Why I’m Quitting Tech
I don’t know what drove me to snap. I really don’t. But I do know, I’m over this industry. I don’t say that as some holier-than-thou shit. I also don’t say that as if I’m actually quitting my job. I’m not. I love it here and what we are striving for is extremely refreshing.
I say “I’m quitting tech” in a sense of temporary retreat. Perhaps an act of self-preservation. Perhaps this piece is what will get recognition and I will break through that thing we glorify as “the struggle”. Everyone’s playing the game differently.
I haven’t taken the time to write in a while. This will be rough, a flow of consciousness. But hopefully it will be real. Hopefully it helps someone know whatever they are feeling, I’m feeling it too. Maybe we are all feeling it. Maybe it’s the ever present doubt of simply being alive.
I think what it actually is… I’m tired. I’m tired of VC’s fetishizing white boys that drop out of high school. Cutting a check for another unoriginal idea because of their mental model and pray every night reading a proverb from “Sapiens”. They tweet about streetwear and rap music, and because they are a young white boy, and VC’s are old white boys, they are considered cool and hip and in-the-know. But would feel uncomfortable if Kith’s store was in Bedstuy and not the middle of SOHO.
I actually love making analogies between tech and streetwear. It has the similar trend of loving the actual artifact, but sometimes hating the overarching culture around that artifact. But it’s also, in a sense, reassuring to know that there is no escaping the mass effect of stale culture. And that somewhere in that swamp is your niche and others that vibe with the reason you actually came to Kith or Google or wherever you are in the present.
There’s this stench in the air. And it’s hovering over everything. To escape the delusion of prestige of finance and consulting, we came to build a better world. And in that time we’ve created new equally stale institutions. It didn’t take us long.
Those that claim to fund the cutting edge of our existence have turned to recycled and some flat out terrible ideas. But this is because they are only obligated to invest in what they believe will be successful businesses. This is the misalignment in their own narrative.
If you follow me on Twitter you know my hate for Allbirds and Atoms. But I truly cannot believe that we live in a world where the same VCs that tweet a YouTube clip of Virgil Abloh can push, with a straight face, Allbirds as something to invest in. It’s not the future of anything. I truly don’t care if there’s a market for them. That has nothing to do with this.
I could dive into the mechanics of venture capital and why there are so many venture funds and so much money swirling around. But in the end capital isn’t that real. What matters is what is getting funded. And it shows that these guardians of capital are not arbiters of taste. Which is frustrating to say the least.
Something I’ve been meditating on is that “history doesn’t repeat itself, we’re simply collectively uninspired.” I’ve been uninspired. I find many projects extremely uninspiring today. I hear of the 8th team trying to make a mobile QVC and I want to rip my hair out.
One of my final points on this flow of consciousness is that we are afraid to discuss publicly, our raw thoughts, shared doubts, and genuine feelings around products, people, politics, etc. I think this deeply hurts our community. Out of fear that we may need them in the future… [insert something else that’s transaction oriented in a vague picture of our future need] In an exercise to show that I am serious about sharing more things this way here are 3 things that I’m processing / feel:
- As a black man I want to root for Arlan. But I probably wouldn’t take money from her. If you asked me her views on technology I don’t know them. I know they fund minorities of all forms. I know they believe this is an opportunity and I agree. But looking at the portfolio, nothing excites me. And in this current moment in time I can’t help but feel institutional funds can continually pat Backstage on the back without changing anything internally. This is hard to share but true to how I currently feel.
- The “breaking into x” tips are extremely broke. People don’t want outsiders to break into anything. It goes against our need to feel like we are in the in-crowd. We have our own, cooler country club. And like many clubs we have the same rotten core. We tolerate bad members because when those members also have the ability to elevate our current position, we can’t help but turn a blind eye in the hopes that they’ll be exposed after we’ve received the benefit.
- I don’t like / find the opinions of the Product Hunt + AngelList + Tinder squad on Twitter insightful in the least bit. How they’ve positioned themselves as the cool kids of tech is kinda funny. But it’s also all fine because you’re not supposed to like everyone in life and people forget that.
I had this dream where we were all striving for so much more. That we actually cared about something. I don’t think it was the naiveté of my still present youth. I think it was the collective inner yearning of most people I’ve met and still meet today. It was the understanding that although we are spiritual beings having a present physical experience. Like those before us and those that will come after us. That this too mattered. And that we can build a better future. A future that is fun. A future that is beautiful. A future we can look back on and identify moments that made us think differently of each other. I don’t know what that looks like anymore. I don’t know if it ever really existed outside my mind. I hope it does. I have to believe it does. I want to build as though it is just a tomorrow away.
I think in the end, I want people to feel things from what I create. Because right now, there’s so little that makes us feel like we are experiencing what we once dreamt as the future.