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.