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The Genius and Tragedy of Patrick McKenzie

I. This post outlines Patrick McKenzie - a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur - how he's done such amazing things and learned so much, and why he's getting drastically underpaid and how it's his own fault. This post will be most valuable for technologists who underestimate themselves and undervalue themselves.

II. Hacker News is the best tech community on the internet, and patio11 - Patrick McKenzie - is the best contributor there. I don't even think that's controversial, I think it would be near universally agreed by the HN crowd that Patrick has made as many or more important contributions as anyone.

If you're from Hacker News, you know Patrick already. But for my readers that don't know him, let me give you a quick overview.

III. Patrick is a multi-faceted genius, and I don't throw the word genius around casually.

Patrick McKenzie is many things - he's an expatriate to Japan, he's a talented coder, tester, metrics/split-testing/analytics user, a great writer, extremely modest and helpful. He can recruit people, evaluate talent, and manage people well. He understands ROI very well and is good at purchasing advertising. He's good at customer service. Outsourcing. Automation. Coding. Ecommerce.

Subtleties

On Huan M. Nguyen

A critical part of the mastery process is internalization.

There's a point that's reached where you'll perform an action. Outwardly, it looks the same. But on the inside is where the immense difference is, and the distinctive factor between two people of different skill level.

To use a physical example, take tennis. Any number of people might approach a standard forehand stroke and have it look exactly the same, but the point may have a totally different outcome.

One person is thinking: Okay, forehand stroke! Move, feet, shuffle, backswing, keep hand on throat, drop racquet, swing up and through, finish, and recover!

And that person will have a good stroke. At the same time, a second person could execute the exact same action and look the exact same, but the thoughts running through their head will be on a higher level.

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