Hacker News Stays Undefeated

There is a lot of uncertainty these days around the future of my favorite bird-themed professional space. Twitter has done a lot for me: given me access, opportunity, community. But in these categories, Twitter is second to Hacker News for my career.

Hacker News showed me my first full-time job, and my current one. Hacker News users gave me my first thousand readers, my first dumb fail, my first successful commercial product. In short, I owe the platform, and its users, a lot.

Hacker News has three things that make it great for total nobodies just starting out:

  • No followers: Sure, there are popular accounts who consistently do well, but that is the exception. Usernames are minimally present in the UI.
  • Predictible moderation: Whether or not you agree with Hacker News' moderation policies, they are clearly stated in writing and enforced by a couple of hard-working people who care about the community.
  • Meritocratic content: The upvote system quickly kills unpopular content (making posting low-downside) but creates positive spirals for good content (making posting high-upside)

Hacker news is a long-term game with clear rules and repeat players. And learning to play brought me from a sleepy insurance town in Iowa to tech hubs from Boston to SF.