How our tribute to “The Hacker Way” pissed off a Facebook designer

Inspired by this photo and Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to shareholders, we decided to get some of the posters the Facebook guys have on their offices. That letter and the messages on those posters resonated with our “Hacker Mentality”. So, we decided to make a few prints for ourselves and some to give a way to the presenters at the upcoming Barcamp Mayagüez which we helped organize.

We searched the web and found nothing, so we decided to order prints. In the process we learned that good quality poster prints are expensive and we had to order hundreds. So, we did what hackers do, find a way around the problem.

After some math it turned out we needed about $900 to get the posters printed. So, we made a store on Goodsie and offered the posters at $0 profit, in order to sell enough of them to be able to get them printed. We wanted posters not to make a business out of them.

This morning I searched our store url on twitter and found this tweet by Ben Barry, the awesome Facebook designer that made the original posters. Before reading this tweet, we were unaware of who the designer was.

Needless to say, we felt pretty bad and took the store down immediately. When we made the posters we saw them as an ode to Facebook. We felt inspired by their “Hacker Way” and wanted to emulate and share their spirit with our very young and small startup community. We don’t run a poster business and we don’t want a poster business.

But, even though our motivation was clear and honest we want to apologize to Ben Barry for using his designs without asking. It was a rookie mistake. We did not think of what we where doing as taking advantage of a very talented designer, we saw it as “spreading the word”. Sorry.

What’s next
We are going to refund every one of the 12 buyers. We will find another way of getting those words into the hands of the members of our community. Maybe Facebook should find a way of selling the posters and ship them to Puerto Rico. We would buy a few of them.

That’s it, now back to work.

The designer decided to release the posters under a Creative Commons license. Here’s the link to the posters.