Translation from Startup-Speak to English of Selected Portions of This Opening for a Technical Co-founder

Nothing frustrates me more than a job posting for a designer or developer asking for such a broad spectrum of skills that finding such candidates might also mathematically prove the existence of unicorns. Nor do I have much patience for people who try to appeal to some kind of 'hacker' type persona in an effort to ask the unreasonable.

So without further ado, I present to you this gem which just popped up on Hacker News (and will probably be gone very shortly).

I'm an entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience as a web designer and developer. I used to own an interactive design agency and I recently co-founded, designed, and developed a custom social network for a niche industry.

I have a lot of experience building brochure-ware sites from my home office using Dreamweaver and occasionally copy / paste Wordpress snippets I found online.

I'm currently looking for a hacker to act as co-founder and potentially CTO of a new web startup that I will be applying to Y Combinator with. If you don't know what Y Combinator is, don't bother contacting me.

I'm a busy business-man trying to make business happen with other businesses. I'm sorry you've been too busy writing awesome production code to spend all your time online reading Hacker News, but I can't take five minutes to explain a simple concept to you. Besides, this is the Valley. If you can't namedrop at least five VCs within three minutes, you're useless to me.

... so this is for SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY! Additionally, if you're not a programming badass, a true hacker, then please don't apply.

Serious business if serious. It is so serious, in fact, that I felt it necessary to use phrases like "programming badass" and "true hacker" to convey the seriousness of this situation.

I'm a good programmer and can do all of the things I listed, but I'm looking for someone who's better than me!

I'm clearly impressed with myself, and already overqualified for this position. This means that I will second-guess you every step of the way, monkey around with your production code and constantly challenge your own expertise to assert my dominance at everything.

You must be a master of (at minimum):
PHP (Object Oriented Design)
JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX
MySQL or SQLite

You know, LAMP. A solid, time-tested approach to developing websites and applications.

Ideally you would also be a badass in:
Ruby on Rails

LAMP is boooring. A true badass uses Rails. And Node. Together. And we all know that true Node.js hackers use YUI. Right?

You'd be even cooler if you were ninja in:
Mobile Web Application development
Mobile App Development (iOS, etc.)

Despite being a highly efficient programmer / designer / business person myself, this startup idea is so ill-formed I can't even figure out which technology platform to use, so you should know all of them (but no Java or C#, because statically typed languages are for nerds, not badass hackers like you). Also, we'll need both a mobile web app and native mobile app. You can do all of that right? Because you are a ninja. See how I threw in one more inane buzzword compliment there to appeal to your ego?

This is the big leagues. Big responsibilities and big money are at stake..

I am high as a kite.

(FYI, I'll introduce myself and give you a full background on who I am after you contact me.)

While I require you to give me all your information and proven examples of work and experience, I will simply remain an unknown quantity while you try and decide if you're read to meet my unreasonable demands.

Some credit to for this article goes to both Mark Pilgrim and John Gruber for pioneering / perfecting the classic PR-Speak to English format. This was not meant as an attack on the actual poster or his idea. It is simply what a jaded, cynical developer hears when he reads posts like this.

Screenplay Thinking

Writing better dialogue from John August on Vimeo.

I find the process of screenwriting fascinating. It's highly restrictive, forcing a writer to convey plot, characters, subtext and meaning in only audiovisual terms. Screenwriters must also use time as it's own language by constantly slowing it down and speeding it up.

In this video, John August, the internet's favorite screenwriter show us how to re-tool a scene and it's dialogue for maximum effect - and gets rid of some cruft in the process.

If you're fascinated by the creative process as much as I am, it's worth the time to watch.

2011: A Really Fast Year

A lot of people out there like to compile year end reviews, best-of lists, retrospectives and whatnot looking back at the year that was.

An equal number seem resolved to make lists of New Year's resolutions. I feel the same as Merlin does about those sorts of things.

However, there are a few things I want to say about 2011. First, it was really fast. The fastest year in recent memory. It feels like I just finished watch all the Oscar picks from 2010, and now we're ready to do it again. It was a year where I feel I made great strides professionally and personally, but I never stopped to notice, because it all went by in the blink of an eye.

