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Perhaps You Are Bored Because You Are Boring (bitsandbuzz.com)
113 points by jeremychone on Jan 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments

I am suffering from a severe lack of caring about HN right now so this is not going to be a terribly convincing case, but i feel like i should remark as follows.

(Depressingly) I think Arrington is right. The majority of the links on HN are a good demonstration of how tedious things have gotten.

The real irony is reading a blog post telling Arrington to shut up and do something to fix the problem instead of blogging about it. Seems like we could have just skipped a whole bunch of steps and arguing, and just do interesting things instead.

Instead we're commenting on blog posts (instead of learning/making/doing).

> Instead we're commenting on blog posts (instead of learning/making/doing).

> instead of learning

I don't know about your experiences with HN, but I find it to be one of the most efficient ways to learn about and keep up with the current state of the art, and commenting is a part of that. I usually get at least one good take-away for every four articles or comment threads - an extremely high ratio compared to any other web resource I know about. And for the craft we're in, learning and reasoning is doing.

content wise, HN and r/programming seem to have the same headlines from day to day.(at least the ones that aren't about valley/startup/funding/managerish bs)

HN is unique in that it tends to be more civil than r/programming(and there's more valley/startup/funding/managerish bs). IMO

HN is not more civil. Perhaps less likely to be distracted, but not nicer (if that's what you mean by civil)

likely less distracted, and more civil (in my experience anyway). but it varies by subreddit/topic I guess.

Choose a random article in the top 10 of HN at any given time, and there's a very high chance that the top upvoted comment is either FUD or overly critical. I feel like there is a lot more ego here than in /r/programming.

Believe it or not, some of us aren't on Reddit.

Are these r/ references to Reddit? I had thought it was yet another new quirky unneeded programming language I had intentionally avoided to learn.

yes. reddit.com is a community site made up of sub-communities called subreddits. Subreddits have a path of /r/<community name>.


>I don't know about your experiences with HN, but I find it to be one of the most efficient ways to learn about and keep up with the current state of the art, and commenting is a part of that.

It's been over a month since I've seen an interesting CS/Programming post on HN.

Check the current front page for an example.

I also had a lot of respect for Arrington in the early days of Techcrunch, but one event irreversibly changed my opinion of him. I was attending a Techcrunch event in Hollywood some years ago, either 2006 or 2007 if I remember correctly. I had gone to meet him to get his opinion on my current project. At some point during the event Pete Cashmore showed up and Arrington became livid. He kicked him out and was obviously very upset that Pete would even consider coming. So rather than meet young entrepreneurs he spent the rest of the evening focusing on keeping Cashmore out. It was quite a mess. After that I pretty much stopped reading Arrington's posts, not out of spite, but out of sickness that he could lack so much humanity.

A couple conferences later I actually got to meet Pete and he was very warm and welcoming. He even remembered my business and genuinely asked how its doing. A little humanity goes a long way.

I'm going to need more context here.

The reality is that many small businesses fail. Small businesses like startups are small businesses, regardless of whether they have a mobile app as one of their main products. We can romanticize tech startups like coffee shops[1] but the reality is they both need paying customers or a sustainable source of revenue to survive.

The dream for many of us on HN is to have a profitable, sustainable business. Perhaps, some of the boring ideas that are executed will fail eventually but they will all deliver experience of trying and failing - which you cannot go to school for, blog about without doing.

Giacomo 'Peldi' Guilizzoni started Balsamiq on nights and weekends, and now it's supporting half a dozen families. If that is not a real, tangible definition of a successful business is, I don't know what is.

People other than Peldi have succeeded on their own definition [2] and share this with us and inspire us. That is the beauty of HN, the signal exceeds the noise.

The reality is that it takes an extremely rare individual to start a high-growth enterprise that ends up employing hundreds or thousands of employees. It is a special combination of luck, persistence, experience, risk, social intelligence, force of will, genius, foresight, vision, personality, charisma, luck, possibly connections. The media and community lionize successful startup founders, and I remember hearing once about the guy who invented the little highway reflectors you see embedded in the California roads (his family gets a royalty for every single one...)

