A Tech Insider Perfectly Explains Why Startup Culture Is Broken
Workaholism is an unchecked issue in Silicon Valley.
Where do Silicon Valley insiders go to debate work habits in Silicon Valley? Twitter, of course.
A fight recently broke out on the platform over workaholism at startups, as Wired documented in this fascinating read. On one side of the argument, there was Blake Robbins, a former Google employee and SpaceX intern, who stood up against the dangers of overwork. “When I first got into tech,” he wrote, “I thought it was ‘cool’ to work on the weekends or holidays. I quickly realized that’s a recipe for disaster.” On the other side, there was Keith Rabois, a prominent venture capitalist, who shot back, “Totally false… Read a bio of Elon.” (Elon Musk, that is, who, in the early days of one of his startups, famously slept on a beanbag next to his desk.)
In the relative calm of the blogosphere, David Heinemeier Hanson, the creator of the hugely popular website development framework Ruby on Rails, reflected on this debate and summed up the problem with startup culture. “There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it,” he wrote on his blog, adding that this addiction to overwork flies in the face of “prevailing evidence on the power of sleep, recuperation, and sustainable work habits.”
The truth is that working incessantly ensures burnout, not success. “Workaholism is a disease,” Hanson wrote on his blog. Or, as Robbins put it originally on Twitter: “Burning out isn’t ‘cool.’”
Read more about the debate at Wired.