Invent the ideal work opportunity for hackers
I think that there are no companies today providing the ideal work opportunity for hackers.
There are only a few types of work opportunities for hackers. It is useful to categorize them along three dimensions:
- Political vs. small-team-dynamics
- Average vs. smart colleagues
- Risky vs. stable
It is very clear to everybody that hackers value small-team-dynamics over political environments and smart over average colleagues.
When it comes to risky over stable situations, it is irrational to prefer risk.
The reason why many hackers are attracted to startups is that they are confronted with choosing between the less of two evils: either work for a large tech company and deal with the politics or work for a startup and deal with the risk.
Investors and startup founders encourage young hackers to join “high-flying startups” — alluding this to be the best option for them. I agree this is true, but only if you have a crystal ball and can pick startup winners. The statistical reality is strongly against you. This advice forces hackers to become the worst type of VC investors: those with a portfolio size of 1.
I think there are no work opportunities for hackers today that combine small-team-dynamics, smart colleagues and stability.
I think this is in part due to the power-law nature of tech — once a small team finds something that works, that thing can grow a lot; and then you hire a lot of people and the company becomes political.
Is there a way to create such ideal work opportunity for hackers? If you crack this problem you will attract the best hackers.