Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Why am I doing this?
Published on February 27, 2006 By Draginol In Blogging

I'm feeling pretty cranky today.  This week.  This month.

Part of it has to do with not having had a single day off since Thanksgiving.  I even worked on Christmas day.  Every day. 7 days a week. 

A few weeks ago I pulled a 111 hour week.  The last week or so I did over 80. I'm tired. Very tired.

Last week I had to temporarily take down JoeUser since the site, which is not a business enterprise, eats up around 30% of the database bandwidth of our critical accounts server. 

I want to stress that we would never just take down JoeUser permanently without letting people get their stuff.  We have a moral obligation to all users who have blogs.  And I don't have any plans to take down the site either.  Your blogs are safe.

But boy am I fed up with it right now.  I'm fed up with dealing with ungrateful whiney people.  I get a half dozen emails a day from people who address me as if I'm their technical support person.  I'm not talking simple, polite questions.  I mean rude, condescending nastiness. "Fuck you" is what is what I want to say sometimes when I get some really nasty person who is ticked off that our "service" being down for a week is simply "unacceptable".   You wouldn't believe some of the crap I get.

And then there's the onsite stuff. Just before the site went down, LW's husband had a post on sexuality in the United States.  I actually agree with his opinion 100% in terms of the subject matter.  But it was one of those ignorant "I'm from another country and Americans are stupid sheep" type posts that really gets on my nerves. I found it incredibly arrogant, even by my standards.  Which I said as much in a comment. For him single out the United States as being sexually obtuse when the US is probably more open minded than 90% of the population of the world is silly IMO.

But what presses my buttons is when I get arrogant, disrespectful and dismissive responses like "Why don't you go back to using JoeUser to peddle your latest game".  That sort of crap just irritates me.  And I express my irritation pretty straight forwardly. I repeat the golden rule of JoeUser: Don't piss off the owner.   I debate people all the time and don't end up wanting to ban those people.  But you start to get personal and I'll make you disappear from the site.  Or more to the point, you treat me with contempt and you're history.

In response, I got the ultimate button pushing -- where the guy who I'm allowing to use my blog site for free starts taking the attitude that I should be treating him better because he's a customer of the company (he bought a game) and treats JoeUser as if it's a business enterprise, which it's not. 

Every once in awhile someone will come on and comment to one of my blogs "The CEO of a company shouldn't do X, Y, Z".  How the hell do they know what a CEO should and shouldn't do?  Last time I checked, the job of a CEO is to please the shareholders.  The shareholder of Stardock is pleased.  You need help on a product, I'll bend over backwards to help you.  But don't go telling me how I should behave on my blog site.  If I want to write an article that talks about my fondness of canibalism, that's my damn business.  If people make buying decisions based on my behavior, then sorry that's asanine. You're not hurting me. The distance between a product purchase decision and me is so far removed that such buying decisions could never be connected.  And besides that, it makes the false assumption that I'm driven by money.  If I was, I would have stopped these crazy hours long ago. I'm already "set" so to speak.  I'm driven by the desire to make cool stuff. JoeUser being an example of doing something that we think is cool. There's no financial motivation behind JU. Never has been.

So LW's husgand is gone now. But with him goes his wife, Little Whip who I actually like.  I don't know what she sees in the creep but I'm sure people wonder the same thing about my wife (i.e. how she puts up with me).  Which does irritate me more since I enjoy her stuff but there's on way I'm putting up with someone like that.  But if keeping him around is a condition of her hanging around, then it's a no brainer. 

And as harsh as this is to say, especially of someone leaving whose stuff I really enjoy, it won't affect JU in the bigger scheme of things.  Time marches on and it's amazing how quickly people start to forget people who were daily parts of an online community. And I don't say that as if it's a good thing. It's a bad thing.  My good friend Jark started an art community called deviantART.  It eventually had multiple owners and eventually those owners teamed up and fired him.  He was once "the heart" of deviantART.  It would be the equivalent of me being removed from JoeUser permanently.  A couple months pass and you'd never know he was part of the site.  NEVER (and I say this with painful first hand experience) mistake popularity in a given community as existing apart from that community.