[1] "My Coffeehouse Nightmare", http://www.slate.com/id/2132576/

[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3029771

Note: The original title for this HN post was "Dear Michael Arrington, Perhaps You Are Bored Because You Are Boring" but somehow got edited to "Perhaps You Are Bored Because You Are Boring."

If someone can tell me why the original HN title was wrong, that would be greatly appreciated.

No big deal, just curious.

This has been happening a fair amount recently, and it's really annoying. Another example — https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4933472 — was when the HN editor changed the submitted title from "Why I Won't Relocate to Work for Your Startup" to "Why I Love Being A Programmer in Louisville" ... the title of the blog post was, in full, "Why I Love Being A Programmer in Louisville (or, Why I Won't Relocate to Work for Your Startup)", but the part that was relevant to the HN community was the part about not wanting to relocate (not anything in particular about Louisville).

I don't know why people at HN (pg? someone else?) are applying such a heavy hand to the title editing, but it's getting tiring. Perhaps there are good counter-examples, where they've made links more on-point by changing them (I'd be interested to see them if anyone has them), but the posts that stand out in my mind have been made both less relevant and less interesting thanks to editing by someone at HN.

New title is somewhat misleading. Despite being more PC, it generalizes the authors specific point

Yes, and I am sorry, but nothing I can do.

The last thing I wanted to mean was that bored people were boring, as this new title seem to imply. I find this a little insulting, and definitely wrong.

My point was about Michael Arrington only, and referring to this latest post and his "I am bored because of you guys" insinuation.

So, ironically, by removing the "Michael Arrington" the title has become more "uncivil" and disrespectful IMO. I wish it could be reverted back (I will put a foot note in my article to apologize to HN readers)

Agreed, I was expecting something rather different than this pop back-and-forth. I would have known to ignore it if it had been correctly titled.

I imagine it was deemed uncivil. The point gets lost of we starting debating about whether or not we like Michael Arrington as a person.

The point gets lost of we starting debating about whether or not we like Michael Arrington as a person.

Wouldn't that only be relevant if people didn't read the argument and commented solely on the title? The article in question was pointed directly at Arrington, so it's not like anyone's going to miss that.

All the more reason to change the title?

The problem, is that removing Michael Arrington from the title make it a totally different title. I did not mean that bored people are boring, it was an answer to Michael Arrington on his "I am bored" post.

Amazing article. Personally, I find Arrington to be kind of arrogant, especially the way he criticizes people (and entire industries). But, I wouldn't be surprised if Arrington wrote a long boring letter on this 'credibility check' either attacking the author or the industry (again).

Thanks for the nice word. To be honest, I heard nothing from Michael Arrington, and I doubt that he would do anything since this article will fade away much faster if he does not.

In a way, being below the radar allows me to do things that could be riskier for other more popular bloggers. There is definitely a fear of Michael Arrington in this industry, still to this day, which is understandable as he has one of biggest microphone and he can be quite unpredictable and violent in his attacks.

If the guy wasn't such a dick about the other guy being a dick it'd be a great article.


Getting confused, I am not sure who is what anymore.

Also, no need to curse and insult. Just differ without cursing and insulting, much more constructive and less confusing.

Your response could have been less offensive, you intentionally attack Michael a few times.

Where you do address the argument is weak. Even I, who is in your camp mind you, would not be convinced technology is in a thriving and prosperous time based on the examples you gave.

Lastly, the penultimate of your response and if I didn't know any better, reason you wrote the entire thing to begin with was, to be preachy and tell a man to 'stop lecturing and start doing'. First and foremost, it's perfectly acceptable for him to have an opinion on the current state of technology. His argument was never that he could make the next big thing, it was just that he wants to see it happen.

Ok, fair and good points, but I differ.

1) Offensiveness: Yes, this is a open letter to Michael Arrington, and it was blunt and harsh, but I think that his style is the same and more, and his post was a good example on how he can be offensive to a whole community and industry. And my philosophy is that you should treat people the way they treat others.

Btw, I went to the first MA tech events at his house, and he was great then. However, as he got notoriety and became public figure he started lecturing industries over and over, became very aggressive, often disrespectful, and sometime extremely violent. When it was about the blogging and PR industries, I did not have enough context to answer, but as his post targeted my backyard which is the entrepreneur and tech community, I took it to heart to respond an harsh but respectful open letter.

