To me this looks like:
1. Sleeping hours seems to be genetic, telling an 8 hour sleeper to just sleep 6 is going to undermine chances
2. People's productivity seems to drop after about 40 hours per week, especially if sustained long term. Outliers exist, but coercing a non-outlier to try and act like one leads to a reduction in total productivity, not an increase.
3. If investors really want people who are outliers they should find a way to test/verify they're working with outliers. Burning out the leader of a company they've invested in is counterproductive, it will just lead to the loss of their investment. Once the company is funded the investor should do what they can to make that specific person do their optimal path, which may include sleeping 12 hours a night.
They valorize the overworking founder with no personal life, and have grown up with not-so-accurate tales of the Big Names who were like that. And so you get quite sincerely held but incorrect beliefs that are shockingly resistant to evidence.
Welcome to the human species.
Only short term -- they don't care for either burnout or quality. The want some shit produced fast they can use to exit.
Probably the most proximate and salient example for me is mathematicians. A lot of them seem to have an almost monkish devotion to math, and breaking their brain day in and day out with little reprieve doesn't seem to bother them at all.
Although entrepreneurs are probably not nearly so eclectic, I don't think it's strange to think they might be somewhat exceptional in this regard.
0. Companies that fail rarely fail because of delivery speed (e.g. yahoo mail vs google mail).
1. Investors mistakenly believe working harder is the key to startup success.
2. Investors also have a financial incentive to objectify/manipulate workers, even when those very workers may have negligible equity often they are put under more pressure than the investors themselves.
3. Mission-focused-talk is likely to be disingenuous because investors know most companies will fail, and those mission statements are lofty anyways.
I largely agree with each of these points, however I think the attitude is too gloom-and-doom. If you stay late at work, it's because you chose to. If you're afraid of losing your job if you don't, that's because of market forces.
I also believe that working smart rather than hard helps the investors as much as the individual, so there is a win-win if people are open-minded to it.
So? How does that invalidate what they write? Market forces do exist, doesn't mean people should use them as a leverage to fuck people over.
When, in your mind, "more hours = more product", then it's not a huge leap to think that the abusive and ridiculous parts of the "Silicon Valley Model" are the reasons for their success, not that the success happens despite it.
I've run across several local (and very far from Silicon Valley) businesses that try and model themselves after the Silicon Valley startups, thinking it's some key to success. But the parts they model aren't the parts that, arguably, actually lead to success - exploring new ideas, MVPs, failing fast, making industry connections - it's the workspace design and cultural attitude towards hours and work/home balance.
We have several local web development shops that try and act like Silicon Valley while pumping out $3k brochure websites, and can't figure out why they're not rich yet.
| Rabois came to Thiel's attention after he was found outside an instructor's home, shouting homophobic slurs and the suggestion that the instructor "die of AIDS."
I must be doing this all wrong.
From Rabois' letter to the Stanford Daily regarding the incident:
> I don't necessarily hate homosexuals, but do believe in Jack Kemp's suggestion that they may not be the best teachers of young children in public schools and recognize that the spread of AIDS has a direct casual link back to their activity. I hate Democrats, not homosexuals; they're the ones that have hurt the country.
Well-sourced article on this:
Also, I just learned, Rabois left square over allegations of sexual harassment.
Wonder why the so-called PC-police haven't taken his job yet... </s>
Do you disagree generally with US law that public figures do not have the same rights to privacy as other people?
But is it sustainable? Obviously, a young person can do it for years. But can they do it for decades? Or is there a cumulative cost that will shorten their life?
It also matters whether those long hours involve constant sitting or not. Is there a lot of creative interaction? Do they personally care about the mission of the company? Or is just about the money?
What does one have to do with the other?
Unless we can view an alternate timeline where Elon wasn't a workaholic, it's impossible to know if working long hours increased, decreased, or had a net neutral effect on his success.
It really depends on the individual.
Clearly Elon made his choice, but he has kids he loves and a business empire. I wouldn't even go as far to say that he did it just for the sake of business success. I think he has long ago dedicated his life to the human race as a whole and his success in business came as a byproduct.
This seems disingenuous, given that Kobe does a lot more than just work out.
