Moot (né Christopher Poole) was the latest tech luminary to impart his wisdom and experience, accumulated over the past 20-something years, to hackNY’s 2011 class.
Akarshan Kumar, one of hackNY’s new fellows, chronicled the experience on his blog New York Summer. In the two-hour talk Mr. Poole covered everything from his personal temperament (“I’m not easily offended. I run 4chan”) to not being friends with your board members.
But Mr. Poole’s most trenchant advice seemed to be about picking the right co-founder and the benefits of imperfection. When picking a partner to run your start-up, over-eagerness should be a turn-off. Instead, he told them, go for a hard-to-get founder you’re going to have to fight to work with. Mr. Kumar’s take away? “If your prospective co-founder wants to sleep with you, don’t sleep with him.”
As for imperfection, Mr. Poole said that’s something he intentionally aimed for with his latest start-up, Canvas, an image sharing and tweaking website. By building Canvas to function like “something between Paint and Photoshop,” it makes users more comfortable creating images on the site. Embracing a lack of optimization is an interesting approach to user experience, but one that certainly seems to have worked for 4chan. Think of it as familiarity breeds content.