NYT’s Erin Griffith just nailed the state of work, likening #hustle #riseandgrind #thankgoditsmonday evangelism of VCs and entrepreneurial “patron saints” like Gary Vaynerchuk to Soviet propaganda for the capitalist age.
I’m on both sides of this issue.
On the one hand, I maintain a healthy cynicism for the Entrepreneurial Industrial Complex that covertly preaches worker exploitation. And that’s not me just having a case of the Mondays.
In fact, I was going to start our flow this week with a vintage Gary Vee clip about the long game—because nobody including me is immune to needing something to believe in over the long haul. We all link self worth and career worth, and Gary Vee is particularly genius at tipping this message in favor of self worth.
But even he’s gone a bit too far lately by telling kids to work for nothing. Shine the shoes of your favorite celeb, then work your way into making his social videos free for a year. Then you’re set for life.
I get he’s just recasting the “build your resume by working for a hot company” for social-native Gen Zs and young Millennials, but it smells more like he’s driving down labor cost across his network of companies.
I wish Gary Vee would preserve his self-worth cred and leave clever labor cost stuff to VCs like Reid Hoffman who preach a 3 part doctrine:
(1) You are The Startup Of You so your career is totally in your control.
(2) Each role is more of a tour of duty than a job. Companies owe you nothing, but The Alliance you have with teams along the way will land you your next tour.
(3) Companies must focus on Blitzscaling as fast as possible with the cheapest labor, cash out investors at the top, and then do it again.
Which brings me to my conflicting worldview.
Despite my cynicism, I’m neck deep in the hustle, working twice as much for my own company after two decades of working for The Man.
Yet I’m flying out of bed 6-7 days a week in a way I never have, and our team is bootstrapping and making less for now because we believe in what we’re doing in a way none of us have before.
I read Reid Hoffman’s books and they scared the shit out of me. Because whether you agree or not, this is how work is now, and whether guys like Reid architected it or not is irrelevant. It’s only a matter of whether you can adapt and find your way in this new model.
The team we began last June is the living embodiment of this current state of work in most ways, save one. I’m not building as fast as possible to cash out. I’m trying to build something our whole team can continue to believe in.
You VCs reading this just spit out your coffee at my quaint notion. And that’s cool. I’ll see you. And you’ll keep seeing our consulting and media businesses make your companies more valuable.
As for Erin’s NYT piece, it’s a super important touchstone on this new career mindset we’re all part of, but let’s not pretend we’re not capitalists. And capitalists also thrive on propaganda.
I’ve just chosen not to sell The Basis Point team in this #hustle #riseandgrind kind of way. And even though we’re having a blast and grind long hours, we’d never wear that as a badge of honor, and we’d never preach Thank God It’s Monday.
Because I do believe you’d get your ass kicked saying something like that.
And as for that Gary Vee clip on the long game, I hope you come check for it some other Monday.