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Special to the kids on SIGIA-L. Posted on 01/10/2002.

Funny how when presented a detailed factual argument, ol' Ziya pretty much sputters in reply (though, the fact he has nothing to say doesn't stop him from posting either. That man has the worst case of Male Answer Syndrome I've ever seen on a mailing list. A little Googling demonstrates SIGIA isn't the only realm so plagued...)

26 comments so far. Add a comment.

Previous entry: "All glowy and white."
Next entry: "Interaction Design, Meet User Experience."


It's a pity webdesign-l doesn't have an archive. He's worse there than anywhere else. How he finds the time, I'll never know.
Posted by Anil @ 01/10/2002 11:04 PM PST [link to this comment]

I always thought Ziya was female (maybe because the name ends with an "a"). Luckily, I created an email rule to delete all messages from Ziya upon arrival, long ago. I feel quite certain that I haven't missed anything.
Posted by Brad Lauster @ 01/11/2002 12:24 AM PST [link to this comment]

That "detailed factual argument" is bogus.

"Net profit minus cost of sales" is a meaningless figure. If you buy goods at $x and spend $y on marketing, then the $z you make from the sale of the goods better be greater than $x + $y.

Thornton's argument ignores $y. That's just bad business sense.

Market share and total sales are meaningless unless accompanied by a positive net profit. Business basics. Amazon doesn't have that. Hence the business is a failure.

The Goal of a business is to make money.

Posted by Anthony @ 01/11/2002 02:31 AM PST [link to this comment]

Ofcourse you can post whatever you want, but just so you know, I find this post rather distasteful.
Posted by Peter @ 01/11/2002 07:23 AM PST [link to this comment]

Actually, I think Thornton's reply is full of red herrings and some unintentional misinterpretation--e.g. Ziya says Amazon *has* a nice book operation, while Thornton takes him to task for saying it *is* a nice book operation. All the numbers only serve to cover the fact that Amazon hasn't made money.
Posted by Gene @ 01/11/2002 08:06 AM PST [link to this comment]

Please. Pot, kettle, black. You're as bad as he/she is. And no, I'm not Ziya.
Posted by c'mon peter @ 01/11/2002 08:24 AM PST [link to this comment]

Hrm. There's a reason Slashdot labels all anonymity as cowardice.
Posted by peterme @ 01/11/2002 08:38 AM PST [link to this comment]

COMMENT #8 Ziya's defense, you only get 4 pages of google returns when you type in "ziya oz" (with quotes) as opposed to ziya oz, no quotes. And you get 8 with "Peter Merholz." ;-) Anyhoo... I don't usually find Ziya's stuff that offensive.
Posted by Anne @ 01/11/2002 08:47 AM PST [link to this comment]

Anil's right about webdesign-l, but is really the forum for picking on individual mailing list posters? Seems out of place to me.
Posted by judith @ 01/11/2002 09:59 AM PST [link to this comment]

I'm not a sigia-l subscriber, but I am an occasional poster / steady consumer of webdesign-l*. Not a fan of Ziya Oz, but taking someone to task on your blog for their contributions to a mailing list discussion seems a bit nutty. Incidentally, I found your remark regarding anon comments highly amusing - considering that you've just recently stooped to personally bashing someone on your blog.

I've been a steady reader of this site for over a year. Please climb back out of the gutter so that I can keep coming here.

xoxo, roy

*IMHO, the ott (one true troll) of webdesign-l is actually Steve Champion.
Posted by roy @ 01/11/2002 12:46 PM PST [link to this comment]

Judith, as ever, raises a good point of conscience. It's perhaps a bit unkind a way to rebuke someone, but I've done the same in a roughly analogous situation on my site, and I felt justified because, to me, writing about it on the place that I created to vent my opinions seemed appropriate.

And, perhaps more to the point, it somehow seemed *less* intrusive to me than emailing someone to let them know you disagree, since that always devolves into bickering.

That being said, I might have contributed in making the tone a little harsher than it needed to be, so sorry to Ziya and to Peter.
Posted by Anil @ 01/11/2002 01:25 PM PST [link to this comment]

if i had said the exact same stuff about, say, jakob, people wouldn't have blinked twice. (accusing him of male answer syndrome. or inability to put forth a cogent argument). when i lambast someone deserving, i'm called out for it?

this intrigues me.

and, any mailing list with public archives is open for discussion, no?

sigh. i'm probably digging myself a whole here.
Posted by peterme @ 01/11/2002 01:29 PM PST [link to this comment]

to me, it's about the forum - a jakob pronouncement is generally put forth in a more public venue than a mailing list, and jakob is a public figure in a more deliberate way than ziya. arguably, the notion of "public" is more fluid than it once was, and clearly the mailing list archives are publicly accessible.

but it seems to me that your readers (myself included) are saying that it *feels* like you've taken something from what is at best a semi-public medium and made it more visible in a way that didn't seem particularly useful. like you've taken out a billboard on the highway instead of posting a flyer within your own neighborhood.
Posted by judith @ 01/11/2002 04:07 PM PST [link to this comment]

Digging yourself a whole what?
Posted by Steve Portigal @ 01/12/2002 10:18 AM PST [link to this comment]

I think he meant "hole". Probably tired from all that Ziya bashing :D
Posted by Ooze @ 01/12/2002 11:53 PM PST [link to this comment]

Hey also: what's with you and Christina calling people on the SIGIA list "kids"? I mean, you're younger than me, and younger than many other posters on the list (probably younger than Ziya, FWIW).

