Recently Peter Thiel’s book “Zero To One” was translated to Polish and my friends started commenting on it on Facebook. I read the book a year ago and while I enjoyed it, one thing that stood out to me was the author’s take on “remote work”:
Peter Thiel writes that “Even working remotely should be avoided, because misalignment can creep in whenever colleagues aren’t together full-time, in the same place, every day”.
So sad. That’s just so sad.
Sadly Silicon Valley is in the Industrial Age of work.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Silicon Valley and whenever I visited the area I really enjoyed the spirit of it and the whole “startup ecosystem” created there. I’m a CEO of a productivity app so I really liked the SV entrepreneurial vibe. But when I talked to other founders and VCs over there I quickly found out that their approach to modern work is.. not really that modern.
Working by sitting next to each other guarantees lots of distractions. Not “alignment”.
On one of my visits to the Silicon Vally I was invited to see the Facebook’s headquarters. Wow. It was my dream come true. I could see how the greatest and brightest of the Valley work. I was so excited. But then I visited the place…
It was a giant open space room with everyone crammed next to each other. I was shocked. This is how you treat the best and the brightest in the valley? How do you expect them to focus and deliver their best work? This is how you want them “aligned” with each other!?
What about disruption?
Silicon Valley startups are all about “disruption” yet they forgot to disrupt the way they work. This seems ridiculous to fund startups in the Valley because of the “alignment” and make them compete for talent there (with big guys at Apple, Google, Facebook and others) and pay for the rent in the most expensive city in the world (San Francisco).
Aligned thanks to modern tools
I run a small company of 24 people and 12 contractors and we all work from home. Thanks to the modern tools like Slack, Skype, Dropbox, Evernote and our own Nozbe app. We use tools created mostly in the Silicon Valley to work remotely and enjoy a great lifestyle and an amazing success. I feel we’re more aligned than ever as a team. We meet twice a year as an entire team and many more times in smaller groups.
We feel for the Silicon Valley based creators of the tools we use to get it all done. We feel for them because they can’t enjoy the lifestyle we have because their co founders and VCs wouldn’t allow that. To all the SV lords I’d like to end this article with a quote: