Why being offended by Mahbod’s “Stealing from Whole Foods” article automatically makes you a goob

I just arrived in LA, back from a weekend trip to San Francisco. A few minutes ago, I was on my phone, flicking through Twitter during that brief period between when the plane lands, and when you can actually get off, and I happened to stumble upon a dialogue between Mark Suster,  Ben Horrowitz, Paul Roales, and Mahbod Moghaddam that rather annoyed me. As it happens, I’ve got a laptop, a bone to pick, and thirty minutes on a bus between LAX and Union Station. Here’s the short version: anyone who’s actually offended by Mahbod’s “How to Steal From Whole Foods” article is a total goober.

What is a goober? It’s pretty much my favorite word, that’s what. The actual definition is wildly complex and is worth explaining as the subject of another article, but for what it’s worth, if you don’t already have a vague inkling as to what a goober is, chances are you probably are one.

Anyway, a few days ago, Mahbod wrote this article, which, in my humble opinion, was pretty damn funny. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. If you have, you know it’s a tongue in cheek guide to affordable, organic shopping, which is apparently pretty helpful when bootstrapping a startup. I read it, laughed hysterically, and then showed it to my girlfriend who did the same. Then I shared it on Twitter and learned that quite a few others found it similarly entertaining. I also noticed, though, that there was a second stream of reactions coming from certain groups of people, and that those comments were quite the opposite of mine.

Basically, there are only two kinds of people that could possibly react negatively to Mahbod’s article. The first kind are the completely clueless. These people read the article as if it were a literal instruction manual and got freaked out because a “bad” person was getting press by encouraging immoral behavior. They took to the internet to right a wrong, reminding everyone that even though Mahbod’s techniques may be tempting to try, we shouldn’t give in to temptation because thievery is illegal. These are the people who think the response they’re going to get from the internet is, “Wow, you’re right, stealing is wrong. Good point. I never thought about it that way.” These people are pretty oblivious, but that’s okay; They’re not bothering anyone, and I don’t fault them for it.

The second kind though, are the Silicon Valley techwads. Unlike the completely clueless, these guys recognize that the article is mostly tongue in cheek–if they’d seen it in a book on a table in an Urban Outfitters they wouldn’t have thought twice about it– but they still choose to criticize it as a display of their moral integrity to the rest of the valley, completely unaware that we can see right through them. These goobers are the kind of people that don’t see the irony in wearing a shirt that says “ASK A FOUNDER” (I actually saw this yesterday), as if the entire reason they started their company was so that they could wear such a shirt and showcase the fact that they’re better than everyone else. Let me tell you something: These people are far more selfish, arrogant, and elitist than people like Mahbod will ever be, and they’re total goobers, because they don’t even realize it.

People like Paul Roales are the latter type of goober. Look at this guy.

Paul Roales on twitter

Here’s my edit:

“First I worked for a VC because I wanted to get rich and feel cool. I didn’t want to code because that was for nerds. Then David Fincher turned coding cool, so I decided to do General Assembly so I could get richer and feel cooler. I have a sweet mustache though, so you know I’m still not a nerd.”

He shares things like:

because just being better than everyone isn’t even good enough for this guy. Now that he’s become a developer, he needs everyone to know that even though he’s already better than them, he’s still even better than that. It’s like listening to Jay-Z rap about his watch.  

Mahbod is damaging tech’s reputation? Guess again Paul. It’s your hoity-toity superiority complex and self-righteous attitude, not Mahbod’s silly articles, that make me embarrassed to tell people I’m a developer when I visit San Francisco.

Oh, and don’t forget the tweet that started it all:


If that isn’t brown-nosing, I don’t know what is. What a goober.


He who truly takes the moral high ground says nothing. Everyone knows the real way to fight ignorance is to put it on mute, not megaphone it around the internet.