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Hustle porn.

A YC founder once said to me that he found little correlation between the success of a YC company and how hard their founders worked. That is to say, among a group of smart, ambitious entrepreneurs who were all already working pretty hard, the factors that made the biggest difference were things like timing, strategy, and relationships. Which is why Reddit cofounder-turned-venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian now warns against the “utter bullshit” of this so-called hustle porn mentality.

There’s something especially insidious about higher-ups using their own extreme work habits as a model for their staff. I’m a big believer of leading by example, but most leaders have a support system and resources that allow them to recuperate from their hard work. They live close to the office, get frequent massages, have healthy food made for them, have really good childcare, personal assistants, and much more. That’s how they stay sane and avoid burnout.

But many of their employees don’t have the same benefits. And so after working 80 or 100 hours a week for months or years at a time, they burn out. And maybe they did productive work for a time, but they pay for it with their mental and physical health.

Jason Shen on hours.

Remember, kids! Burning everyone out working for capital is the number one way of reducing the general population’s ability to participate actively in democracy!

2020-01-24T07:46:03+11:0024th January, 2020|Tags: culture, work|

Fake epoch.

If, in the final 7,000 years of their reign, dinosaurs became hyperintelligent, built a civilization, started asteroid mining, and did so for centuries before forgetting to carry the one on an orbital calculation, thereby sending that famous valedictory six-mile space rock hurtling senselessly toward the Earth themselves—it would be virtually impossible to tell. All we do know is that an asteroid did hit, and that the fossils in the millions of years afterward look very different than in the millions of years prior.

Peter Brannen on deep time.

Brannen is, of course, using this comparison to point out our own ridiculously brief period on this planet… and the difficulty we collectively have in remembering just how “brief” brief really is.

2019-10-08T13:32:09+11:0022nd January, 2020|Tags: culture, science|

With a whimper.

In the 21st century, we have raised the bar in terms of comfort. Under Target’s glaring fluorescent lights, assorted goods line the gleaming shelves, each full to bursting as if mocking the very idea of want. Ten varieties and scents of what’s basically the same laundry detergent which may or may not linger in the water supply fill my line of sight. In the grocery section, produce is picked over and left to spoil at the hint of a bruise. Life for the few — the massively wealthy on a global scale, the powerless compared to the truly rich in this world, the average human in the United States of America — is more convenient than it has ever been in human history. Small wonder that we aren’t exactly keen on imagining it all going away, either by choice or at the whims of a planet that feels as vengeful as an ancient god, and justifiably so.

Hayes Brown on strange days.

2019-10-03T08:19:51+10:0019th January, 2020|Tags: climate, culture|

Branbassadors.

One of the reasons I love Mastodon is that any time any tries to do shit like this they pretty much get immediately defederated by everyone…

2019-10-03T08:09:28+10:0019th January, 2020|Tags: amazon, culture, social media|

The robes of my people.

Absolutely amazing hand-colored/-restored photographs from the 1903 Romanov Costume Ball.

All other considerations aside, 17th century Russian fashions were lit, man.

2019-09-16T11:56:27+10:0016th January, 2020|Tags: culture, history, photography|

Private stress, public suffering.

[M]indfulness has become the perfect coping mechanism for neoliberal capitalism: it privatises stress and encourages people to locate the root of mental ailments in their own work ethic. As a psychological strategy it promotes a particular form of revolution, one that takes place within the heads of individuals fixated on self-transformation, rather than as a struggle to overcome collective suffering.

Hettie O’Brien on the mindful-industrial complex.

2019-09-16T11:47:03+10:0015th January, 2020|Tags: culture|

No time.

So the modern conception of time—that is, strongly demarcated, numbered, and globally consistent intervals of seconds, minutes, and hours—is just that; very modern. It was basically invented as part of the industrial revolution, in part due to clocks getting better but mostly as a by-product of labour regulation in factories.

And, with that in mind, what if we just… got rid of it? Not causality or the passing from one moment to another (which, y’know, you can’t exactly just legislate away), but rather the social conventions associated with specific clock-numbers. What if we just went back to letting people do things according to their body’s natural inclination to do them?

Incidentally, I had a personal run-in with this a few months back when I took a week-long staycation wherein I was hit by a bout of insomnia. After tossing and turning and desperately trying to get back to sleep at 3am it eventually occurred to me I didn’t actually have to sleep because I didn’t have to wake up to go to work in a few hours. So I just… got up. Played videogames for a bit, ate breakfast at 4am, then went back for another nap between about 9am and noon. It confused the dog a bit but was otherwise… really weirdly liberating. Of all the things I did or didn’t do in that week, that was probably the single most de-stressing one. Which… Go figure, I guess.

2019-09-11T11:21:31+10:009th January, 2020|Tags: culture|