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Greybeard Stories: The Black Team (penzba.co.uk)
83 points by RiderOfGiraffes on Dec 14, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

This item : http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=985965 : brought home forcefully not only that not every hacker is as old as I am, but actually that very few hackers are as old as I am. The result is that there are stories I take for granted, but which the hackers of today don't know.

So I've started to write them up.

I'm commenting here because this introduction doesn't belong in the generic item - it's really specific to Hack News.

I hope you like the account - there will be more as fast as I can get the time to write them.

This is also actually a great book idea -- collecting war stories from older hackers that the younger ones might never hear otherwise.

Clearly not such a good idea. I thought HN was the perfect audience. Apart from your comment and one up-mod each, both stories have sunk wthout trace.

Yeah I did an eight-part "tips on effective one-person startup teams" today that I thought was awesome. Lots of practical tips and stuff people probably haven't read elsewhere, startup-centered, easy-to-read.

It sunk quickly with only 3 votes.

So perhaps I'm not the best one to judge, eh? (grin)

I'd buy the book. And a couple other folks, including you. So that's 3. Another ten thousand or so and you've got a best-seller.

I think it's mostly a question of luck and time of the day when it comes to traction on HN. There are so many stories and the page is only this big....

I have a very hard time believing this. I can certainly believe the bit about finding the failure mode, but not the bit about deliberately sabotaging a public demo. That would be beyond stupid.

I liked your story, though i am not really a hacker.

Regarding your story, it illustrates an issue I have been thinking about lately. Some background on myself so you know where i am coming from. I started in biotechnology running mass specs in a small molecule analytical lab. Later, when i moved to an area with very little small molcule r&d I took a job doing web development.

Here is my observation. In highly technical fields there are a lot of people like those on the 'Black' team who would rather make someone look bad by knocking over a box because they can than patting them on the back and telling them, hey nice code - we can't find anything wrong with it. I saw similar behavior in Amgens R&D department time and time again where the people tearing each other down were very smart and passionate about thier jobs but unwilling or unable to be civil to the competition.

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