him. But I'm not going to say I was the bad guy unequivocally, because I wasn't. He punched me and he punched first. He's at least, like, 10% the bad guy. That doesn't mean my apology for stabbing him is insincere. I regret that part 100%. But it's not wrong for me to say "I still think he shouldn't have punched me" because otherwise it's like I'm admitting to stabbing him for no reason, which isn't true.

I get that one goal of an apology is to make amends to people who have been hurt/offended. Those people understandably want to see the apologizer grovel without hesitation. But humans have both a head and a heart, so shouldn't being accurate in one's apology be an equally important goal?

Not taking a side here either way. Just something I've noticed about the social expectations around apologies in general.

“I apologize for stabbing them.” Period. End of sentence.

Not “I apologize for stabbing them BUT they started it”

The latter is just trying to justify and excuse the bad behavior and save face. A true apology shows remorse and that’s it.

Bingo, apologizing and then going "but <they deserved it / totally provoked me / blah blah blah>" is anything but an apology, it's just a cheap attempt at winning in the court of public opinion: "Yeah I was wrong but I was right, actually" is just a confession with some faux remorse veneer and a rationalization stapled to it.

what if they deny that they started it?

> The latter is just trying to justify and excuse the bad behavior and save face

Ok, but in the example that was given, it does justify it, a little bit.

It doesn't justify it completely, but I would absolutely have more empathy for someone who stabbed someone out of some amount of self defense, than I would for someone who stabbed someone for no reason.

Do you really believe, that in the stabbing example, someone who stabs someone, for literally no reason at all, is exactly the same as someone who did it, in response to being assaulted first?

If your goal is to apologize, you don’t need to justify your actions. That’s what people are criticizing.

So then you agree or disagree, in the specific example, of someone responding in self defense, as opposed to stabbing someone for no reason?

You think these 2 actions are the same, or is it that 1 situation is probably not as bad?

This is not an argument in good faith and you know it. We aren't talking about these hypothetical situations and my opinions on them, we're talking about what makes an apology an apology.

Kindly take your sealioning elsewhere.

> we're talking about what makes an apology an apology.

Ok, and in the situation of the stabbing/assault, you really think it would be unreasonable for someone to point out that they got attacked first?

That does not seem unreasonable. If someone got attacked, and then responded with too much force, it would still be reasonable to point out that someone got attacked first, while also saying that attacking back with too much force was bad.

In the case of someone getting attacked first, it is both OK to point that out, and also say that the response was over the top.

If you disagree then you are basically saying that attacking someone unprovoked is equivalently bad as to attacking someone in response to an attack.

And I am not sure why you don't recognize the importance of also pointing out that an attack was in response to another attack.

That seems pretty important to point out.

It is pretty reasonable to both recognize that something went too far, while also explaining that there was a cause to it, and that it was in response to another attack.

Don't fake apologise with a "he started it", on or off the internet.

It will be thrown back in your face if the apology comes out as insincere. I guess the lesson is to not apologize unless you really mean it.

I don't like this lesson; I rather a shitty attempt at an apology than no apology at all, even if it's obvious this apology would've never came without the attention of this post blowing up.

Especially when you say you are sorry but do not mean it. There's no BUT in an apology but there's a BUT in his apology, sooo...

"Never apologize to a mob."

I think people should have more humility. Yes, he was wrong to be a jerk over email and threaten his former intern. However, apologizing for bad behavior and stating what you will do to correct it is what we should hope people who act inappropriately do. When they do act this way, it's wrong to heap more scorn on them, even if it does feel good.

Have you ever been obnoxious to anyone? How would you hope others would treat your apologies for poor behavior?

By not making a manipulative “apology” that tries to still put the blame on the victim and cast myself as the real victim.

Textbook abusive behavior.

Assume that the intern actually was in the wrong. Should you apologize for your behavior anyway?

I'm not saying that Radon was wrong or Amajad was right, by the way. I'm constructing a hypothetical about how one should respond if they really didn't do something wrong, because an apology seems inappropriate, and this comment seems like it's taking the assumption that Amajad is in the wrong without actually backing up that position.

Yes, the appropriateness Amjad's response does depend on the specifics of the situation and whether his behavior was bad. That is astutely observed.

The classic “I’m sorry you were offended”

You question the sincerity of his apology, then tell him to hire a PR firm.

> You question the sincerity of his apology, then tell him to hire a PR firm.

So? The wording of his apology leaves doubt about its sincerity, which (in addition to the whole ordeal to begin with) lets me believe he would greatly profit from training and advice on matters of communication.

I don't understand what you're trying to imply. That 'PR' automatically seems insincere somehow? Well, better a safely worded statement written by PR than a crude comment that lets your ego shine through, doesn't really remedy the situation and worsens it?

>>That 'PR' automatically seems insincere somehow?

uh, yes? I think that is a pretty reasonable statement. I am not wise on the ways of PR firms but my expectation is that it would involve a lot of some one else using your voice to smooth feathers while you went and were absent for a while. I'm just not seeing a world where hiring a PR firm results in better more sincere apologies. That would make a frankly incredible article though.

PR firms are generally experienced with how to communicate well in public.

The vast majority of people just don't have any experience with public communications. Most people write shit that does not get read by anyone, especially as they develop their skills.

When a person without these skills attempts to communicate matters that require a certain amount of care, they are bound to fuck up. Now, does this mean that they're actually a "bad" person? Maybe. Should they learn how to communicate in ways that don't inflame the situation, but calm it down? Absolutely. Irrespective of what their character or intentions are, being able to communicate effectively is absolutely crucial.

In this case though, my personal opinion is that this person is just a huge jerk. He seems to have raised a lot of money, seen someone do a legitimately better job than what his firm (which raised a lot of money) did, had conflicting feelings, and just wanted to seemingly quash this little person with his new found power. Regardless, a PR firm would have at least been someone he could practice his message with, get feedback on it, maybe that process itself would make him reconsider his actions.

ok, you still haven't addressed how hiring a PR firm interacts with sincerity, especially given how it is literally hiring some one to decide what your messaging is. i don't see the step where only people who just need a little help expressing themselves hire PR firms.

> how hiring a PR firm interacts with sincerity

And importantly (arguably, more importantly), how it interacts with perception of sincerity. I don't know about other people, but to me, if PR is involved, I treat every word as manipulation, unless there's a strong reason to believe otherwise. Maybe there are PR firms that enforce 100% honesty in communication, but if they are, it doesn't seem to be a common occurrence.

And doubly so given the context. Amjad may be a CEO, and the apology is public on HN, but this is still mostly a personal conflict - it would be weird to involve a PR company in a personal dispute.

I guess I'm more interested in him growing as a person. I do understand where you are coming from.

A PR firm that helps him realize what his words come off as might actually help him grow as a person.

The problem isn't that the apology doesn't sound sincere. The problem (but really, the saving grace that leaves room for redemption) is that he doesn't have enough writing skill to conceal his underlying, actual insincerity. Hiring a PR firm would just make things worse - they would just teach him to lie better about his level of sincerity. PR firms don't make money by fixing your character...they make money by hiding your character / by helping you sound credible when you say whatever they advise you to say to protect your business interest, regardless of whether it's true or whether you believe it. Once a PR firm enters the scene almost no one can escape being compromised and corrupted beyond full redemption

Incidentally, I have no opinion on whether he should apologize or who's more in the right. I just think it would be beautiful to see a person in his position be completely honest, disinterested, and forthright

It just seems like addressing the symptom, rather than the cause - that you shouldn't instantly whip out your big $20m legal stick to threaten someone.

Using a PR firm might result in him just having some nice sounding text, instead of understanding the error of his ways and fixing it.

Now that you got some money, you're showing your real self, and it's not pretty.

What did this kid steal from you, by the way?

I remember when repl.it was a black shell that evaluated Java expressions. It was quicker to Google your page and type some Java one liners, than to create a main.java file and use javac. Once you added that ugly online code editor, it was all downhill. Now it's some kind of online coding platform. Gone are the days of that quick and useful repl.

That said, I think behind the 20MM and the shiny designer buttons, the core tech boils down to that same little black shell, which must be why you felt so threatened by a junior dev with too much time on their hands.

And if we are being honest here, 20MM from investors is not that much. I routinely see investments of 500M or more in various startups, so sit down and focus on your core product, before another intern decides to run compilers in a docker instance.

You let investors get into the head of that kid from Jordan long enough to become the litigious villain.

For shame.

Based on your retweet[1], you still seem to be publicly punching down.

[1]: https://twitter.com/pnegahdar/status/1402018604233732098?s=2...

The guy made a whole blog post attacking him. You shouldn’t defend yourself?

Given that he's now un-retweeted it, it looks like even amasad agreed it wasn't a good look.

So is the conversation now split into a preunretweeted half and a postunretweeted half, or is it a retrounretweeting where we act like it never happened?

No? IMHO they should attempt to correct their mistake.

This apology reminds me of TripleByte's CEO first comments to the Hacker News thread from a few months ago, you are still placing blame on the blogger and do not show you are genuinely sorry for screwing up.

No one cares about your "origin story" of spending a decade to create a web shell that isn't very novel.

Wait, so after all that your position is that the intern is still in the wrong?

Of course it is. The apology is intended for damage control to repl.it and his personal reputation, given he has had an hour to digest the winds of HN on both and is clearly concerned by what he sees. Dollars to donuts he remains baffled why such a defense of his reputation and that of his company is even necessary in the first place. You don’t even need to be as cynical as I am to get there. It’s that transparent.

“I guess it’s just because of how I had to be as a struggling kid in Jordan” is the tell. He obviously has no idea why this feedback is happening if that’s his conclusion, so how can he apologize for any of it? He’s still retweeting sympathetic viewpoints on Twitter as we speak, so you can compute the honesty of this apology based on that fact alone.

Read “do better” as “avoid generating compromising receipts wherein I twice trot out lawyers and my ability to pay for them like I’m dramatically unsheathing Anduril, while privately maintaining my view that I’m being ripped off at every turn because someone had the gall to use Docker to build a REPL and I consider that clearly genius architecture to be sensitive intellectual property.” His takeaway going forward is to threaten people in a smarter way, and I’d bet my next paycheck on that.

Honestly, this whole saga is a hell of an invitation to compete against repl.it, in displaying such a severe decision-making and tactical weakness at the executive level.

It's really quite amazing how tone deaf and transparent it is. This submission has resulted in some great content.

Your (non)apology is insincere and it is quite obvious that you don't really mean it. Looking at the latest communications with the intern[1], you are 'giving him permission' which isn't yours to give. And further, you have quoted them out of context. Neither of these actions indicate that you are in any way remorseful, nor do you see what you are doing wrong.

You haven't let _us_ down, you are only harming yourself and your company. I believe what you need is some self reflection, and a PR agent who can handle these situations for you with bland neutral language. Without these you will never do better in the future.

[1] https://intuitiveexplanations.com/assets/replit-email-9.png

Intresting fact from 2011:

"Second, we’re also excited to announce one of the first (of many!) projects that Amjad has worked on with us: Codecademy Labs, the easiest way to play with JavaScript, Ruby, and Python online." (http://www.codecademy.com/resources/blog/amjad-joins-codecad...)


Wow, beautiful find. This should be upvoted more! The hypocrisy is rich.

> I'm no longer the struggling kid from Jordan fighting for more than a decade to build something

Lmao amasad, this shit is priceless. LOL

This is the "never using r-pl-t again" nail for me. I never understood what people meant in online arguments when they accuse others of centering themselves. Now I get it.

I don't find this apology sincere. Especially when you say that you inappropriately use your power. Would that mean that you will still use your power inorder to shutdown Radon's open-source project that he developed just for fun?

You're apologetic now only after this thing blew up on the internet. Mister hyper-inflated ego CEO wouldn't have thought twice about apologising if your ex-intern wouldn't have made the issue public. Get bent, mate and try selling your bullshit somewhere else.

Use that "lot of money" to get top PR instead of "top lawyers", and maybe some "getting head out of ass" classes, cause humility and decency is something clearly you won't be able to learn.

The only ethical line being crossed here is your threat of ruining this kid with legal fees if you don't get your way.

How nice of you to give Radon "permission" to publish his site. You're so generous.

I think the lesson should be not resorting to legal threats over a molehill. You've just needlessly shot yourself in the foot here.

Reading this thread alone would have saved you from mistake of doubling down.

Even though you still were a struggling kid from Jordan that doesn't call for you doing a personal attack on an intern, and treathening with lawyers.

Explain the ethical line that was crossed.

When your investors threaten to pull funding.

Amjad - It took courage to reverse course here and I respect you for doing that.

Replit will be fine... think of the level of effort it takes to create a truly great product and all of the polish your platform already has. The key for you is to just stay focused on innovating and serving your customers!

All the best!


I believe in your apology, and thank you for trying to make things right. Everyone makes mistakes. What's done is done. We can only learn from it.

