The crown shaping surprised him: the holes weren't obvious in pattern photos.
Stacking the single-crochet increases on top of each other was a design choice that I made, but I know it may not be everyone's cup of tea. (Besides the whole hole issue, you wind up with a hexagon instead of a perfect circle, for instance.)
Then my friend said something that's music to a designer's ears: "Next time I make this hat, I'll stagger the increases."
"Next time" is the key phrase here. Someone likes the pattern enough to make it again! Perhaps with a tweak or two. . . .