It kind of comes across as "you kids who aren't as knowledgeable as me."

When you're 60, you can call people in their 30's and 40's "kids."
Posted by andrew @ 01/13/2002 02:16 AM PST [link to this comment]

Hey, and speaking of knowledge - Peter, what's your educational background? I was looking at your resume, and you don't mention it. Just curious.
Posted by Dorian @ 01/13/2002 12:27 PM PST [link to this comment]

It's, you know, funny! Ha ha! Kind of ironic, because I'm young, and calling you "kids." Ha. Funny. Hoo.

Educational background--
B.A., anthropology, UC Berkeley. Apart from that, either autodidactic, or fortunate enough to work with amazing people from whom I learned.
Posted by peterme @ 01/14/2002 09:13 AM PST [link to this comment]

I found Ziya's insights into Net Applications to be very useful - cutting through the crap that is sent back at IAs from a programming team. I think he has solved a lot of problems (generously) for posters on SIG-IA.
Posted by Timo @ 01/15/2002 03:23 PM PST [link to this comment]

I also appreciate Ziya's comments far more often than not. I also have not much patience for questions that go around and around without answer, and for what I think of as "dumb questions." Some people want to respond to those, some don't.

At least Ziya doesn't post messages written in MS-specific HTML, which remains a daily annoyance on SIGIA. This is the only list I'm on that still can't get it together to provide a decently formatted digest version.
Posted by Andrew @ 01/16/2002 12:35 AM PST [link to this comment]

For people who are supposed to be more clued-in than the rest of the Net populace, some of the folks on SIGIA-L and AIGA-Experience Design (especially the latter) have absolutely no idea of email etiquette on mailing lists. I subscribe to both on digest, and people will post in HTML (why the hell is HTML allowed on sigia-l anyway?) and post one line replies that quote ten previous threads in their entirety. It's hell to read. Sometimes I feel like strangling the offenders.

It's sad, I tell you. Maybe these people should all go read this article by Matt Haughey. Pay special attention to the paragraph subtitled "Quoting".

Posted by MadMan @ 01/16/2002 03:34 AM PST [link to this comment]

Anyway, I think that Ziya was actually correct in his initial response to the "Amazon is uniquly positioned to be a success" post. His response was, no, they haven't yet actually made money in what, five years? IOW, no profit = not positioned to suceed.

See Amazon posts first profitable year:
Posted by Andrew @ 01/23/2002 02:14 AM PST [link to this comment]

Hmmm. Not too many business majors on this site. I am still ga-ga flabergasted at a group of 'nobodies' (only in relative terms...I count myself among you) who badmouth the progress of a company that has surpased the revenue growth of any company in American history: Going from $15.75 MIL in 1996 to $3.12 BIL in 2001 (

My focus is on their ability to be successful at generating revenue. But in real terms has already been clearly designated as profitable (as illustrated in the following article, using the same figures I quoted: --- Note opening comment "It already has.")

Besides, Enron clearly proved that making a profit for stakeholders is no sign of endurance. It's a matter of who's left standing after the fight.

Besides, if each of us had to put our personal financials into investment ratios, our PE/s would not likely stack up to Amazon's. I'm not saying that they're a good stock investment, I am saying that they're a good company and that they are worthy of being referenced for best practices.
Posted by Paula @ 02/27/2002 11:35 AM PST [link to this comment]

I'm really saddened to come across this page (after looking for Ziya on Google). Ziya may be a smartass but if he did not conribute anything useful he would be ignored. His intelligence and inciseveness creates a bit of rigour on the SIGIA-L. Both of you share your experience and insight in different ways only Ziya's got the maturity not to waste his time creating pages like this. This undermines the trust I have in the materials and approach company has shared.
Posted by Duich Mckay @ 04/13/2002 02:28 PM PST [link to this comment]

Ziya somehow finds the time to work the SIGIA-L like there's no tomorrow. Cool enough. That's his deal. My only gripe is his fucking sig file:



He could've shit on your head, but it's always "best." Annoying.



"I'm not writing my book, I'm just ignoring you"
Posted by Sean Patrick Coon @ 04/30/2002 02:36 PM PST [link to this comment]

Interesting -- I got to this forum because I typed Ziya Oz into google and ALL I saw was this and archived posts. I think about 10% of what I've read of his posts on many lists we are both on is useful. I kind of wonder what he does that leaves the time to cause so much traffic on that list. Others are far more insightful and humble, and it makes for a friendly community. He comes across like a man who to feel secure needs to be "right" and "smarter" than everyone else. So, so, immature and boring.
Posted by Seline @ 05/13/2002 10:50 AM PST [link to this comment]

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