It's easy to become emotional and protective of a project you've poured blood and tears into, which probably kept you up at nights, amidst all the FUD.

At the end of the day, the world is better with Replit than without it. A world where any kid can learn to program with a dirt cheap device anywhere in the world without dealing with dependency hell is worth fighting for.

A lot of young kids and future builders and innovators look up to you! Please remember to be humble and kind as Replit, snd you, gather more influence.

lol they shouldn’t

What is the ethical line that was crossed? There is no basis for this unless you think that Radon intends to monetize, and then become a direct competitor.

Probably he is just afraid of "cancel culture" and consequences. Otherwise would not apologize.

There was no ethical lines crossed. If you have proof that he copied code from your repo then that is illegal. But if he copied the idea, there's nothing ethically wrong with that. The one who crossed an ethical line is you. You can't protect ideas, only actual code.

What is ethically wrong is bullying a former intern with legal threats. You need to learn this, I guess the hard way.

Not just legal threats, the whole line about being “the most demanding intern we’ve ever had” was an ad hominem attack that was completely out of line. It was cruel, mean, unnecessary, and unprofessional.

Well even if they was "demanding" behaviour (whatever that even means), there would be no real way for the outside to check if it was true, without relying on the statements of persons involved.

This is why such a statement should have been avoided altogether, especially if the other side seemes to be cooperating.

As much unnecessary such statement was, I could understand it if it was a) true, and b) stood alone in the correspondence. But apparently, he said it just after offering the guy a job (in a way that I read as implying he'd offer him a role of a senior engineer or a manager).

Yeah what was up with that?

It was a tell about this guy's personality.

Many people would say it's ethically wrong to copy an idea. In fact, it is common to see people up in arms on HN about it, when the power dynamic is reversed.

Is Google copying your idea ethically really the same as you copying Googles idea?

If they copy your idea they can literally destroy your existence given their resources, size, visibility, infrastructure, etc. If you copy their idea you first have to make many things better than them before even scratching on their turf.

And before anyone says power dynamics are not relevant in ethics: In my philosophy studies I also studied ethics and yes — power dynamics are very relevant for ethics.

> when the power dynamic is reversed.

I mean, yes, that's definitely the case, isn't it? Punching below your weight is seen as unethical, right? The power dynamic is an important aspect of deciding the ethics of actions.

Most people find it ethically wrong to abuse power and a giant company copying an idea is seen as that. So is threatening a kid because you got $20 million in the bank. Ideas are copied all the time and especially by startups.

> it's ethically wrong to copy an idea

Who says this? Certainly we have intellectual property laws to protect novel, recent, and specific ideas. However, “Running code on another machine” doesn’t seem to meet any of those criteria.

You are blurring the lines now though so we end up with a discussion of where the red line is at. Intellectual property laws are national,so if a South Korean company copy the design of the iPhone they aren't breaking any US IP law (as of course you cannot break a US law outside the US as a non-US citizen). So novel, recent, and specific doesn't really matter unless we are lawyers. But it still gets HN'ers up in arms.

Would very many HN'ers get up in arms about someone copying an iphone? It's not like apple needs more profit.

I guess the only reply I can really give you would be my opinion. So here it is: In my opinion most HN'ers would be up in arms if it were, say, a Chinese company doing something that might possibly maybe be kinda a copy of a design. Though I doubt we would see any arms if it were one of the hundreds of situation where Apple have copied features or design elements. So in short: If a big US company does it it's mostly okay on HN but if a Chinese (or Russian) company does the same it is a bad bad no no. In my opinion.

Not a popular opinion on a mostly US site, I know, but as you can likely guess I'm not American (or Chinese or Russian for that matter).

Almost all ideas are copied in some way. Even if an idea is original, not all of it is. Most successful companies aren’t the first one to offer whatever product they’re offering. Everyone is working with what came before them and building on it. Very few things are wholly unique. There is nothing unethical about it in itself.

The problem is when a large company muscles small ones out unfairly (using their clout, money or lawyers to push competition out).

"These hypocrites will have a different response when the situation is different, just watch."

I’m just curious what racist rant you replied to me!!! :P

Have you ever worked with git? It is obvious the intern has the codebase and the commit history and that is why when he published the new project part of the commit history of replit was on the new project, it is 100% obvious he has copied part of it yes.

What are you talking about? You can’t say that without providing proof, the commit history in his post does not show anything of the sort and the original project is gone from github

Is this the best apology that $20M will buy you?

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