Money also takes precious time and opportunity to earn. Know what you want and aim for it asap. All the money in the world won't buy you fond memories of an adventurous youth if you spent all of your teens, 20s and 30s slaving away for currency that can be inflated to nothingness over time. All the money in the world won't save you if you end up accepting a totalitarian world where you or your loved ones can be cast away by armed police or where making one-too-many Taiwanese friends endangers your social standing.
Seriously, you see workers dying at work in China weekly from exhaustion; due to their cultural and political repression they have to stick with it; now what does that say about people in the West calling for the same?
I don't think they were better off before China turned to capitalism. Colonial Americans also pretty much worked themselves to death (according to archaeological evidence). Things got steadily better as the industrial revolution took hold.
I'm not sure if this thinkpiece is really meant for Silicon Valley employees. I think the goal (conscious or otherwise) is to inspire and align incoming or yet-to-prove-themselves Sequoia-backed founders. I expect the veteran Sequoia founders (some of them which treat their employees tremendously well and fairly) will take this advice a little more lightly: they understand how to motivate and get the most out their employees far better than Mike Moritz does and it's certainly not by saying, "work harder because of China and reasons also your happiness means nothing to us muahahah."
But the subtext here is: if you're a founder looking for an investment from Sequoia, China is in play in a big way, and you'd do well to follow their lead. Founders intentionally burn the midnight oil and give up their lives to pursue a dream or vision, and willingly sacrifice a large chunk of their careers to generate returns for their investors with the understanding that this is how you play in the big leagues. The coach says "jump" and you ask "how high?"
There's a big kerfuffle raised, this article gets blasted around tech circles, every founder reads it, and the point gets made. The implication is that if you don't want to work harder than you've worked in your life, don't think about Sequoia money. Whether that's the reality of actually working with Sequoia or not is immaterial, there's a cult of personality and a commitment. Some part of me believes (maybe naively) that 10/10 times Mike Moritz would prefer the balanced, brilliant strategist and product founders who keep fit and still work a solid work-week to the narcissists willing to burn themselves out being easily manipulated by an article like this. My impression is that's all this is - a filter.
I could be wrong, but we don't need to manufacture outrage here. VC gonna VC. Maybe this is a tone deaf opinion piece, or maybe in the current bull market of (potentially irrational) exuberance, Mike feels the need to make this assertion to new and upcoming founders to keep them aligned, public image be damned. Employees say, "hogwash" but if a founder puts in even an extra 2%, that's going to be have multiplicative effects. The founders willing to burn their teams out will fail quickly and be selected against.
If you work for a Sequoia-backed company and this is concerning to you (or you feel like you're being burned out), ask your founder(s) their opinion and voice concerns. VCs don't make the decisions at the end of the day, the CEO does, and you likely joined your company for a reason and trust your CEO: they're human beings, they're responsible for your wellbeing, a good CEO will keep your best interests in mind as best they can.
(That said, maybe I'm reading too much into it and it's just a poorly timed opinion piece. Either way. Bring up concerns with your founders if you're worried. Not sure we need to run the outrage train on the age-old story of "VCs expect founders to work hard.")
To see why, read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. The purpose of HN to gratify intellectual curiosity. I'm impressed that a number of users responded to this post in that spirit, but that's unusual. In general, internet rage is a self-licking ice cream cone, and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16194750 is far more typical.
This is obviously a controversial topic. You say you're impressed with how people have responded - why not let "the market" sort itself out? Mike is a very influential figure in SV, and it might be good for the community as a whole to air their grievances and try and work out how they themselves feel about the issue, and broader implications about the world of VC and how it interplays with companies, founders and employees. I worry that by moderating this HN is artificially contributing to the echo chamber here; flagging this post doesn't remove the Facebook posts and Tweets proclaiming the evils of VC without room for discussion.
