Overworking in the Age of Technology

Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead:

These topics are absent in China’s technology companies, where the pace of work is furious. Here, top managers show up for work at about 8am and frequently don’t leave until 10pm. Most of them will do this six days a week — and there are plenty of examples of people who do this for seven. Engineers have slightly different habits: they will appear about 10am and leave at midnight. Beyond the week-long breaks for Chinese new year and the October national holiday, most will just steal an additional handful of vacation days. Some technology companies also provide a rental subsidy to employees who choose to live close to corporate HQ.

In California, this sort of pace might be common for the first couple of years of a company, but then it will slow. In China, by contrast, it is quite usual for the management of 10 and 15-year-old companies to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings. If a Chinese company schedules tasks for the weekend, nobody complains about missing a Little League game or skipping a basketball outing with friends. Little wonder it is a common sight at a Chinese company to see many people with their heads resting on their desks taking a nap in the early afternoon.

Fuck the editor who wrote the title of this article, and fuck Michael Moritz for writing the article.

Silicon Valley or anywhere else in the first world would be wise to not follow China’s lead. The whole (empty) promise of computers and the Internet was that we would be able to work remotely! And work more efficiently! Oh joy of joys!

It’s a cliché but it’s true: the goal is to work smarter, not longer. It’s also true that humans fill their work week to the allotted number of hours. If we worked four 8-hour days per week (32 hours) instead of five 8-hour weeks (40 hours) the vast majority of people at desk jobs would get just as much work done.

America would be wise to follow the lead of a country where tech companies installed safety nets to save people trying to commit suicide by jumping out of windows? This is a load of shit.

While we figure out how to spot terrorists, let’s update our gun laws.

Meticulous Planning by Las Vegas Gunman Before He Opened Fire:

Before he mowed down concertgoers from a perch high in a hotel tower, Stephen C. Paddock created a ring of surveillance around him, with video cameras in his suite and in the hallway, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. But investigators were still at a loss to offer a motive for the massacre.

The cameras — apparently intended to warn of approaching threats — along with the 23 guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and other equipment found in the gunman’s hotel suite, suggested a thought-out plan to have plenty of time to wreak carnage while holding the police at bay.

And:

Twelve of the rifles Mr. Paddock had in his luxury suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino were outfitted with a “bump stock,” a device that enables a gun to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, like a machine gun, which may explain how he was able to rain such devastation on the crowd below, law enforcement officials said. Such devices are generally legal, and the possibility that he may have used them set off a fresh round of calls by Democratic lawmakers in Washington to pass more gun regulations after the tragedy.

Paddock didn’t have a criminal record so he flew under the radar of the FBI.

So if we can’t preemptively spot terrorists, then we need to do something else. We need to update our gun laws in the United States.

Preventative measures are much better than reactive treatments.

White House Wants

A few weeks ago the White House reached out to Kickstarter to help raise money for Syrian refugees.

On one hand, this is very commendable (Kickstarter is donating 100% of their fee) and I think it’s great if individuals can donate but I can’t help but think that this request came from the U.S. government. A government that spends over $600 billion a year on defense.

How about the U.S. government throw a few billion to the Syrian refugees?

I’m Too Old

My sister reminded me this morning today is Jimmy Page’s 70th birthday.
Next time you think about bitching about being too old to do shit, remember this video:

Magic Man

Promila Shastri on Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs was, not surprisingly, a complicated man, both great and awful, capable of incomparable vision and shocking lapses in judgement, who saw some things with singular clarity and others with no benefit whatsoever of wisdom. To have been his mother or wife or daughter, I’ll bet, was not much fun. But for the rest of us, Steve Jobs was nothing, if not fun.

As is expected from Promila, a beautifully concise remembrance.

9/11

As soon as the day ended, I knew that date would be stuck in my head forever.

I walked to work—from the East Village down to Mercer Street in SoHo. The weather was 70 degrees, zero clouds, zero humidity. It’s sadly ironic, but whenever I feel perfect weather, I think of 9/11.

I watched the towers fall from my boss’ roof. I could feel the ground shake when each tower fell. In the distance you could hear people screaming. When I left work later in the day, the streets were deserted. Lower Manhattan felt like a movie set. No cars. Very few people. It was surreal.

My girlfriend, who would later become my wife, lived in Queens and since the subways had all been shut down, I couldn’t get to her. So I put on my rollerblades and rollerbladed from East Village, over the Queensboro Bridge, to Astoria Queens, about 5 miles. Every now and then a police car would pass me coming from Ground Zero, tossing dust and debris in my face. For the next month, the smell of burning iron swept through my windows.

Below are some photos I took on my walk to work 11 years ago today.

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