Silicon Valley arrogance: “I can tell you which startups will succeed, without even knowing what…
Dan Kim

I run a startup. I work weekends every now and then. I did last weekend, as it happens, because I’d promised something for a client on a deadline that I realised — after I’d agreed to it — was probably going to be challenging to meet. But, you know what? After I’d shipped the project (on time, as it happens!), I gave myself a day off in the week to make up for it, and took my kids out for the afternoon.

Running a startup means you can be flexible like that. And I agree that, to succeed, you need to be prepared to be flexible — to work when other people are mostly not, if that’s what it takes. So yes, if there’s never anybody working at weekends, then that’s a good sign that the company has already got stuck into the kind of organisational rigidity that is what kills big ones. But, if you make seven-day working the norm, then you lack that flexibility.

I wouldn’t have completed that project on time if I hadn’t had the freedom to work when I otherwise would not have been working. I wouldn’t have delivered on time, the client would be unhappy, and I would be stressed. I wouldn’t call that success. I’d call that failure.

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