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A Chat with Aaron Swartz  (View post)

Yvo [PersonRank 1]

Monday, May 7, 2007
15 years ago23,671 views

nice interview! a good read, he sounds like a smart guy to me.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

did he side step the "the text link ads controversy." question or what ??

no comment like good old HAL saying "insufficient information for a meaningful answer" :)-

=="It’s up to us to decide where to go next". I totally agree on that statement.

hmmmmmmm ... intuition is like the Baltimore affair .. :)-

   Thanks Aaron and Philipp , all in all a very good interview /read!!

Hong Xiaowan [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Y Combinator's service some like OEM fashion making. I am interesting in this. I am old, tired coding, tired design, but maybe can do business for the Internet.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

After this interview my podcast client has two more items :)

4563214 [PersonRank 2]

15 years ago #

You asked about the girls day in the USA...

Here it is:

Matt Blodgett [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Thanks so much for posting this interview.

Aaron is one of my favorite people, and I was wondering what he was up to post-Reddit.

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Interesting interview, Phillip. great stuff!

Gopi [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Thats a great interview.. Good Luck.. Aaron!

B [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Great interview! I'm shocked by his bet about Noam Chomsky, actually I'm shocked to hear someone so young is thinking of the big picture. Good for him!

SB [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

nice ambush there on the paid text links =)

great interview though!

Juan José del Río [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Anyone with a little brains can tell somehow the same he said.

Excuse me if I am not that impressed. :-)

I am somehow ok with what he says, except the kind of babycrying I've read when complaining about Google's changes, Aaron's firing, etc...

Ah, and the replies about the ads in his blog... they've no price lol

Anyways, Aaron, you're doing a great job after all. Keep doing a great job, and don't complain about the past... it's already the past. Keep up with the present, and build up a better future.

Regards from Spain (and excuse my english),
   Juan José del Río

d0k [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Brilliant. Thank you guys.

Peter [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

The bit about misogyny among corporate men initially looks very bad, but I have to play devils' advocate here a little bit. (My creds, if it matters: Psych major/CS minor from Cornell)

I think guys talking like this to each other is first and foremost a macho thing. There are only 3 or so things that all men more or less have in common: Women, sports, and cars. Thus, bonding tends to occur along one of those lines. And also, guys kind of resent the power women have over them (I seriously doubt that Aaron Swartz has ever been in a serious relationship and thus he can't really understand this phenomenon yet). All of the above, combined with the non-presence of women leads to this kind of chatter. Obviously they would never say anything like this to these women, but to assume that (in a woman's case) she wouldn't think "hot guy, wonder how he is in bed" when meeting an attractive male coworker (and maybe even talk about him to her female coworker friends) is too much pot calling kettle black. I'd argue that male talk is a tad more acerbic than female talk probably is, but the fact is that (most) men are raised from birth into an environment of sh*t-talking with/towards their peers, the likes of which women have no clue about.

or [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

what he says about everyone he meets at google are not doing anything appealing. Obviously, every company needs workers doing mundane, maintenance stuff. Not everyone will be building the amazing new product. This is even more true as a company grows. It is not that Google isn't doing anything appealing, or even exciting, it is that Aaron doesn't like being part of just maintaining something in a corporate setting, he wants to be working directly on something exciting/new/etc. So a startup environment, or something small is better for him.

Google not being as exciting a company after the IPO is also not true. If you look over the history of Google, they have been moving much faster, and releasing more edgy products Post-IPO. Think about all the products they released Post-IPO: Google Desktop, Maps, Earth, Base, Checkout, Docs & Spreadsheet, Google Apps, IGoogle, Google Books, Reader, personalized search (and even more). There are more successful post IPO products. Pre-IPO products like froogle, catalogs, answers went nowhere. But look at the success of maps, desktop, earth, igoodle, reader.

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

or, I tend to agree with you but it's always interesting to hear someone else's opinion.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Philipp – Great interview!

TC [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Peter said: "There are only 3 or so things that all men more or less have in common: Women, sports, and cars."

Except for the men who are gay, or who have zero personal interest in sports and/or cars!

Your comment illustrates his point precisely :-(

Technicolour Squirrel [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

"I seriously doubt that Aaron Swartz has ever been in a serious relationship and thus he can't really understand this phenomenon yet."

I don't understand how you can even mildly suspect this, much less "seriously doubt" it. Assume much?

And this...

"I'd argue that male talk is a tad more acerbic than female talk probably is, but the fact is that (most) men are raised from birth into an environment of sh*t-talking with/towards their peers, the likes of which women have no clue about."

...pretty much proves the point, doesn't it? Men are socialised and raised to "talk sh*t" about women. How you think this cannot possibly have an affect on hiring practices is beyond me. Also did you miss the point in the ADM transcript where they walk about promoting the women "in title only"? Yeah, that's just guys being guys. Nothing to see here. Puh-leeeze.

When you talk about people as if they have no worth outside of decorative sex objects, then it is impossible not to be tempted to actually think about them as if they have no other worth. Or do you think that men raised from birth to say the same things over and over to each other somehow magically end up thinking entirely different things, and making decisions like hiring and firing totally unrelated to those things?

It's very clear that as a society we still have a long way to go. However, I definitely do not agree with Aaron that all executives are like this. To me this is as unwarranted an assumption as yours about Aaron's love life. To be sure, it is naive to supposed that this boardroom that happened to get taped is the only one where this goes down. But it's just as wrongheaded to extrapolate to ALL of them – just as it is wrongheaded to hear a white person say something racist and thus to conclude, 'Hmm. White people are racist.'

The fact is that boardrooms are made up of people, and there are plenty of good people out there in the world of both sexes. But probably not the majority, and the effect on women's rights is devastating.

SusanSW [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

<<Aaron Swartz, now in his early twenties, rose to internet fame as technology whiz kid a couple of years ago>>

Aaron Swartz, only 20 years old, rose to internet fame as a technology whiz kid over seven years ago...

Great interview...thanks!

doubledjd [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Very good interview though I don't agree about the misogyny running rampant in technology. I've had the luxury of specializing in a few fields while still having the good fortune of not seeing fervid sexism in any of them. Let it be known that it is not acceptable around you and it will be less acceptable around others.

No cut on Aaron or Stanford intended but it is funny how simple it is to recognize a Stanford scholar.

It is interesting on how polarities cast a mold

Abbas Raza [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #


Thanks for mentioning 3QD. We are very pleased.



[Anonymous] [PersonRank 4]

15 years ago #

What a light weight. I like to plug my brain into the neural-net and upload a new book every hour or two when I have some idle time in between creating the 4 or 5 new websites that will be part of web 3.0 or while I'm off jet setting myself across the planet for the weekend.

A. Non [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

About the ADM thing from This American Life, I'd be really interested to know if those dudes still have jobs, as the CEO of ADM is a woman!

photoactive [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Sorry to say this and it's not as if it ought to matter to anyone but he's not a very appealing character.

wongaboo [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I enjoyed the interview. Well done.

charight [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Meet him in person and then decide if his character appeals to you.

It appeals to me, and I'm much older, a lot less geeky, probably not as smart, and jackasses make me cranky.

By the way, I think he's dead-on about sexism and racism in the tech industry, and I'm female.

Elias KAI [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Some people live for passion like Aaron.
Some companies serve for passion like Google.
Some of us are here to get heard.
Some others are the next level Leaders.

Good luck Aaron , Thanks for Matt and Philipp.

Brett Ward [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I wish Aaron would come out of the closet already. I have trouble taking his truths seriously when he's faking something so big.

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