Getting back to JU and the profit motive thing. People need to understand something: Stardock owns this site. I own Stardock. It's not VC funded. It's not a partnership. There are no stock holders to answer to.  I own it. The job of a CEO of any company is to please the shareholders.  That typically means increasing profits -- which I've done.  But in a privately held company, it can mean anything.  And the only place i really get mushy about are the people who work WITH (not for) WITH me.  I'll take guff from a coworker.  I won't take it from a user of a free site that we provide purely because we think having the site is cool.

You order one of our products and you need help on one of our sites and are reasonable about it, I'll bend over backwards to help you.  At our product sites, the customer isn't just king, they're god.   But JoeUser isn't a product.  Bloggers aren't customers here.  If I bought ice cream from LW's husband, that doesn't give me the right to go up to him at a bar and shit on him about a totally unrelated thing.

What will happen in the near future is what happens over and over.  A bunch of people will post melodramatic "Goodbye" blogs and then march off to oblivion. Of course, they are certain that their popularity here will travel with them. I exiled LW's husband and Furry Canary since he decided to pile on.  We "wankers" do that.   And I may clean house further.  Because, like I said, I'm fed up.  I'm tired of taking shit.

And those people who do go, I wish them well.  I really do.  They aren't likely to get the kind of attention they get here, however.

What JoeUser brings to the table, totally free of charge, is powerful auto-syndication so that people's stuff gets out there and read by lots of people and responded to. No one else does it. Not because it's technically impossible but because it's very expensive to build and run such a site and unlike JoeUser, the other big blog sites are for-profit enterprises and so you won't see the kind of system out there any time soon.  So to users who think I'm a jerk or whatever (and I am a jerk sometimes) feel free to go to Blogger or whatever. 

So hopefully those who are reading this and thinking "Oh man, Brad's really being nasty" it's true, hopefully people can also realize that I'm human too and I get tired and I don't like being treated like a servant, especially when I'm giving something out that's very expensive, for free, year after year.  I don't expect a bunch of thank yous or appreciation.  I just ask that people not treat me as if I'm supposed to be their customer service agent.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 27, 2006
Wow Brad. You sound like you need a loooong vacation.

I don't think its healthy for you to work so time off since Thanksgiving! And a baby on the way. That's a pretty full plate.

Thanks for the site. I appreciate it. Honestly, this past fall JU is the only thing that kept me from losing my mind with certain things going on in my life at the thanks for that.

I will miss LW and I hope she decides to return.

But shesh, take a break or're making the rest of us look lazy.
on Feb 27, 2006

I want to take a break. Very badly.  But there is too much to do and not enough people to do it.  We're hiring people as fast as we can though.

Over the past 4 years of having this blog site, I've probably only banned a dozen or so people (other than spammers and such).  And of that dozen, nearly all of them were violating some blatant rule.  So I don't wily nilly get rid of people.

But LW's husband has a knack for trying to push people's buttons.  And can almost admire that level of empathy to be able to find what irritates someone and go for it.  But in this case, it probably was't the best move on his part.

LW's blogs are still archived in the DB. So if she ever changes her mind, they can be restored.

on Feb 28, 2006

We're hiring people as fast as we can though.

HAHA. That's a good idea since you will have a VERY DEMANDING person entering your life in a few months! Kids are funny that way....

Thanks for explaining about exile on the other blog....and for explaining anything the end of the day this is your sight and I for one and glad its here.

Peace to you and your family.
on Feb 28, 2006
I don't know why you're doing this but I'm glad you do. I haven't ever blogged anywhere else and I don't want to. I like it here. So far I've avoided most of the little dramas with one tiny exception when someone decided to satirize one of my articles.

