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Don’t Buy The Lies Of Silicon Valley

by Miki Saxon

Silicon ValleyThis is a short post, because it contains links to the two biggest Silicon Valley lies.

I realize that lies aren’t nearly the big deal they used to be, but when the source of those lies is the MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) prevalent in a critical piece of US infrastructure the lies take on a life of their own.

They carry so much credibility that their insidious spread is guaranteed.

The first lie is that success requires constant hustle. Whether starting a company or working in an existing one, hustle means giving up everything else — family, friends, recreation, relaxation, whatever, no exceptions — and work 24/7/365 (more if you can figure out how).

But for some, “hustle” is just a euphemism for extreme workaholism. Gary Vaynerchuk, a.k.a. Gary Vee, an entrepreneur and angel investor who has 1.5 million Twitter followers and a string of best-selling books with titles like “Crush It!,” tells his acolytes they should be working 18 hours a day. Every day. No vacations, no going on dates, no watching TV. “If you want bling bling, if you want to buy the jets?” he asks in one of his motivational speeches. “Work. That’s how you get it.”

Which, as anyone familiar with productivity research knows, is a pile of poop.

The truth is that much of the extra effort these entrepreneurs and their employees are putting in is pointless anyway. Working beyond 56 hours in a week adds little productivity, according to a 2014 report by the Stanford economist John Pencavel. But the point may be less about productivity than about demonstrating commitment and team spirit.

The second lie is that Silicon Valley is special. But Silicon Valley’s special is completely self-serving.

Silicon Valley has a lot of self-interested reasons for preferring to maintain a facade that its culture is special, and that its industry is more innovative, virtuous and productive than every other industry. It serves as a great recruiting tool as the region competes for talent with other industries and areas. It allows insiders to maintain outsize control of their companies. And it is a way to prevent regulators from coming in and regulating Silicon Valley to the extent that it might otherwise seek to do.

Stop drinking the Valley kool-aid. Facebook doesn’t love you, it loves your identifiable personal data, which is slices, dices and sells to all comers. Google jettisoned its “don’t be evil” motto when it got in the way of revenue generation.

Read the articles.

Share them, tweet them and stop ruining your own life by believing them.

Image credit: Elektor Labs

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