Second, I'm immensely grateful to my friends, my family and people who I've only just met in 2011. As much faith as I had to put into myself to get through the year, nothing could have happened without the faith that others put in me. I work in one of the amazing professional fields ever, and it shows by the quality of the people who work in it with me.

Third, it was a fucking awesome year for video games. Easily the best of the last five years. You owe it to yourself to sit down and play some of these titles, both AAA blockbusters and underground indie games. Go do it before another year is over again.

My Letter to GoDaddy

Hello GoDaddy,

It is now (or should be) abundantly clear to any company in the technology sector that legislation like SOPA will only cause more harm than good. This proposed law demonstrates an over-zealous desire by the media and entertainment industries to punish and litigate against the average internet denizen through a new draconian process that threatens to rupture the fundamental technologies on which the internet has been built.

It is not just disappointing, but utterly confounding to me that a company like GoDaddy would support the policing and censorship of the DNS system within the United States for the sake of pleasing movie studios and record companies in the name of protecting copyright, a mechanism designed by our country's founding fathers to promote "the advancement of useful knowledge and discoveries." Censoring the internet achieves none of these intended goals, does little to deter piracy, and closely resembles the practices of hostile regimes such as China, Iran and Syria.

By supporting either SOPA or the PROTECT IP Act, how can GoDaddy honestly believe that they are not disrupting a fundamental technology that promotes free speech across the globe? Such legislation will only serve to stifle technological innovation, economic growth and education in the future.

Furthermore, it is downright sleazy that GoDaddy not only supported this bill, but has also negotiated a clause that would exempt them being shut down under SOPA as well. This appears to be a case of hypocrisy on GoDaddy's part.

How can GoDaddy find it conscionable to stand behind a law that they themselves do not expect to be held accountable to?

While I do understand that GoDaddy has recently removed its name from a list of SOPA supporters, I feel that you have not done enough to reverse your position on the bill. Any aid that GoDaddy has given to the backers of this bill has already been provided, and the damage done.

Because of GoDaddy's recent actions regarding the SOPA bill, I have to decided to cease any future business with your company. I have already authorized the transfer of 5 domain names away from GoDaddy, and will not renew 2 more domains when they expire.

I will also no longer recommend any of GoDaddy's services to clients or associates. I have already found excellent alternatives to the services that you had provided for me.

My sincere wish is that in the future GoDaddy's attitude and behavior regarding these sorts of matters will reflect that of a company who believes that the common good provided by the internet to everyone in the world is more important than the slight expansion of profit margins and executive bonuses at companies that already receive a lot of money from people like me.


Bryan P. Mills

P.S. Seriously, don't let the people who green-lighted a third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie decide what the future of internet should be.

To Professionalism!


Paul Irish wrote a blog post to promoting his new web effort Move the Web Forward. In the process of announcing this, he inexplicably takes a dig at Jeffrey Zeldman:

It was a shame that Zeldman didn’t seem interested in giving the initiative much attention, if any at all, even though he so eagerly promoted Blue Beanie Day itself. Instead of sharing the site with his audience, he preferred them to purchase some merchandise.

Zeldman provides a comprehensive, if strongly worded response in the comment section that ends in:

Your project looks cool and could benefit from outside help, but I won't be helping because you are an asshole. You are, I think, the only asshole I've met in 20 years of doing web work. Fuck off.

No one comes out of this smelling like roses. Ultimately, I have to side with Zeldman, only because I know more about Jeffrey's personality through reading and listening to his work while I'm generally ignorant of Irish's countenance (although I am a fan of his work). Zeldman's typical candor and humility is not on display here, which leaves me to believe that this exchange is just the head of a long simmering frustration (as Zeldman notes in his comments, go read the whole thread).

Watching this sort of exchange is fun in the same way that seeing two cars collide is fun. No one says you can't dislike people in your profession. But there's rarely an occasion in which expressing so publicly and on the internet is going to going to be constructive in the least.