Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

My (very low) opinion of your claims is not based on any Register article, but your own written account of your dealings with Zuckerberg, on p. 294 and up of your book Authoritas, a section I read when you had it online. I commented with my unvarnished opinion long before your Facebook lawsuit [1].

Congratulations on your small-claims win against an unprepared Google paralegal; Google should be held to account for cryptic and arbitrary policies that retract credited balances from users' accounts.

However, in your own writings and lawsuits, you give me the impression that you are a legal gadfly rather than an entrepreneur. That can be a fine niche in life, and the press loves it, but you shouldn't expect a warm reception from aspiring entrepreneurs. Successful businesspeople often have to waste precious time and money defending against, and sometimes even paying off, legal gadflies -- even when the claims are meritless.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=49294


Not that I expect to convince of anything, but your interpretation of my writing is awfully skewed. You claim I "dawdled...while Zuckerberg executed." I launched my Universal Face Book, which I coded myself, on September 19, 2003. thefacebook.com launched on February 4, 2004. Throughout those intermediate months I wrote thousands of lines of code, tried to get others interested in maintaining and growing the site, and secured partnerships. That Mark secured funding after using, speaking with me about, and then copying my work does not negate any of my actions.

The "fritter[ing] around with committees" is a phrase you used, not me. The "committee" you speak of was a few of my friends in college who were in the same club.

I didn't sit around "kvetch about media unfairness." I walked into The Crimson and waited until a reporter would talk to me so that I could show them the site.

The "redundant academic make-work" you refer to was a version control system for CS91r, a Harvard class that both Mark and I were in, and had nothing to do with any of your previous points.


Put the relevant pages of Authoritas back up, and let readers decide.

The relevant pages of Authoritas are up (they were never taken down), but I have the right to charge for them, especially given that the book is now published. In the meantime, the documents are all available and more easily accessible than the primary sources of just about any other book there is.


The meaning of text from a book being "up" here, so that other commenters can decide for themselves, obviously does not include it being behind a paywall.

Well, I just can't win then, can I.

If I charge a reasonable amount of money for my work that involved risk to produce, I'm not being transparent enough, but I'm clearly an entrepreneur. If I make everything free, I'm in the good graces of the open source movement thanks to my perfect transparency, but then of course I'm not "really" an entrepreneur.

Come on people! You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Just don't tell people stuff is available for public judgment that isn't.

I stand by my interpretation of the content now behind your paywall. I am not selling anything.

The bit about the version control system was especially telling. You implied Zuckerberg was shirking classwork to work on his side project. Meanwhile, you volunteered to write a version control system to be used by fellow coders on a speech-recognition class project.

If an entrepreneurially-minded young coder was magically sent back to Spring 2004, what should they work on? A custom version control system to be used by teammates on a single class project, or a college-oriented competitor to Friendster, MySpace, and Orkut?


Let me paraphrase your sentiment here. You think that my fatal flaw is that while simultaneously pursuing the extracurricular interests that included houseSYSTEM and running my own company (which is presently more profitable than Facebook despite its relatively small size), I was diligent in completing my coursework? That's my huge mistake?

As I describe pretty clearly in the book, I worked on the version control system and houseSYSTEM and many other things (everything you now see on http://www.thinkcomputer.com) simultaneously. Even in hindsight, I'm glad I worked on those things. I just wish I hadn't talked to Mark about them.

Like anyone I've made plenty of mistakes, and I'm perfectly willing to discuss them in relation to entrepreneurship, but clearly you've got some sort of other issue with me. Despite my best efforts to figure it out, I still don't know what it is.

Best of luck.


I would not use grandiose, loaded terms like "fatal flaw" or "huge mistake". I have no issue with your life choices, only your criticism of Zuckerberg.

In your very first comment at News.YC, you called Zuckerberg a "fraud", and pointed to your book as evidence. [1] I've looked at your evidence, and think you're either imagining things, or exaggerating to promote your career. That's all.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24742

maybe you can quote that part of the book (if you still have it?) or maybe Aaron can quote that for us - I think that comes under "fair use" :P

C'mon, you want to compete with MySpace and Friendster and Orkut in 2004? Your business plan is to compete against Google and Friendster? (MySpace hadn't been bought by News Corp. yet, and I think I hadn't heard of it, but maybe an entrepreneurial-minded person would have.)

Better than writing yet another CVS. And many of the late entrants to social-networking did OK -- Facebook, Bebo, others regionally.

First: point. Second: was that foreseeable in 2004?

The people who succeeded (and their investors) probably think they foresaw it.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact