Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Software Engineer at SpaceX here. Exits like WhatsApp not only cost more than space exploration, but also make recruiting much more difficult for many companies.

Our best engineers are very entrepreneurial. They don't hesitate to tackle massive challenges, often without even being asked. When a large exit occurs, it's an unfortunate siren call: "you could be making billions, writing way less complicated code."

Why am I taking a salary somewhere when some guy just made billions in four years? Did he have to worry about loss of human life if his code failed?

I make my own internal siren shut up by being a complete space geek, but rockets are not always as intriguing to prime candidates in the recruiting pipeline.

It's time for a reality check.

How many people actually exit with this level of success? Why is enabling our species to be interplanetary often a harder sell than the prospect of trading years of your life for a small chance that you might exit with a few billion dollars?

Greed. It's terrifying how much it prevails in our startup culture.

The size of one's exit is far less important than the impact of one's technology on the world.

Hack things that make the world better (or other worlds). If riches come as a result, great, but our startup culture's emphasis on valuation over innovation is, in my opinion, our achilles' heel.

(My views are completely personal opinions and do not reflect the views of the company. I love our startup culture and am proud to be a part of it, but I'm convinced that when I look back I will clearly view the code I've written here to be way more important for humanity's progress than the code I've written for entrepreneurs' selfish attempts at billion dollar exits)

Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact