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Yes. I was once young and naive. I wanted to work for a cool startup or a big tech company like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.

Thanks to HN I learned that silicon valley culture is toxic and all those companies and startups are full of scumbags and people who were as naive as I once was.

This saved me from making some very bad decisions.

This post is not sarcastic.

HN has helped me realize the staggering extent of the ethics problem facing software as an industry, and realize that most people are not inclined to do anything about it.

This post is not sarcastic either.

Alternatively, it helps one see to what extent the tech-industry is a culture battleground, given the ongoing clashes of different moral systems.

I'm not certain why you're getting downvoted, other than a difference of opinion which is a lame reason IMO.

agreed. I've seen a lot of sociopath style thinking here. it is good to be aware that this is so common but it does make me sad.

Don't be sad. Better you know what you're up against, than not know.

This seems bitter and certainly exaggerated. For one, the three companies that you listed have almost 1m employees and clearly not all of them are naive or scumbags.

Serious question: what did you decide to do instead of working at a startup or a big tech co, and why do you feel that your life now is better than it would have been otherwise?

I know that comes across a bit rude, but I'm genuinely curious.

I spent two years at one of those companies. It's bitter but I don't think it's exaggerated.

The folks there were about 10% scumbags, 30% jaded, and %60 naive. The scumbags cause the B.S, the jaded folk work around it, and the naive don't notice it.

The scumbags are a problem (at all levels... Project Dragonfly) but they tend to get weeded out if they make too much trouble, or too many mistakes.

The jaded folks don't really care about the B.S. around them, they just want that paycheck. The Stanley Hudson character on the American version of "The Office" is the archetype: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Hudson "This is a run-down-the-clock situation, just like upstairs." I worked next to that guy. His name was Deepak and he was slightly warmer, but otherwise he was pretty much the same guy.

The jaded people are useful if you don't let them waste their time. They do not care what they do, as long as they don't get in trouble, so they will happily spend weeks or months solving the wrong problem.

The naive folks seem innocent and sweet, and they are, but it's only their naivete that lets the whole thing keep running.

I don't think it's exaggerated. Here's someone's experience as an early employee at PagerDuty, and I can find these examples all day long, both on HackerNews and Quora.

"Right, but OP said he was fired before he had options vested. "So he took 2% options at a 50% pay cut, but then got fired and that screwed him out of the 2% options before he could vest. Welcome to the valley." -- bb88

If you're a founder, you'll either fail, do well, or succeed spectacularly. If you're a startup employee, you won't do better (except in the rarest of circumstances) than you would somewhere else. Be a founder or a tech worker somewhere established with market rate pay, but do not be a startup employee (unless you're desperate for experience and literally have no other options).

My opinion and advice would change if the value proposition to startup employees changed substantially, putting them on par with founders.


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