This trend needs to change. There's too many guys out there running Wordpress blogs on shared hosting plans and/or making Android (or iPhone) apps, just to call it a 'start-up'...my Facebook friends list is full of these guys, calling themselves with ridiculously random titles like CEO/Founder/Co-Founder/MD of <insert-wordpress-blog_or_mobile_app_here>
Back in the days, a start-up was something different, something the society looked down, you know...a real challenge (which is why the society looked down). Today, the scenario is like as if its cool to run a Start-up (and fail).
X: "Hey dude, I run a startup..howz about you?"
Y: "Cool story bro..I runz one too..wanna be my co-founder?"
X: "sure thing bro...right away"
[now X can call himself a 'Serial Entrepreneur' because he sabotaged his old start-up for a new one]
I think the position is that having users is necessary but not sufficient for being a startup. NTS doesn't apply here, since no one is changing the definition of startup to exclude a counterexample; they simply disagree with it a priori.
I couldn't see any concrete distinction between the "bros" in his hypothetical and many things HNers would consider a "real" startup.
Maybe he was also attacking the very lean startup people who only have an email collecting landing page, a funny or inflated title and a blog filled with lessons for entrepreneurs when they come from a geek subculture and you are correct. It seemed more like a perfect NTS because of the "bro" references. Reading it again, I could see either interpretation being correct.
> Today, the scenario is like as if its cool to run a Start-up (and fail).
I think it is great that startups are cool. We need more entrepreneurs, not less. Most people don't have a clue what they are doing with their first company (I sure as hell didn't). Fail, and you won't make the same mistakes again the second time around.