The lazy programmer story

How a joke made the home page on hacker news

A few days ago my boss told me that he was about to publish a job post where he was looking for a lazy developer. It might seem counterintuitive, but laziness is a quality for a developer. Or at least, it is according to some people. Laziness in the sense that a lazy programmer will always try to find the smart way of solving problems instead of the brute force that requires tens of lines of code.

As we are friends I decided to mock him a little and quickly translated the job post to English, bought a domain for $0.99, and published online the site www.lazyprogrammer.it. And since it was a gloomy Sunday afternoon, I decided to add a link to my current project and post it on Hacker News too, as a marketing exercise; against all the odds the post made the home page of Hacker News and I had my 15 minutes of glory.

Here are a couple of things I’ve learned that afternoon.

It is difficult to understand irony online. I should have known this before. The whole stuff was a joke for me, I never meant to claim that a developer like the one described on the site is a good one. Most of the sentences have some background of truth, but they are highly exaggerated. I thought that it was obvious by the context, but clearly, it wasn’t, my bad. Many people commented saying that this reflected in poor company culture, and I agree. Was this not a joke, it would be wrong. The correct version is this one.

Hacker News sends a lot of traffic. Again, this was something I was expecting, but I managed to have a decent picture of it. During the few hours it was on the home page I got about 7K visits.

In the next few days the number got up to around 9K.

What amuses me is that I keep getting traffic, around 500 visits this week, which is crazy for a site that has very little content. In case you are wondering, the analytics are provided by the fantastic GoatCounter.

A little bit more than 10% of the traffic went to the GitHub page of Saasform, which was linked in the article and resulted in more or less 60 new stars (so a little bit less than 1%). Unfortunately from our stats, it seems that not many people tried our demo, which confirmed me that stars are more a vanity metric, than a real indicator.

All in all, it was a fun marketing exercise which took me one hour of work or so, made me discover the 1x Engineer site, and taught me important lessons for the future.

Fullstack dev with 15 years of experience. Now working on saasform.dev an open source authentication framework. Prior I earned a Ph.D in computer security