Here is a very popular article:
I read it. It hurts. The author is great, don’t get me wrong, Romain Serman is doing a great job with the article. The article is good as a story. The content is the problem, the fact it describes a desirable behavior and a present reality, in a place that is supposed to build humanity’s future, is an Oscar given to a B movie, an exploitation flick getting the Golden Globe for the best script.
First, Etiquette is the worst part of any culture, it is the shit of our weak minds, the excrement of thinking, the poorest of habits, one of the worst limiting factors of any society. I personally wish all culture of the world be purged of their etiquette prescriptions. That’s what I daydream about.
I even dressed up for my very first meeting at Google, Mountain View, Ca. Really. I wore a tie.
You see, etiquette wastes our feeble precious life. We think about what we wear, even when we already thought about what to wear.
Almost every single rule in the much congratulated article is a horror born out of a societal preset, one that will, in time, mutate into a code of being, a code of living, suffocating yet more people with rules of existing in a random universe.
Even as they are so trivial, they are simply more mind waste.
Rule #1: Be On Time sounds harmless, right? Well it would be, if we stopped acting like robots who can warp their existence around every single business meeting we get, especially considering VC meetings are a lot of times moonshots and screening time. Because being “on time” means being 3–4 minutes in advance. Because being late means you are “unreliable”, “unorganized” or “disrespectful”. Because sending a message 20 minutes in advance will not save you the labeling, since with or without the message you are still late, hence labeled.
Rule #2: Same Day Email is the rule I am guilty of applying to others, because I am able to stand the guilt and pain of not paying attention to important people around me, so that I can reply to emails same day, and I expect my shitty behavior to be embraced by everyone who wants something from me. But, to consider a bad behavior as etiquette is moral rot, and moral rot in the valley that has artificial intelligence in its womb, that is not what we want.
Rule #3: The Double Opt-In Intro is precisely, surgically precise I mean, the thing that keeps progress dripping instead of flowing. The valley, or any innovation hub, should try to NOT make such networking primitive primate behavior a way to access capital, information or mentoring, because the minute proper networking becomes etiquette, your meritocracy has vaporized into thin air and guilds, brotherhoods, cartels, families, frat bros and valueless “influencers” or lobbyists who “know everyone” will become the gatekeepers of your new connectocratic world.
Rule #4: The 3-Bullet Email discourages a lot of good things from happening. If you plan of making another trivial Tinder, or shopping assistant, or to do list manager, your three bullets are a waste of text. If you are a VC investor or angel, and expect to find true value by spending three minutes and forty four seconds in a pitch, you are not doing proper diligent and intelligent capital investment, you are playing your gut and hope to win a lottery. Green lumber! You sell green lumber and all you care to hear is “green lumber” and in a three bullet email you will miss what is green about the lumber.
Rule #5: Good Karma is essentially show me yours, I’ll show you mine. Or, the worse, one hand washes the other, the “I owe you” that makes for the true sell outs we never hear about: the projects that never happen, the people shunned without explanations, the quick glimpse of someone’s tacit approval or denial. When gratitude is considered etiquette it becomes a social obligation instead of an emotional state, and social obligations make the foundation of “the ends justify the means”.
Rule #6: The 15-mn Call or the 30 | 60 mn-Meeting is akin to the three bullet email, subject to the same fallacy and, behold, this is protocol. Friends, protocol is an act of performed submission. If we run things on the same underlying principles of power exchange, where your time is priceless and mine is available and abundant, we’re digging up the centuries of shit piled below our “innovation” driven progressive visions.
Rule #7: Accent Is OK, oh my God, the worst. “Accent is OK. Not speaking English is not OK.”, means precisely the bad interpretation of “culture fit”, the club, the language of the elite. When I read this, all I heard was that oh so common thing in the U.S., yelling “English please!” at a Spanish speaking folk in damn supermarkets. And, behold again, do you know why English is the shit? Here: because “Otherwise you will face discrimination at some point of your journey. Pretty quickly actually.”. So, you see, the etiquette of Silicon Valley is an instruction manual on how to please a discriminatory system or racist and exclusionary spoiled brats. What, never heard of a translator? We have a parliament in the E.U. where politicians speak their own god damn language and it works, and you tell me I can’t get some bucks to fund some crappy app unless I know English well enough for “nuance”? And that dictionary of how you’re given the shaft is an even bigger embarrassment:
“Your product is OK”. Translation: “It sucks, I won’t buy it for sure”.
This diplomatic doublespeak is as far from a self proclaimed meritocratic society as Voyager 1 got from Earth by now.
Rule #8: Data Or Die would be a great advice, but then again when it means we should all level intellectually at evaluating “ TAM | SAM | SOM, MoM | YoY growth, MRR | ARR, ACV, Rev churn | Cust churn, Cohort Analysis, LTV, CAC, DAU | WAU | MAU, GMV, Retention Rate, Burn Rate, and so on.” it becomes a flat out lie, a filter for competition, a secret code to enter monopoly markets, a way to stifle creativity and novel approaches, any of which decrease profitability but return value to society. All acronym data is the “corporate tiger” polishing the torture tools used on the unsuspecting victims: our children inheriting “the data” and struggling not to die.
Rule #9: Storytelling, I call this legitimized lying. When you are in sales mode all the freaking time you become the puppet of your hubris. We see this, we see it especially with high profile founders who start believing their own sales deck and use the power they wield to force it upon us.
When a technology industry and financial management industry meet and do this:
I want to run the hell as far as my humble two feet can carry me, the uneducated rugged fool who dared to dress up for a fucking job interview. If this is what we’re expected to do, maybe it’s best to not be seen by the king.
The king of the day, that is.