Why is silicon valley great?
“Everyone is willing to help each other”
“There is a pay is forward culture”
“It is buzzing with ideas”
Need to stay up in order to launch a product: “ha, always be shipping!”.
Need to postpone that trip because things are just to hectic while trying to get metrics up for that ‘A’ raise: “Stick with it, we have all been there”.
Writing your ‘we gave it all we had’ post on Medium before locking up?: “So sorry to hear that, think of how much you will have learned for next time!”
While yes, this is a small subculture in terms of technology at large it does seem to have an outsized impact. Personally I believe it stems from the acceptance of work being the center of your life.
For the majority of people they really don’t want to go all in on their idea. I can think of a handful of companies that are really out for social good and to change the world. And they are not the ones that use that message on their hiring pages. No, Slack, Uber, and all the other workplace apps probably weren’t driven by the founders true ‘passion’ in that space. That may well be the narrative told, but I simply don’t believe it. :)
Investment plays a large part in this delusion. Today the mantra is growth, growth, growth. Users, time spent, interactions, impressions, headcount; it is all a bit dizzying. From the outside people would hardly believe the lengths to which startups go bumping up these numbers. This focus on the hyper-growth, ‘1 will pay for 100’ model ends up as a lose-lose situation for most people working at early stage companies. You either sacrifice your youth in favor of working to attain exit velocity, or you give up on your dream of changing the world. There is a surprising lack of a middle ground -in the tech world at least.
This is a grand oversimplification of a nuanced issue. There are founders out there that can attain their version of work/life balance. More power to them! There are also people who truly enjoy their work, and are willing to cut corners in other parts of their life in order to make this reality work.
I have been thinking about ways to talk about small ways to improve our education system. Baby steps as it were.
I predict that there will be a wave of people leaving San Fransisco in the next few year where 2-3 years out they will realize just what that mentality costs.
People always overestimate the things that make them happy and underestimate the the value of the things they are not aware off, ie opportunity cost.
By default, most things should be in this grey area.
Document the things that you do in your life. What makes you happy, what doesn’t? What could you change?
My favorite example of this is a section of the Invest Like the Best podcast where Nikhil describes what I call the substitution effect.
A coffee shop that I loved closed down and I was sad about it.
So I started having breakfast with my wife.
I realized that something that I thought made me happy was actually something that was making me sad compared to what I could have.
Everything is relative. What is important is relative. What is meaningful, worthwhile, serious, enjoyable, terrible and deplorable is relative. What have you done that makes you think you are living anywhere close to an optimal life? How can you change your life to make sure that you get continually happier with each year. The more you know the better you should be equipped to put yourself in a position to be truly happy.
Work is really important
This is the capitalist sentiment.