Life is Too Short to Work on Bullshit Products

I like to keep an eye on new companies in the tech space, and I ran across one tonight with the stated mission of “automating lunches”.

When a company sets its mission as “solving the problem of automating lunches” what they really mean is “our mission is to drum up a lot of press about the stupid fucking thing we’re building, ride the latest wave of convenience-as-a-service, get acquired, and realize a big exit”.

If that’s your mission, it’s fine. I’d just prefer people stop pretending like lunch is a problem that needs to be fucking solved.

For a long time, my main concern with a job was salary. My north star was “Will this company pay me 20% or more than what I’m currently making?”

Once I rose above a certain salary threshold, the work itself became more important.

“Am I doing work I find interesting, engaging, and useful for my long-term career goals?”

For a while, the work was enough. As long as I was making enough to support my family and enjoyed the work, the problem I was working on didn’t really matter.

Salary and the work I’m doing are still good metrics when deciding whether to join a company, but in the last couple of years I’ve gotten a lot pickier about what I’m choosing to spend my time building. I’m not pointing fingers or naming names, but I’ve spent thousands of hours working on products and businesses I didn’t believe in, and didn’t care about.

Some of them are still around, and some of them aren’t. Some paid better than others. Some were more interesting than others, and some were more useful than others. That’s when I did my best work, and when I was most engaged.

When I was working on something I believed in. Something I believed should be in the world.

Protip: spend your time working on things you believe in.

(Not automating lunches.)