Randy and I like to poke fun at our roommate (and close friend) Jason’s blog. His most popular entries: Winning Isn’t Normal, 21 Lessons Learned in 21 Weeks at a Startup, and How to Land a Killer Job at a Tech Startup Out of College. He’s like a one-man Demand Media for the Hacker News community.
His last entry: Use This Navy SEAL Technique to Virtually Guarantee Victory.
Our actual objection isn’t the linkbait style–he’s just appealing to an audience–it’s the borderline douchebaggery, as in Startup Career Advice for Recent Grads & Corporate Staffers.
I’m told I should spell it out. So, first of all, Jason’s giving startup career advice six months into his first job at a startup. Okay, no problem, everyone has something valuable to contribute. Then he quotes an email he received, in its entirety, including this:
I’m sure you’re extremely busy, but I really admire your success and was wondering if you might be able to chat on the phone for just 20 minutes. I’m fascinated by your career and would love to learn more about how you got to where you are.
His next sentence: “Nick is clearly a driven and accomplished guy who has a good sense of what he wants to be doing next.” Clearly, from a 100-word self-summary? If I didn’t know Jason better, it’d read: “Clearly, someone who admires me this much–and reads my blog!–MUST be both driven and accomplished.” There’s no self-deprecation or self-awareness that any of this could possibly be perceived as arrogant, and that sense persists throughout.
I like to think I represent a silent majority. Jason’s blog has a user-suggested-topics widget, and for a long time, the top-voted suggestion was “When did you become a douchebag of epic proportions?”, with over 50 votes. (He’s planning to write a post about it, of course.)
Some of the douchebaggery is unavoidable, since strong opinions strongly expressed is appealing, and that will turn some people off. It’s difficult to be confident yet nuanced and concise but not condescending. But personally, I’d say Jason could tone it down 50% and still keep blogging like a champion.
Jason knows exactly how I feel. He doesn’t want to change his style for fear of losing what makes his blog great. And to be fair, Jason really has written a lot of great content. Check out his NCAA gymnastics comeback and the gruesome video. (Jokes aside, the Winning Isn’t Normal post is also good, and super intense.)
And in the process of researching this post, I’m realizing I can’t actually find much content that I find even borderline douchebaggery.
But regardless, to me (along with many of Jason’s real-life friends, strangely enough) he comes across differently in person, and for the better. Jason Shen is awesome. If I’d met JasonShen.com first, though, I doubt I would ever have wanted to know Jason Shen, and what a loss that would’ve been. Though I might have learned that people are often more humble than their blog suggests…
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- How Borderline Douchebaggery Helps You Land a Great Roommate