Totally agree with his overall point though.
Point is that even one of the best players of all time was not out there practicing for 12 hour days every day. Resting the body was key to having a long and successful career.
I was inches away from a total breakdown this past November after putting in months of long (some up to 90 hour) weeks.
Following the conclusion of the project I took some time off; almost an entire month (thank god for the xmas/new year holidays). For me, it was that or compromise my long-term health. The time off came and went, and I didn't feel revitalized at all, not a single bit. I started to think the problem was me. However, more recently I took another vacation, but this one was only a week long. In this instance though, when I came back from my time away, I felt more like myself, more productive, and happier than I had in years.
So what was the difference? During my first vacation I was still on-call, I was still expected to reply to emails and chat in a timely manner, review pull requests and so on --- you know, the stuff that is part of the "off-the-clock" aspect of many of our jobs. Essentially, while physically I wasn't at work, mentally I didn't leave the office for a single second.
This second vacation? It was the first time I my spouse of eight years and I were able to take a vacation together, in my mind it was the honeymoon we never got to have. So, I spoke with my management and asked for permission to go completely offline for the week. After some negotiation, I was granted the permission to do so. When I left the office for the last time before starting my holiday, I sat in my car and disabled all work related notifications and alerts, then I just sat there for as long as it took for the panic of knowing those notifications were disabled to subside.
It may feel like you're only taking 30 seconds out of your time away from work to send off a quick two-sentence e-mail reply or thumb-up a tiny pull request. However, many of us are already too deep in the hole of a workaholic mindset to even see all of the hidden costs of such behaviors and thinking, regardless if they are personal, professional, mental, or physical.
(P.S. Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Frquhar, the founders of Atlassian, hosted a great presentation/panel discussion during the 2016 Atlassian Summit where they talked about and hosted a panel discussion surrounding the issues of workaholism and burnout and how they handle it at Atlassian.
During this sessions they spoke about how within Atlassian, if somebody (probably of significant importance at least...) is exhibiting the typical signs of burnout as we currently understand them they will force the affected employee to take a vacation, not a stay-at-home vacation, but an go-out-and-have-fun type vacation. They've even gone as far to conspire with the spouses of affected employees to ensure that they leave their company provided devices at home and do not bring them with them on vacation)
P.P.S. If you are interested in learning more about workaholsim and burn out: what it feels like, how to spot it within your team and colleagues, and how to actually help those being affected by it -- I would suggest you check out Avleen Vig's USENIX LISA 2016 presentation [Don't Burn Out or Fade Away](https://www.slideshare.net/avleenvig/dont-burn-out-or-fade-a...)
You need to get out of that incredibly toxic environment.
It sounds like OP has put himself into this situation and made himself indispensable and now he needs to figure out how to fix it.
So, it seems to me that meetings, lost time and dicking around don't count as workaholism on the part of the worker, if they are the result of someone else's decision.
In my mind any type of behaviour becomes a disorder when it has a negative effect on the ability of that person to function. As a result, the answer is "it depends". Personally, I'd say you have a problem if:
1. You have no time or energy to address responsibilities outside of work (budget, chores, etc).
2. You are experiencing a negative impact on personal relationships with friends, family, spouse, children, etc, due to excessive work.
3. You have no time or energy to engage in physical exercise outside of work.
4. You have no time or energy to engage in extracurricular activities outside of work.
I'd also couple in physical symptoms related to continuous stress, including sleep disturbances, mood control issues, high blood pressure, etc.
Sure, you can succeed if you're a top 0.1% programmer, and you don't have to work as much as other people. Do other people who are ambitious but not quite as talented have the same luxury?
I tried the whole busting ass thing in my early years as a freelancer. I bombed, my output went down with no correlation to working hours whatsoever, I developed obvious markers for anxiety and it took years to get away from that.
Maybe if your job consists of answer dumb emails every day, but there's indeed a very limited number of productive, concentrated work you can get done during the day.
Most of the people who claim to work excessive amounts of overtime waste a humongous amount of time on meetings, confirmations, transportation and phone calls. If anything, they might have a mission and purpose that helps them stay up.
But to pretend that you can crank out code like a machine all day every day is the biggest greatest farce of our profession.