13 Aug 2018

Silicon Valley Revisited


Adding to the whole thing is the fact that those are not even ducks on the artificial Foster City Lake, they are lousy seagulls!

Sunil Rajaraman sucks at Ornithology, but he knows the Silicon Valley life really well. If you’ve been there and done it, you will laugh.

You can’t fall back asleep. You reflect. You turn on the Headspace app and give yourself 10 minutes of peace. You have no idea whether meditation works or not. It’s really boring, and all your mind can think about is Instagram. It feels good, though.

Now you can spend the rest of your sleepless hours looking for new jobs on LinkedIn.

Your last start-up failed. You ran business development. It turns out your 27-year-old CEO, who never ran an enterprise software start-up, ran the company straight into the ground. You reflect for a bit on the reasons why this happened.

Your company had a “no ego” and “no asshole” hiring policy. He was somehow exempt from both rules.
Open-office concept by David Basulto

Maybe the company failed because, not unlike the company’s open-office concept, the company’s databases were open to hackers. Or maybe it’s because you don’t know who was actually doing work. To your knowledge, most of your coworkers were ordering stuff on Amazon, talking about each other on Slack, watching the World Cup, or WFH. The company’s business model should have been subleasing its $75-square-foot office space on Fridays, since no one showed up.

But life is better now. Forget start-ups; they are not for you. You used to think that life was over. You’re 35, and you haven’t had an exit. You don’t own a house, but now you tell people that renting is part of your “long-term plan” to provide more flexibility. You used to think you’re a failure.

But then you discovered Botox and realize you have more time than you think.

You drop off your kid at elementary school. Parents are part of an intricate social hierarchy. It’s public school, but somehow you are guilted into a “donation” every quarter. You run into Janice. She got drunk at the parent auction and bid $25,000 for Taylor Swift tickets. A week earlier, Dropbox IPO’d. You do a calculation of her approximate net worth in your head. Drop in the bucket for her. She’s now one of the “cool” parents. FML.
The playground

Ferdinand is out on the playground again 30 minutes after he dropped off his kid. He likes to chat up any mom who will flirt with him — with that mesh baseball cap. He doesn’t work. You give him a high five and a bro hug.

You realize high school never ends.

You took a job at a big company. Big, predictable—that’s what you needed. You commute to Foster City. Way better than San Frat-cisco. You love the faux landfill lake filled with sickly ducks—it inspires you on daily walks. The geese sometimes chase you around and make hissing noises, but so much lower key. You go to a poke place every day for lunch.
Faux Foster City Lake with ducks hanging out

You don’t wear start-up logo hoodies anymore, and you instituted a household ban on Patagonia. You’ve attempted to read Man’s Search for Meaning multiple times.

You don’t need the excitement anymore—boring is where it’s at. Your wife is the high flyer now. Her start-up took off. You are the junk bond; she is the high-growth stock. You’ve accepted your place in the portfolio.

You spend a lot of time in meetings. Meetings create a great rhythm for the day. Especially standing meetings. You’ve been to three meetings today with the same four people. Maybe you should put your desks together; then the whole day will be a meeting.

That one meeting last week was rough. You closed it out with, “Thanks, guys.” You got reminded by the smug 24-year-old growth manager—whose entire life experience has been comprised of private schools, vacationing in Laguna Beach and deciding what color BMW 3 Series to drive—that you probably offended a large portion of the room by using that term. You vowed to be a better person.

You are standing beneath a company-values sign that reads, “Humility above all else!”


Two years earlier.

2 Feedbacks on "Silicon Valley Revisited"

Soren K

But that it were only Silicon Valley. Sigh.


Too smart 4 their organic cruelty-free britches,driving electric clown cars in ever dwindling circles.


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