"Oh, you should never read Hacker News comments about anything you write," I told him.
Whereupon it immediately struck me how strange and sad it was to be saying this, as the person who started HN.
Seriously, some of the comments on this thread are HN at its very worst: bitter, willful misinterpretations of what Sam is saying.
In the early days of a site like this if a new user comes along and makes negative/snarky comments which don't fit the community it is pointed out, politely. Usually someone posts a reply friendly reminding that this sort of behavior is not welcome. This helps both the offender in question and lurkers to understand how to behave.
Then, at some point, people just snap. They've got enough, they don't want to help new people any more. Even though it has always been like that. Obviously, as the site grows faster users stepping out of line happens more often.
So they start making 'everything's getting worse' posts. They are perpetuating the idea that all hope is lost.
So let me propose to try and tell people why they're wrong instead of just making a global assertion, even if true. Next time anyone wants to make a post how 'this community is getting worse and worse' instead try to salvage the discussion instead.
Maybe you have to have wait 30 days after registration before you can comment? Or comments within 30 days of registration have special "new user" formatting?
I don't give a fuck if it's not apparent to anyone else what makes it so great. I like how it tastes.
Why is it unreasonable for PG to have someone as his favorite founder? What if they're just good friends and he really resonates with this Sam guy? Why does it matter if you can't see what's so great about someone you've never met in your life? Maybe Sam is funny in person and has a great attitude. You wouldn't know. Just accept it for what it is. Maybe PG's reasons ARE irrational. Who cares? I have a ton of irrational favorite things.
You people are crazy sometimes.
The way you put it makes it sound like the rest of HN is just bashing him out of jealously in all honesty, which is, well, just for the wrong reason & plain sad at the end of the day.
Here's my favorite quote from the post:
No matter what you choose, build stuff and be around smart people. “Stuff” can be a lot of different things—open source projects outside of class, a startup, a new sales process at a company you work at—but, obviously, sitting around talking with your friends about how you guys really should build a website together does not count.
Doing real work with smart people (preferably smarter than you, preferably much smarter than you) is what matters. It's what makes you a better person. Doesn't matter if it pays well, or if it's secure.
Ambition isn't a purely financial thing. It's "I want to be a better person, and I'm willing to work for it", and a clear concept of what "better" is. Better can be rich, or powerful, or creative, or famous, or happy. It could just be creating a family. But wandering aimlessly and letting fear drive you to the nearest safe-looking hole... that's not ambition.
This will be more similar to how peer-review works in universities. A peer-review from a professor with a long-standing reputation is worth more than the peer-review of a new professor.
Sam, I actually think your advise is really good, I wish I'd followed this when I was 19. But I'm still ambitious, I'm not too late. Thanks for the good read!