Programmers learn by doing, and most of the things he gpa wanted to do, he couldn't—sometimes because the company wouldn't let him, but often because the company's code wouldn't let him. Between the drag of legacy code, the overhead of doing development in such a large organization, and the restrictions imposed by interfaces owned by other groups, he could only try a fraction of the things he would have liked. He said he has learned much more in his own startup, despite the fact that he has to do all the company's errands as well as programming, because at least when he's programming he can do whatever he wants. An obstacle downstream propagates upstream. If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what. So working for yourself makes your brain more powerful in the same way a low-restriction exhaust system makes an engine more powerful.
Sales people make much the same pitches every day; support people answer much the same questions; but once you've written a piece of code you don't need to write it again. So a programmer working as programmers are meant to is always making new things. And when you're part of an organization whose structure gives each person using freedom in inverse proportion to the size of the tree, you're going to face resistance when you do something new. This seems an inevitable consequence of bigness. It's true even in the smartest companies. I was talking recently to a founder who considered starting a startup right out of college, but went to work for google instead because he thought he'd learn more there. He didn't learn as much as he expected.
If people have to choose between something that's cheap, heavily marketed, and appealing in the short term, and something that's expensive, obscure, and appealing in the long term, which do you think most will choose? It's the same with work. The average mit graduate wants to work at google or Microsoft, because it's a recognized brand, it's safe, and they'll get paid a good salary right away. It's the job equivalent of the pizza they had for lunch. The drawbacks will only become apparent later, and then only in a vague sense of malaise. And founders and early employees of startups, meanwhile, are like the birkenstock-wearing weirdos of Berkeley: though a tiny minority of the population, they're the ones living as humans are meant. In an artificial world, only extremists live naturally. Programmers The restrictiveness of big company jobs is particularly hard on programmers, because the essence of programming is to build new things.
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If you were dropped at a random point in America today, nearly all the food around you would be bad for you. Humans were not designed to eat white flour, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. And yet if you analyzed the contents of the average grocery store you'd probably find these four ingredients accounted for most of the calories. "Normal" food is terribly bad for you. The only people who eat what humans were actually designed to eat are a few Birkenstock-wearing weirdos in Berkeley. If "normal" food is so bad for us, why is it so common?
There are two main reasons. One is that it has more immediate appeal. You may feel lousy an hour after eating that pizza, but eating the first couple bites feels great. The other is economies of scale. Producing junk food scales; producing fresh vegetables doesn't. Which means (a) junk food can be very cheap, and (b) it's worth spending level a lot to market.
The leaders have a little more power than other members of the tribe, but they don't generally tell them what to do and when the way a boss can. It's not your boss's fault. The real problem is that in the group above you in the hierarchy, your entire group is one virtual person. Your boss is just the way that constraint is imparted to you. So working in a group of 10 people within a large organization feels both right and wrong at the same time.
On the surface it feels like the kind of group you're meant to work in, but something major is missing. A job at a big company is like high fructose corn syrup: it has some of the qualities of things you're meant to like, but is disastrously lacking in others. Indeed, food is an excellent metaphor to explain what's wrong with the usual sort of job. For example, working for a big company is the default thing to do, at least for programmers. How bad could it be? Well, food shows that pretty clearly.
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That was the point of wallpaper creating. And when you propagate that constraint, the result is that each person gets freedom of action essay in inverse proportion to the size of the entire tree. 2 Anyone who's worked for a large organization has felt this. You can feel the difference between working for a company with 100 employees and one with 10,000, even if your group has only 10 people. Corn Syrup A group of 10 people within a large organization is a kind of fake tribe. The number of people you interact with is about right. But something is missing: individual initiative. Tribes of hunter-gatherers have much more freedom.
Your boss is the point where your group attaches to the tree. But when you use this trick for dividing a large group into smaller ones, something strange happens that i've never heard anyone mention explicitly. In the group one level up from yours, your boss represents your entire group. A group of 10 managers is not merely a group of 10 people working together writing in the usual way. It's really a group of groups. Which means for a group of 10 managers to work together as if they were simply a group of 10 individuals, the group working for each manager would have to work as if they were a single person—the workers and manager would each share only. In practice a group of people are never able to act as if they were one person. But in a large organization divided into groups in this way, the pressure is always in that direction. Each group tries its best to work as if it were the small group of individuals that humans were designed to work.
species thrives in groups of a certain size. A herd of impalas might have 100 adults; baboons maybe 20; lions rarely. Humans also seem designed to work in groups, and what i've read about hunter-gatherers accords with research on organizations and my own experience to suggest roughly what the ideal size is: groups of 8 work well; by 20 they're getting hard to manage; and. 1, whatever the upper limit is, we are clearly not meant to work in groups of several hundred. And yet—for reasons having more to do with technology than human nature—a great many people work for companies with hundreds or thousands of employees. Companies know groups that large wouldn't work, so they divide themselves into units small enough to work together. But to coordinate these they have to introduce something new: bosses. These smaller groups are always arranged in a tree structure.
Maybe the best way to put it is to say that they're happier in the sense that your body is happier during a long run than sitting on a sofa eating doughnuts. Though they're statistically abnormal, startup founders seem to be working in a way that's more natural for humans. I was in Africa last year and saw a lot of animals in the wild that. I'd only seen in zoos before. It was remarkable how paper different they seemed. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive. They're like different animals. I suspect that working for oneself feels better to humans in much the same way that living in the wild must feel better to a wide-ranging predator like a lion. Life in a zoo is easier, but it isn't the life they were designed for.
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Want to start a startup? Get funded by, y combinator. June 2008, technology tends to separate normal from natural. Our bodies weren't designed to eat the foods that people in rich countries eat, or to get so little exercise. There may be a similar problem with the way we work: a normal job may be as bad for us intellectually as white flour or sugar is for us physically. I began to suspect this after spending several years working with startup founders. I've now worked with over 200 of them, and i've noticed william a definite difference between programmers working on their own startups and those working for large organizations. I wouldn't say founders seem happier, necessarily; starting a startup can be very stressful.