So, yes, it was harsh and blunt and directed at Michael Arrington, but I do not think this post was was rude, disrespectful, or say anything wrong about him.

2) Tech thriving arguments: Ok, apparently we agree on the where, but not the why. My point was that now, since technology has been fully popularized from an interface (e.g, touch) and distribution (e.g. app stores in addition to web), the opportunities are endless. Back in the days, we always had to worry if the user was tech savvy enough to use or install the product, and how to get the product to the users. Over the last few years, this has been virtually illuminated, for consumer and for enterprise users. Touch interface are so natural that virtually anybody can use a computing device nowadays. For me, and the impact that this can have on how further we can absorb computing in our all aspect of our life is just mind blowing. If you add the popularization of 3D printing, which will bring the digital world to the real one, this is even more mind blowing. Anyway, those are really my points, but if you think I missed the bigger picture, let me know, I am genuinely curious.

3) On Michael Arrington giving opinions: I love opinions, I am opinionated, and I also love to be proven wrong, as I learn when I am wrong and don’t when I am right. So, I have nothing about someone giving opinions, I am against people blaming a industry or community about being slow, un-innovative, or unethical, especially when you have a huge voice (which Michael Arrington definitely earned). And this is what Michael Arrington has been doing over and over for the last 5 to 7 years.

We, the older crowd have a responsibility to enable our younger siblings to thrive where we have not, and for this blaming and lecturing ourselves can only be divert people to the wrong direction.

Now, obviously, freedom of speech first and foremost, Michael Arrington had the right to wrote what he wrote, I had the right to disagree with him and his style, and people has the right to disagree with one or the other or both.

Best, thanks for this good points. Curious to hear more about #2.

Nice article, though I don't think Michael is boring. As both of you seem to agree, the problem is that the major tech blogs have been boring.

It is ironic at a time when tech has never been as exciting. Tech is a lot more than the latest mobile startup from a VC friend, or the latest samsung vs apple development. Maybe it is time for some new publications?

How much of this impression of "boring" might stem from your own expertise and superior knowledge? You might see a lot of pattern fulfillment that others, with different backgrounds, can read only as confusing (and seemingly novel) noise.

I know that I find a lot of gaming news, for example, more boring that other kinds due to my NES-era entry to the field. My brain can compress a genuinely innovative title down to "Old Game X + Old Game Y" even before my conscious brain realizes it, only to have a lot of the value-adding details tossed in the process. I suspect that a lot of people underestimated the iPad because their subconscious tossed out "just a better Newton (that device collecting dust in our garage, remember?)" as a cognitive shortcut and they stopped there.

In short: how much of the impression stems from HN growing less interesting versus us detecting patterns faster than new developments can break them?

Wow. Never thought I'd see a HN post with a title that is, essentially, lyrics from a Harvey Danger song.

Well, the title was the article title "Dear Michael Arrington, Perhaps You Are Bored Because You Are Boring" but somehow it got edited :(

Made me think of a Flipper song, You Nought Me, from their Gone Fishin' album.

Why shoot the messenger? Tech is so boring nowadays that bloggers lose their interest in getting exclusive scoops (and Pinterest is revolutionary? Yawn). Also, where is the evidence that Arrington is boring?

First, Michael Arrington has never been a messenger of anybody but himself, so, I did not shoot any messenger.

Second, the real question is can someone interest some and bore other? if yes, in my case, I found Michael Arrington interesting when I went to his very first startup events at his palo alto home, bu then, as he met success (that he rightfully deserved) became to lecture everybody and became very boring to me.

Again, this is my personal opinion that I wanted to share.

While all opinions are respectable, it seems you are saying he is wrong because you think he is boring as a person. Fair.

Not sure. What I meant is that what bores me with Mr Arrington, is that he is always lecturing from the passenger sit, rather than just do stuff and show us how things can be done. That's bores me.

When was the hit part of the CrunchPad?

I think the author meant "swing and a miss"

Thank Taybin, this is what I meant, and I just edited it.

Under the cobblestones, the beach!

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