I hope you keep on and just ignore the crapola.
on Feb 28, 2006
Oh and I missed JU when it was down but I wouldn't send you an email bitching about it. I seem to recall an article that said not to complain about the free ice cream.
on Feb 28, 2006
I want to take a break. Very badly. But there is too much to do and not enough people to do it. We're hiring people as fast as we can though.

If you want my advice - and you almost certainly don't, but I haven't got anywhere in life by listening to other people - Just take it. Your staff seem pretty capable - they always seem to be on the ball when someone has a question or something that needs to be done. The company's not going to suffer if you leave for 2 weeks, even if it means a patch doesn't go out in that time. The company will suffer a lot more, and so will your staff and family, if you let it pile up and break you down. There's a reason lots of game companies take holidays immediately after release.
on Feb 28, 2006
I know how the storming off thing goes, intimately. Brad no doubt remembers. You give those in charge hell because they don't do what you want, you get a peanut gallery full of people in the forums "Hell Yeah"ing you, inflating you to fight the power.

Then, you wander back a week later and nothing has changed, and all the people egging you on are still there and they don't remember you. It isn't good 'punishment' anyway, because you're a lot more of a reminder and pain in the ass when you are there. Leave and they can forget you *and* your demands.

I'll hate to see whip go, and honestly I hate to see EoIC go, too. I understand the decision, though. I have a love/hate relationship with people like him, and Myrrander, and the like. Eventually they tend to just implode for some reason, though. A fine line to walk, I guess.

What was I talking about? Dunno. Anyhoo, take a break, Brad. If all that money doesn't buy you peace of mind, what it is good for? Delegate or die.
on Feb 28, 2006
I missed JU while it was down. And I am grateful that it is back up and operating. And if people were bitching at you because of it. I"m sorry, that's awful... I think that people forget that with the opportunity of a site like this being "free" that someone still has to keep it up. and it requires work and time from someone who probably has another fulltime job and a life. So I"m sorry you feel taken advantage of and I"d like to take the time to say that I appreciate all the work you do to keep the site running as well as the others who work behind the scenes at JU.
on Feb 28, 2006
Maybe you should post "The Golden Rule" as a sticky or something.

I know you don't ban a lot of people, but the comments that you've made about this issue leave it to people speculate. People may feel like they have to be careful about what they say to you, how many hours you've worked this week, etc. If that's the sort of vibe that you want people to have in this "community", that's your perogative. But maybe you should have a warning on all your posts for people to talk to you differently than they talk to everyone else

You do afterall, use this site to sell your products. I don't think anyone would attempt make a case that it's not your your right to do so. So why would you care if someone points it out? Because you've been in a bad mood? And everyone is supposed to know that?

And seriously...if you're so miserable that you've been in a bad mood for months on end, why do you keep doing it? Especially if you're "set", as you say? In my past I've had times in my life, where I was miserable as a result of my job. I was making almost double the money I'm now making, but I hated it. For my own mental welfare, I had to walk away. Obviously I had to make sacrifices, couldn't have as many of the things I wanted, but it was well worth it.

And with kids the ages of yours, how much are you missing out on if you're working 80 or 110 hours a week? Over the years I've not always agreed with you about how you ran this site and WC. But one thing that always kept me respecting you was the admiration that the people who work with you and know you personally had for you. I also always got the feeling from reading things you've written that your family was very important to you. All the times I caught myself saying "what an infuriating ass!", there was always a thought in the back of my mind that despite the way you come off, you must be a good guy "in real life". I'm not saying you're not a good guy still, but 80-110 it worth the mental and emotional toll?
on Feb 28, 2006
If that's the sort of vibe that you want people to have in this "community", that's your perogative. But maybe you should have a warning on all your posts for people to talk to you differently than they talk to everyone else
Brad is tired. He is far from the ogre described; I have had controversy with him but we both show sincere, mutual respect.

