TechCrunch comments are the dregs of coffee in the bottom of my french-press-brewed cup of joe: bitter and cold. This happens on HackerNews as well, but it seems the signal to noise ratio on TechCrunch is incredibly low. Very rarely are the negative comments constructive or even helpful. I also sometimes fall into the same trap and it seems like my thoughts fall into either of these forms: ”I could do that” or “I did that”.

I could do that

As a developer, every day I look at problems and try to figure out how to solve them. As if by magic, my brain automatically jumps to piecing together a solution. The same happens when I look at a website. Unfortunately, all I see is the external surface. I see the current user interface and the current use cases that are being solved. What I don’t see is the thousands of technical iterations to get to the product, the involved learning about the market, any internal tools, the hardware scaling issues, the network configuration, the user interface wireframes, the brainstorming about features, or the marketing to get actual users.

In other words, if you say you can build Pinterest in a week, then you are probably missing a lot of what actually attracts so many to Pinterest.

I did that

Oh, I built a Pinterest/Stackoverflow/Hackernews/Instagram clone in a week? Fantastic. Where is it? How many people use it? What happens once I have 410TB of data?

Even without technical challenges, for a sufficiently experienced developer, the expertise to build a product might be relatively easy; however, you still need to know what a customer wants and get them to your site.

Who isn’t commenting on TechCrunch stories about what they could do, or what they did? Actual entrepreneurs. They know the struggle. They don’t have the time to whine because they have their own bugs to fix, features to build and users to please.