It doesn't, that's just your fan club talking. It looks like a run-of-the-mill WordPress theme.
What you just said translates into "Design doesn't really matter." There is a difference between doing minimum needed not to scare away customers, and refining the design to appeal to both existing and future audiences. Latter is the case of why design matters, former is not. Former is just the same common business sense that dictates to not be rude to your customers or not use green on red text.
It's not hostility, it's stating the obvious. patio11 as well as few other HN high-karmers get their most trivial comments routinely up voted to the top of every thread. It is reasonable to assume that this happens because a large number of people take triviality as revelations or insight because it comes from a person they really like. That's fanboyism. May not be the most neutral term, but it captures the essence of the problem - the lack of critical thinking. The comment about the website design (the one I took an issue with) had the exact same problem - if one removes the positive bias, the website looks bland at best.
With regards to being an anonymous jerk - I like my privacy, but should it have been an in-person conversation I would've said the same thing and probably then some.
This is correct. I have a relatively high karma score on HN. When I post, I usually go to the top of the thread in either the #1 or #2 spot. This is an example of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, not some secret plan to up vote the Patrick.
There's two kinds of design: 1) visual design that's about aesthetics. 2) UX design which is how well something works.
A usable site that is a bit ugly will win over a great looking one that confuses the user. Craigslist is the best example of this, it doesn't look great, but millions of people use it. Foursquare wasn't as pretty as Gowalla, but it won because it was a better game - becoming mayor was more engaging than dropping teddy bears.
BCC was well designed in that it delivered exactly what people were looking for. Sure, it may convert better if it looked better, but it was successful nonetheless. But the whole point is that Patrick has learned that visual design also matters, which is why appointment reminder looks better.