Illuminating, honest blog, Brad.

on Feb 28, 2006
I dunno if Brad remembers it, but I gave him a talking to once about this sort of thing. Brad's problem is he cares what we, the peons think. Any other CEO wouldn't be caught dead yukking it up with the unwashed on a messageboard. Moreso, if there were a rulebook to being a CEO it would probably state plainly that you should never, ever be caught doing anything this familiar and public.

I think it is admirable, but it also puts him in this position. We used to argue like mad at Wincustomize, and my point was someone like Brad shouldn't have to prove himself to anyone. He's earned his position, and people can take his opinions or leave leave them. He used to have knock-down/drag-outs with the most asinine little twirps that you wouldn't have expected to be able to even boot a computer. I remember sitting there thinking "he's lowering himself to this level because he cares what this twirp thinks".

So when I see something like this happen, it doesn't strike me the way it strikes other people. People think of him as if he were some tyrant in his little kingdom. In reality he wouldn't even be IN this little kingdom if it weren't for the interaction. He had JoeUser all to himself and chose to let other people in. If you are staying in a CEO's guest house, and you decide to be insultint... well, think about where you are and why you even have the ability, i.e the proximity, to insult him.

I'm not brown nosing. Brad can be an utter dick when he wants to be, but so can any of us. The difference is none of us would be willing to pay literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide free crap to people, and then yuk it up with them on the messageboards. If someone makes their playground available to you at great expense, they've earned the right to be themselves, warts and all, without getting much grief for it. When you tell them to run along, well, you get what you ask for.
on Feb 28, 2006
Although your occasional show of arrogance and superiority irritates at times, I don't think you are as bad as some people might think you to be...I mean, how much of a jerk can you be if you are married to Jill, who to me is a level headed, intelligent woman, and a caring &devoted mother and wife. I am sure she sees many wonderful sides of you that we will never know of on here.

I honestly don't think it's of any use to complain about your status on here, either...I mean, hey, you are the owner right, and you call the shots...I accept that. Plus, I like this place. The only thing I would ever ask of you and anyone else on here is respect--not recognition, not a friendship, not an elite status--just respect, which is something I feel I show everyone on here...and that everyone else should show towards others, no matter how much you disagree with them.

Just two things to add before I go: I think that LW's writing will definitely be missed...she is indeed talented, and has a decent following on here. Also, I agree with the others...give yourself a break. It sounds as if you are burned out from working too much.
on Feb 28, 2006
Excellent article. 111 hour week? That's insane. I thought my week of hell at old country buffet was bad at 90 hour week, but same time, we were very seriously understaffed during one of more busier weeks, 2 compared to normal 5.

I wouldn't mind a job at Stardock, but There's not much I can do. I'm at college and almost done on Computer Network Admin, but that's not a job that can be done remotely.
on Feb 28, 2006
Sorry to hear you're getting shot at, Drag.

Surely it hasn't escaped you that some people are addicted to this site and all the attention/drama/whathaveyou that it generates in their lives. Maybe it DID escape you and so the natural recoil of a crack addict without their crack was a curve out of left field. Whatever the case, thanks for my little spot in the blogosphere where I have been free to metaphorically drool in a literal way for over two years.

As far as your article goes, I enjoyed it. The unfortunate thing about it is that those who understand it aren't your problem, so you're sort of preaching to the choir. It's like trying to run Windows XP software on a 386. The 386 isn't guilty for not wanting to understand the program, it just doesn't have the capacity to.

Take yourself a break. Every 64 bit visionary in this 32 bit world needs one on occasion.
on Feb 28, 2006
I am no Stardock customer.

I have never bought a Stardock product and JoeUser is the only Stardock product I use. I have "used" JoeUser when it was Brad's personal weblog (meaning I have read it).

And I appreciate JoeUser for the gift it has always been.

I can't believe people would email Brad personally about JoeUser problems. I can't believe they actually complain. What are they thinking?

Anyway, I am glad I can publish my aggressive rants where at least some people will read them. And I am glad for the friends I made here.

This is something Brad has given me, for free.