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.