Whew, it’s been a crazy couple days in the start up world. Everyone loved Michael Arrington’s article about working hard when it came out. Then Jamie Zawinski rebutted with some bit about how his original post (quoted as an example by Arrington) was misrepresented.
The only thing crazier than the two parties duking this out in public is the sentiment on Hacker News shifting wildly depending on which story is #1 at the time. Perhaps there are just two deeply divided sides two the argument, because I can’t immediately find an instance of a person directly contradicting themselves between the posts.
At any rate, the the buzz generated by each is certainly palpable. And pretty silly for a bunch of startupers, when you get down to it.
Do you even remember why we’re here?
Look, people, lets take a seat and talk about this for a bit. Start ups are really hard. Like really, really hard. Even when they’re going exceedingly well, they’re still really fucking hard. At PIE I sit next to a start up that’s fucking killing it right now, and it looks really scary to be in their shoes.
But, it also looks like a lot of fun. And it looks like they’re pumped to be doing what they’re doing. And I’d really love for my company to start hockeysticking like theirs has.
It’s not easy to get to that point, though. They’re often the first in to the office and the last to leave office, and their hard work is paying off. They are going to make something awesome–hell, they already have made something awesome. That is why they worked hard, and that is also why I am working hard.
40-hour work weeks don’t change the world.
We work exceedingly hard on our stupid start up ideas because we want to make a difference, and you just can’t fucking do that in a 40-hour work week. If you are sitting there thinking you can, then either your goals are too modest or you just haven’t figured out that you can’t yet.
I just finished a 15-hour work day. I’ll probably work about the same number of hours tomorrow, and the day after for that matter. My start up, Revisu, gets a lot of praise for iterating and moving quickly and that doesn’t happen on its own. Here’s a hint to our secret on iterating quickly: A 40-hour work week is not involved.
I’m OK with it. I’m happy to put in the extra hours in order to build something I think will be great. And if it turns out to be a failure then, well, I fucking tried–I learned something–and that’s more than the 40-hours-a-week workers can say.
If you run a start up or work at a start up and you get anxious at 5pm, then you’re in the wrong vertical in the tech industry. You should probably go get a “real” job. Oh, and let me know if you need help in that area by the way as I know a few companies in Portland that are hiring ;).