An Open Apology to Hacker School

Dear Hacker School,

We’re sorry.

Two months ago, we had a hotel and an idea, and then we messed up.

I had been planning to spend a year traveling while working on side projects and learning new things. However, I was sad to be leaving behind the thriving tech communities I’d found in Philly and New York.

I spoke with a hotel that had extra capacity for the fall, and an idea struck — what if we created our own community down in Costa Rica?

I had long admired your work at Hacker School. Programming is something that is best learned by doing, and you’d taken that knowledge to heart and created an awesome alternative educational organization.

You’ve kept Hacker School 100% tuition-free, brought in high quality mentors, worked hard to create a supportive, tolerant environment, and operated with a degree of openness and transparency rarely seen in business.

Inspired by you, we decided to throw up a landing page to see if there would be any interest. Turns out, there was.

But we cut corners.

Instead of sitting down and thinking through our goals and principles, we based our copy heavily on your site. We took some parts of your page verbatim and tweaked them only slightly.

You called us out.

And you were right.

We really like what you’re doing, but that’s no excuse to plagiarize. It’s good to move fast and break things, but not to steal them.

Where We’re Going From Here

Ultimately, this led us to ask a number of questions we had previously overlooked.

Why are we building this? What do we hope to accomplish? What can we offer that’s not already out there?

As a result of this questioning, we realized that we wanted to take our project in a different direction.

At its core, our idea was about giving engineers the opportunity to travel without losing the intellectual back and forth they’d find in a major tech hub. However, we realized that in addition to people who wanted to focus exclusively on learning, our retreat would also be attractive to digital nomads.

Now, our community is turning out to be a diverse mix of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and people looking to hack on side projects and learn new things.

It’s quite a bit different than your approach at Hacker School, but we think that’s a good thing. We love your manual and your blog, and are learning tons from them, but we don’t want to be just another copycat organization, and we think there’s room for both of us out on the playground : )

So again, we’re sorry. We made a mistake, and it won’t happen again.

Casey & the Hacker Paradise team