It's very different sitting in meetings and organising the activities of other for 80+ hours a week than it is writing bug-free (or at least relatively free) production grade code.
Doing the latter for 80 hours is more likely to result in errors and mistakes that will just cost more money and time to fix than has been saved.
I suspect the engineers at his startup still only do 32 hours of actual focused work.
Sure, you can claim it's not really work in the narrow definition of work, but if you go down that path, you will end up at "it's only really work if it's physical work".
However, it's disingenuous to compare them with plowing a field, laying bricks, welding steel bars, driving a bus, serving meals or even fixing software bugs.
What may seem like "eating and drinking" for sales and biz dev folks is a game requiring thinking on your feet, subtle negotiation, reading social cues, and constant strategy changes.
That shit is difficult, tyring and definitely requires certain skills to do it right. I definitely would put it up there with developing complex Software architectures.
Trying to influence a potential client to close a multi-million dollar software contract is anything but close to 'normal' activities. It's very demanding intellectually and emotionally.
I really encourage you to learn more about what sales folks actually do when having dinner with a big prospective client. They aren't just eating.
Or the candidate may have just failed another interview hours ago because he said he enjoyed working 8 or 12 hours a day, and lose the faith of humanity all together.
You'll never know why they've generated that answer if you don't ask a follow up question.
I've seen hundreds of wantrepreneurs who call networking "work" and yet haven't shipped anything, haven't sold anything, and are just wasting everyone's time.
Yes, all of them.
I know them because I either worked for them or worked with their companies.
Things got a lot better post launch when he had more actual work to do, but I think his work weeks probably consolidated to something close to 50 hours.
Don't want to be too hard on him, since he was very good at his primary role, namely pitching the company to the investors.
I would be surprised if they were able to do even 32 hours of actual engineer work.
They can still be productive past that with tasks other than writing code, and you can push them past that temporarily to hit a deadline, but if you schedule in more than that on a regular basis, things will start to decline in all kinds of ways – morale, retention, quality, tech debt, documentation, etc.
Periodic meaningful time off is also essential – not just from a human perspective but also an operational point of view. It's better to discover single points of failure when you can plan for it rather than unexpectedly. There's an awful lot of organisations I've seen that don't realise what will happen when their lead dev quits / gets sick / gets hit by a bus. I've seen a few people say "vacation is chaos monkey for people" and it really is (anybody know the original source of that quote, by the way?).
Heck, make that after half a day of work. Try doing two 1h back to back meetings in the morning and another two in the afternoon, every day, for weeks in a row, with you as one of the key decision makers in each and every single one of those meetings. It's fulfilling but utterly draining.
> It created this lack of work ethic in me that was fundamentally detrimental to the business and to our mission […]
I'd really like to know what he means by "lack of work ethic" and why he thinks a 32 hour week contributed to that.
I think the title needs to be less click-baity.
The logical end point of this progress is 0 hours work per year and we still get everything we want. We're not quite there yet, but we're already much closer to that point than "work all the time to survive".
We should do something about resource distribution, though. I'm not saying that we would be there already if the 1% didn't steal everything, but we'd certainly be closer. Not communism or anything close to that, though, we already know that crap has no chance of working. But just something not quite so unbalanced.
So no, we'll always need room for creativity and show-off, whatever it takes, be it 40, 80, or 30 hours per week on average throughout a year. And no, it's not going to converge to 0 because it would mean pretty much the end of the evolutionary path for our species.
I'm working 70% (28 hours a week) by choice because it leaves me ample room to be creative outside of work hours, on my own projects, outside of the logic of profit maximization.
Communism was never tried. The experiments never got over the socialism phase. I bet that we going to end up with communism down the line somewhere when we overcome resource scarcity. See Star Trek for example. Currently socialism did not work at all tough.
I've heard people say that capitalism has never been tried, either.
He as CEO took the 32 hour week and decided that it was bad for the run and mill.
One day I feel tired, and I'm not advancing? I go home. The next day I feel energized, and I want to keep working? I can work 12 hours straight.
No limits, nobody tells me what I can or I cannot do, and when I should do it.
Of course, we may need a bit of tracking hours in order to understand what we're doing and how we're spending our time, but we can use a more coarse granularity (like "half days").
A three day weekend would mean I would spend Monday just ramping up into productive mode. I wouldn't reach proper productivity until Tuesday.
So really, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Perhaps giving workers the freedom to design their own work habits would work best
I remember I saw a video on it from a more credible source than I, but I can't find it.
Work is less than relevant, what matters is that your actual customer is happy and you're finding new leads. That you can be flexible is typically a part of it. That you never sacrifice your customer's satisfaction for your convenience.
Being focused may or may not be a component.
(BigCo have a problem that their actual customers are often the shareholders.)
If you're hiring people who are engaged and genuinely interested in what they're doing and giving them a reasonable workload(!), they're likely to just treat that day as a day they can work from home with the option to not do work if life suddenly has plans for them.
XKCD-style admins, for instance, are likely to just spend that day spitballing ways to reduce downtime (which make the other 32 hours less annoying) and hardening infrastructure without having to worry about producing results. Planning is everything for that sort of work. My occasional work-from-home days were frequently days when I'd get a positively lurid number of things done just because of fewer interruptions.
This is the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJcTdA55aWA
I can't write or program longer than 2h a day.
But you have to allow you to see other things as work too.
Learning about work related topics (business, tech, design, news, etc)
Answering mails and talking to other people in general.
I think the problem is not that people want to work less, it's that they want flexibility and not wasing away in offices, when they aren't abel to work anymore.
Every day I come into an office feels like a waste compared to a day I work from home.
A waste of my life to be more specific.
Requiring tech workers to be physically located next to each other during the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM, five days a week for years is archaic and a slap in the face of what we've done as an industry.
TLDR; nothing. This article has essentially zero information.
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Worth noting that we are all not the same, and not the same in different way at different times in our lives.
I have lots of jobs that I cannot wait to get work for, but, them, wife, kids, commute...
Optimising for intrinsic motivation is a moving target.