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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.

Sometimes, Everything Sucks.

On Chocolate Milk in a Wine Glass

Usually, I feel really blessed that I'm able to travel 15 hours and 19 minutes drive from my family for college and I'm still able to keep in touch with them through the internet and my phone and all the wonderful technology we have today. But sometimes, I think it makes it worse. Maybe I would miss my friends and family more if I had to wait for letters to arrive to hear from them, there's really no way to know.

Today, I really feel like the technology we have access to makes it worse. Having the ability to know how someone is feeling, what they're doing, and where they are, practically any moment of the day can be really heartbreaking.

I've been thinking a lot about a great friend of mine from back home. I've been crying on and off today thinking about him and being excited (and also nervous) to see him again in 6 days after not seeing him for 4 months. I've been texting him, asking him how he's doing, what he's up to, trying to connect with him through the distance. He takes a long time to respond and when he does, he replies with short generic phrases. I know that he misses me too, that's not my concern. It's just sometimes really frustrating to be having a really bad day, full of missing someone, and then to find that the person you're missing so much is having a full and busy day, hanging out with their friends and laughing and enjoying themselves. They're not really missing you.

As much as I want to seek comfort from him that it'll be okay and that I'll see him soon, I don't want to pull him from his fun and bring down his mood. I end up feeling jealous, and sometimes worthless- like I cant have fun without him, like I dont have any good friends other than him. While I know these things aren't true, I still constantly compare my life to his and I end up putting myself down because of it.

I can't help but feel that the immediacy of the contact we're able to have despite our distance adds to this. I just don't see this being a problem in the days of letter writing.

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