Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Beware of being too open about your company on Hacker News

People like Patrick McKenzie have set news standards for openness about your corporate well-being, complete with pie charts of turnover and costs.

But being too open about your new idea may be a mistake.

Recently Zachary Burt (zackattack) launched a website called awesomenessreminders. It didn’t take long for the first imitations to appear, by the hands of none other than mr. ‘Enso’ himself, Alberto Amandi. Grounded in the negative attitude these could be seen as parodies of the original, after all, jerkness and fail are only going to get you so far. It wouldn’t be Alberto if he didn’t feel the need to rip off a bunch of text as well, but on the whole since it was doomed to fail I don’t think Zachary cared much about it.

Another week passed and Tyrone Braxton felt the need to go one further and clone the concept completely under ‘heysweetheart’ and ‘heyhotstuff’, never mind that half the pages are still missing.

Now, of course everybody is welcome to try their hand at just about anything, but to see such shameless cloning of concepts that have been developed by fellow HN’ers is really bad sport in my book. Nobody can stop you, it’s perfectly legal (well, other than ripping off the texts of course, which are copyrighted), but it’s also an absolute dick thing to do.

I’d almost spend the money on jerknessreminder to remind both Alberto and Tyrone how I think of them, but I’m too much of a positive person to do it, and I think that in the longer term opportunists will always fail to go the distance. Not because they couldn’t do it, but simply because they don’t have the right attitude.

So, here’s to you, Zachary, and I hope that many more imitations will follow, that’s the most sincere form of flattery there is.

For everybody else that intends to be open about how their little start-ups fare, you may want to re-consider that if you’re doing well, people that will happily rip off your text and concept are lying in wait just around the corner, right on hackernews.