All of this, if true, is incredibly scummy and entirely unsurprising. The startup world, contrary to its own loud and consistent claims, is not a “meritocracy” and is absolutely something we have seen before. It is just like any other organization of power and money: insular and endlessly self-promoting.
Just another reason that I dislike startups.
All the grand-standing about innovation and meritocracy is a smokescreen for the complete lack thereof in most startups.
They’re product companies run in exactly the same way as the Old Guard. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But to admit that constitutes a severe existential risk to the belief in Changing The World (and getting rich at the same time, conveniently!)
but at least we have loste.rs, which doesn’t subscribe to the same lowly practices of aggregation links sites like hackernews and product hunt (at least I hope).
(Sorry, couldn’t help it, but at the same time, trying to figure out if you are serious or not)
too late to fix. loBste.rs (forgot the b). and I was being serious…
I wanted to come in here and disagree, but I can’t. I do feel that startups further away from the valley are less prone to the same echochamber problems, not that it isn’t there to a degree. On the whole I agree.
It really frustrates me, because I think encouraging entrepreneurship is good, and investing in the development of unproven technology is good. But all the self-congratulatory pretension of Silicon Valley, the notion that they are uniquely special and immune to the problems of the rest of the world, gets to me like nothing else. Not to mention the fact that many of these startups exploit their workers, often college-aged out fresh out of college, making them work long hours for few benefits (but a Foosball table!) to make the investors and founders rich.
There are many more problems than this, and obviously not all startups have all of these problems, but I think on the whole that the economic and cultural environment of the valley is corrosive to people’s happiness, empathy, and perspective, and that the companies born there are largely sham businesses that exist only to reach a degree of hype sufficient for a sale to whatever company’s up next on the acquisition Merry-Go-Round.
Okay, perhaps that’s enough of a rant for now.
I used to curse the fact that I never ended up in SV. Then, I realized that past me was incredibly entitled, and I dodged a bullet.
Most startups would value me only for my ability to vomit code out towards features as fast as possible, rather than think a bit and write a bit less code that implements that feature well and sustainably. They want me to be as young as possible, so they can pay me a shitty wage without me knowing it. They’d probably resent me for having the backbone to say no to unrealistic timelines and wanting to have a life outside of work.
I realized I was incredibly lucky to be able to continue pursuing my interest in working in deeply technical things with autonomy and self-respect, rather than constantly throwing shoddy code at the wall in the vain hope of hooking users.
Most startups would value me only for my ability to vomit code out towards features as fast as possible, rather than think a bit and write a bit less code that implements that feature well and sustainably.
Really? I’ve never met a single company, SV included, that doesn’t value that.
You’ve lived a charmed life, then.
As a consultant, I had a client with this attitude for six months or so. We were supposed to help their team get back on track rewriting their app in a new language + adding a modern onboarding. We were constantlty sabotaged by their one sr. dev who knew the language and was seens as the guru by the team. He cowboy’d everything with half-baked implementations that looked nice to the PM but were not a solid foundation for following features - which were very well known because we were reimplementing an existing app and migrating the data! The attitude was reflected by the entire team. We’d have design/code sessions to plan/start a reasonable implementation, then he or they would get an idea how to half-ass it and toss out the planned design, possibly with weeks of code, rewriting even during the rewrite. It was really disspiriting to watch work constantly going up in flames by repeating the same mistake over and over, no matter how many times we tried to address the atittude, the dev, the VP, the team, the process, anything, to put better practices in place.
A few months after we left, the board was tired of hearing wonderful things for 18 months without the rewrite shipping. They fired the VP of Engineering and entire dev team. The new VP Eng chose a new language and is hiring a 100% new team to rewrite from scratch in a third language. I felt more than a bit of schadenfreude that day.
You are lucky. I quit several teams at a past employer because of this mindset.
I was sick of being held accountable for things they would not pay for, namely, enough time to do something well. I’m not talking about gold-plating, but rather, enough time to do things such that you don’t have to circle back to it afterwards. Inevitably, something blows up in production as a result of a truncated schedule, and it’s a big emergency.
Of course, you can’t bring up the fact that you specifically mentioned this would be a problem, because then you aren’t a Team Player. You can’t fix broken systems, and some people don’t have the imagination to see anything but broken processes.
If I don’t get the autonomy necessary to do a good job, I leave. (And I’m lucky that I can do that.)