But I agree with a lot of these points after working 5 years in a startup. The biggest problem is that you try to increase your runway even though the business model does not seem to work. Instead of making it profitable as soon as possible, you try to grow and grow and hire people you don't even need. This was the worst experience. And then letting those people go again is even worse.
I hope that we get back to the ground and try to build solid and profitable business in the future instead of blown up air castles with no value at all.
I'm fairly convinced that a lot of technical people are on the spectrum. I don't mean this as an insult in any way whatsoever, though I'm sure many will take it as such (sorry, in advance!). The raw, calculative persona of those described as "10x developers" and "optimize all minutiae" seems to line up with having difficulty empathizing with others and acknowledging emotions. In many ways, I really envy the ability to execute to that degree. Simultaneously, I think these are many of the same people who are taken advantage of by others (e.g. founders, managers, investors) to further deepen their pockets.
They're often immensely talented in technical realms and excel in sciences, making computer science and software careers ideal places where they can thrive. Their relative over-performance creates a tension on the opposite end where others can't keep up to the same capacity. I think we've often chalked it up to people being "quirky" and I think we're all familiar with Hollywood's stereotypes about technical folk, but there is a lack of mental health discussion in the US (and perhaps other places in the west). Am I completely off-base in thinking this way? I'm certainly no psychologist, but I welcome other perspectives on this.
The article talks a lot about the extroverted, obnoxious aspects of tech. Wantrepreneurs, narcissistic navel-gazing, cargo-culting, corporate faux-coolness, dick-waving. None of that is really explained by having a lot of people on the spectrum. If anything, it's similar to some of the same extravagance you see in Hollywood, Wall Street, or Washington D.C.; anywhere that has a ton of ambitious, competitive, and social signaling people.
Also, there are plenty of STEM and otherwise technical fields that do not have the same reputation for awkwardness as software engineering does. Surely those fields have plenty of single-minded overperformers as well? Then why don't we hear complaints about civil engineering or mechanical engineering or electrical engineering?
I have a couple of pet theories for why Silicon Valley or the startup world as a whole seems particularly arrogant (a culture that worships young genius ends up neglecting social development and get stuck being sophomoric; software spawns a weird exceptionalism since, unlike other engineering disciplines, devs can move the world with lines of code instead of hardware). But those are just pet theories and I think most of the issues mentioned in the OP are easily attributed to the natural consequence when an industry undergoes a gold rush AND eats the world; since it becomes a playground for the (potentially) rich and powerful, insiders tend to get extra irritating about it.
It's a spectrum. Everyone is on it. The majority of people are at the end where it doesn't really manifest in any significant way, but no one can claim not to be on it.
Until everything became a social media magma in which everyone is more interested in how much empathy you can show towards puppies than in how good you are at your job. Fuck that.
I'll say it again for clarity: tech and university used to be cosy places for unconventional people to be at their best shielded from those who mix their facts with their feelings. But now these have taken over and the feelings police is everywhere.
It's like saying "athletes are dumb". There is a sort of truth to that, but anyone can easily come up a dozen counterexamples. The same is true of technical people and social skills. It can be valuable to use a short hand for personalities to quickly sort people into categories. But almost every occupation has the same general range of personality types.
They're often immensely talented in physical realms and excel in sports, making sport careers ideal places where they can thrive. Their relative over-performance creates a tension on the opposite end where others can't keep up to the same capacity. I think we've often chalked it up to people being "quirky" and I think we're all familiar with Hollywood's stereotypes about sports folk, but there is a lack of mental health discussion in the US (and perhaps other places in the west). Am I completely off-base in thinking this way? I'm certainly no psychologist, but I welcome other perspectives on this.
Software and start-ups are more like having to sports whatever you do, whether you like it or not.
Buy take-out? Pick up your sportsy phone and sports the heck out of that! Don't forget to tip your driver, because he's on minimum wage.
Order an airline ticket? So fast and sportsy! OK, so someone didn't sports properly and some of these planes crashed, but let's just [cough] pretend the pilots made mistakes.
Find somewhere to stay? Your accommodation choices have been so uniformly sportsed you'll get a properly sportsed touch of local flavour, but you'll be spared any unsettling cultural surprises.
Chat to friends? We've totally sportsed that up for you!
So now everything you do has been completely sportsed by people who just love sportsing.
And this is good for you. And for everyone. And especially good for the future.
No, really, it is.
My impression is that as programming, being nerdy, and so on, became main-stream, the target audience for the founders/managers/investors has become much broader. I know a number of decidedly non-autistic people who I feel are used by this 'startup culture' to do stuff that isn't in their own best interest.
If anything, I'd say that generally people on the spectrum would be /less/ likely to get caught up in these types of schemes. It's just that for a while in history the stuff that these people gravitated to was also the stuff that was easy to make money off.
Or you can be a psychopath, then you can go on to become a CEO!
But I can detect the limits. Nobody considers me on the spectrum, nobody considers me the “asperger-y programmer”
There is some overlap with what people associate as “on the spectrum” such as not relating to many people’s emotions or reactions to things. Blending in. But for me the real flag is my experience with various drugs, my experience is often different than others and forums full of anecdotal evidence has people with similar experiences who often report having diagnosed development disorders such as ADHD, autism etc.
Anytime I bring this up “I think I’m on the spectrum”, people are quick to tell me “we’re all somewhere on the spectrum”, as if they want to make an excuse for me.
At the same time, an ability to focus on a task is normal to me. To me, I procrastinate just like everyone else. But I also have results and turn ideas into money in weeks. I have no idea why other people deliberate for months and years on ideas and promises, why they even covet and get married to ideas. I surround myself with people that challenge me, I know there are plenty of people that do execute even faster than I without a better pedigree or network.
It feels like success at this game is what people want, but then also is optimized for “high functioning autistic sociopaths“ and if you are winning at this game that so many people want to win, you’re also likely a high functioning version of someone with a developmental disorder? Its easy for it not to be mutually exclusive, but it makes me think.
And it's similar to a startup:
- One of the first stages in their indoctrination is wearing a uniform. In startups you get company t-shirts.
- Then there's the autocracy... a central figure that has supreme power, the movement leader. In a startup, you have the founders.
- And once startups become a cohesive group, they become a groupthink collective that thinks they're the invincible chosen few destined to rule the world.
Sure, there are some crazy people in the field, but in the end, most of my friends would kill for the conditions I had at tech companies. As long as you remind yourself that it's just a job, it's a pleasant experience.
I hope this guy found his true passion as an alpaca rancher. All humour aside, it's clear that the feeling is probably mutual.
I used to read a book a day (sometimes 2 days when books were really big or half a day when really small - like I could get through 2 Narnia books a day) - however that was in my teens when I didn't do my schoolwork and just read, or in my twenties when I was a committed non-productive member of society.
Recently I read a lot of Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Puddn'head Wilson, Life on the Mississippi) I think it took about 3-4 weeks, so yeah a book a week. Luckily I have an e-reader now so I could get it in otherwise yeah I wouldn't have managed it.
In short - that got on my nerves and I think this person with their swearing judgements of other people should actually try reading a bit themselves.
The average reading speed is about 55 pages per hour, 8 hours a day or 8 hours a week - 440 pages.
Pretty much anyone can read fast enough to read a book a week.
He's talking about the cargo cult parts.
What's so terrible about getting up sometime between 8 and 9am? :o
I guess that many of those "productivity freaks" have toddlers, they tend to wake up at 6.30-7. So waking up at 6 is the one hour in your day that is yours and yours alone. So they wake up at 5-6am, to have a couple of "good hours". Because after the morning preparations and a 40min drive to get the kids to school, your mind is less 'fresh' than what it was at 6am.
It's a practical thing (for those who find it to be). Not a panacea for all.
Not to say that, knowing we're all nerds here, this kind of tone sounds, frankly, a little ridiculous. I'm compelled to whisper "when you make a fist, you wanna keep your thumb on the outside".
I have done (and continue to do) quite a bit of work involving bit shifting, along with various other bitwise operations. Is it really that unusual? Should I feel guilty?
Humor aside, I am genuinely curious to what extent other people are familiar or experienced with low-level bitwise operations.
I generally agree with your statement when referring to code bootcamp graduates, but anyone with a CS degree should have learned bitshifting by their second programming course; YMMV.
> reviewed your quarterly and yearly “goals” for another 30 minutes ... noise cancelling headphones and Pomodoro timers, your fucking to-do lists, apps
You can have these when you pry these from my cold, dead hands. I vividly remember my life before I got organised, productive, and before noise cancelling headphones, and there’s absolutely no going back.
I mean for a good while it was like, Google is the place to be because they only hire the smartest and they take really good care of their employees. But as time goes by, turns out what they do is just a job, their developers are all right, they've got tons of legacy code, etc.
I was offered to apply to their "apps" department (think Docs and co) in Germany, but it just did not sound appealing.
For example, my experience has been that the cryptocurrency/blockchain 'culture' reached its zenith at a point later than the more general 'startup/app culture'.
I suppose ML/AI stuff is still sort of on the way up, if not for the coronavirus putting everything on pause.
I know a bunch of people in their early-to-mid-twenties who are perfect 'canaries' for whatever is the next 'startup culture' and it's both interesting and slightly annoying to talk to them about it.
I feel to old to get caught up in all of it, but I admit that knowing what's hot can be helpful to find the type of work that I don't like but that pays the bills.
I'd argue that it was the same thing; startup culture was running out of gas and then a new, spicy tech showed up that revived the field and spawned a whole new galaxy of statups.
You mean, you can afford another N^2 instances?
I only skimmed the article, but I am guessing "Fuck you for my 6 figures salary" is not there.
Oh my goodness; let's take everything that anyone has learned about software development and gut it. I hate these people.
And let's not ignore that the entire financial system within which this ponzi scheme operates is also a giant ponzi scheme: https://youtu.be/iFDe5kUUyT0?t=79
So the startup world is literally a ponzi scheme within a ponzi scheme.