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I think it's very clear the parent was not referring to Upwork as a nascent service. They were speaking generally about the process that leads to a culture of ingrained behavior over time, which starts from that nascent service context.

You can derive that is very likely the case based on the intelligence and composure of the rest of their post. You can also derive it directly from the full paragraph text, which is not referring specifically to Upwork, rather it is referring to Silicon Valley broadly, and why "things" developed the way they did with how SV firms have tended to treat customers/users.

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