Monday, February 18, 2008

Silicon Valley a great place to work?

In this article on Techcrunch, Michael Arrington's thesis is that Silicon Valley is a great place to do business, since it has support networks for companies, many VC firms, and a critical mass of talent, but also crucial is an entrepreneurial drive. It seems like the unspoken aspect of this drive is that entrepreneurs, and their staff have completely lost their work/life balance.

I think this is borne out in the expectations of startups for their staff. The expectations for work is well over 40 hours per week. I think managements strive to get 50 or 60 hours per week out of their staff, and sometimes themselves.

Here's an example [attributed to] the CEO of Adbright, Ignacio "Iggy" Fanlo /

I hesitated sending this email for quite some time and had hoped that through your direct managers I would see some improvement. Having said that, I continue to see too few folks here at 9 AM; and too few folks here at 6 PM. I don't care if you are a morning person or a night person; if you want to work 10-8 pm or 8-6 pm, but I fully expect each one of you to put in 9-10 hours per working day. This is still a startup and we need more passion, time and energy from each of our employees than a large company would require. If we succeed, the rewards, both psychic and financial, will be great. But for that, we ask you to give more than the typical 9-5 job.

While I think this is completely counterproductive, and even if people are working 10 hours per day, I think this'll make them stop working those many hours, working for a tool like this, and find a job at a good company. Notch up one more Silicon Valley company that I will never work at.

But the sad thing is that this is fairly pervasive thinking, though most would have the good sense not to say it outloud, let along in a company-wide email.

It's great to have so many employers in the area, but I guess the lesson is that you have to choose an employer wisely.

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