Paul Graham: ‘What I Didn’t Say’

Thoughtful response from Paul Graham to last week’s hysterical brouhaha:

“We” doesn’t refer to society; it refers to Y Combinator. And the women I’m talking about are not women in general, but would-be founders who are not hackers.

I didn’t say women can’t be taught to be hackers. I said YC can’t do it in 3 months.

I didn’t say women haven’t been programming for 10 years. I said women who aren’t programmers haven’t been programming for 10 years.

I didn’t say people can’t learn to be hackers later in life. I said people cannot at any age learn to be hackers simultaneously with starting a startup whose thesis derives from insights they have as hackers.

I’m sure this will get just as much attention as Valleywag’s misguided hatchet job that started the whole thing, and that everyone on Twitter who excoriated Graham will apologize.

The Information doesn’t come out of this looking good, either. For one thing, the missing “these” in his quote severely changes the meaning of his sentence. For another, Graham says he was providing background information for a profile of his wife and business partner Jessica Livingston, and was not aware The Information would be running his remarks as a standalone interview.

Monday, 30 December 2013