Given the right framing, I think it's possible to turn "outrage" pieces into thoughtful discussion pieces and examine the intricacies of why individuals may have certain opinions or behave certain ways. Facebook and Twitter aren't great mediums; Twitter is practically an outrage-manufacturing hot-take machine and Facebook is restrictive in content distribution. I guess part of me just wonders if by silencing outrage we're actually helping it proliferate in other mediums - that emotional energy has to dissipate somewhere.
Edit: Saw your edit with link to guidelines afterwards. I understand completely. Given this is a hot-button topic I guess I was supposing this might be a good opportunity to let people air out concerns, but I also understand the need to be consistent in enforcement. Cheers!
When the topic of such posts probably have a > 0 percent stake in YC companies, such actions from mods is only to be expected to some degree.
Linking to posts where you say "less not more" is much different then say, getting the flag/weighting factor data on every post, and running a classifier that segments out YC affiliated ones from ones that are not, and there being a statistical representation of your assertion.
But like I've said to some degree before, your forum, your rules :)
There's a deeper issue too. We don't think about HN in terms of furthering YC's immediate interests. Nothing could be dumber, because the community would notice immediately—in Monty Python's classic phrase, "God would see through a cheap ploy like that". We just think about how to make HN more interesting. That's how to make it more valuable—including its hard business value. I wrote about this here too:
Of course we use 'interesting' in a somewhat specialized way, and no community of this size can ever be entirely pleased, as people differ in what interests them. But if we moderate a post like the OP, it isn't because of an opinion about venture capital or China or workers or whatever. It's because of what counts as interesting on HN, and what we know from experience adds or detracts from it.
By the way, why do I get less than half the karma points my contributions get? I am a long time quality contributor. Why am I getting penalized?
Not all votes on submissions count towards karma because of HN's anti-gaming software, which has measures to prevent karma-building rings and whatnot. You're not treated differently from any other user.
Those kids growing up with absent parents are going to have some psychological problems and some desires in common. The US had its "greatest generation", followed by their children, the boomers; China will not escape that cycle. Despite their cultural isolation and the Great Firewall, they will have a generation that will want to live very differently from their parents.
There's no denying China's incredible growth over the last couple of decades, but there's an excellent debate to be had about the long-term effects of that growth.
Of course, VC's aren't known for their long-term thinking.
Working so much loses its importance once your country already has those things, because it burns an entire generation, where people aren't humans, but just working machines.
Another really short sighted article by a very very smart VC.
Edit: Also, please don't ban me.
Edit: I will refrain from future attacks in return for not being banned.
(Public figure doesn't enter into it, btw, because the issue is the effect of such posts on the community here.)
Imagine company A and company B are equal in all ways, except company B's workers work twice as much. If they come into competition, company A will be crushed.
All the SF tech companies will come into competition with Chinese companies in the next 20 years. And there's a chance they just get outworked.
I imagine Chinese work ethic had something to do with the destruction of the Rust Belt, no?
In Japan it is well-known that a long-hours work culture doesn't translate to actual productive work. People end up being masters of "looking productive" rather than actually being productive.
A similar argument applies to the economies of Europe and the USA in parts the 20th century. A lot was similar, but Americans had the better work ethic.
Of course, work ethic doesn't explain everything. But it's really freaking important.
It says Americans work 25% more. This is usually the conclusion of this kind of thing.
I agree that Americans on average spend more time in work.
More conrroversially, I also think that the notion of work ethics should count in also what you do at work and crunch stories about people sleeping under table should not count as better work ethics. E.g. more hours less effectively is not better work ethics. (That is not to imply American companies are less effective per hour, I don't think that is the case.)
This was studied extensively in WW2 where people wanted to work long hours to win the war. Productivity would rise when hours rose, and after a few weeks it would fall below that of a 40 hr week. The solution was to do longer hours in spurts.
This knowledge gets lost regularly and rediscovered.
I became interested when this happened: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f8/18/f8/f818f8735acfdbf8f4a6...