Evil, and its relationship to the tech industry.

Earlier tonight, I read something that I wrote on the Internet a few years ago. I won’t link to it. I regret it. It was an impulsive, not-very-coherent “wall of text” post on a message board. It disturbed me to read it and realize that I had written it.

The VC-funded tech industry, these days, swarms with talentless narcissists. In that world, you can find yourself face-to-face with raw evil– the kind that lacks form or purpose. It’s something that you don’t encounter in most industries– at least, not in the same way. That might be the most understated occupational hazard of that industry.

For a contrast, let’s talk about finance. There’s a lot of greed, but Wall Street isn’t evil. In finance, people don’t go out of their way to ruin each others’ lives and careers. That sort of vindictive behavior is common in Silicon Valley. For all the claptrap about creating new wealth, the attitude revealed by techie behavior is zero-sum at best and blindly malicious at its worst.

A managing director at a bank would never resort to physical violence over a blog post that was critical of his employer. I know venture capitalists who have. It’s not an uncommon thing in Silicon Valley.

If I had to guess the difference, it’s that financiers are honest about why they go to work. They do it for the money, and they’ll admit as much. Their industry is amoral and has a few bad actors, but most of them are decent, ethical people. The techies, on the other hand, think they’re such a gift to humanity that any wrong behavior can be justified in terms of some distant-future greater good (e.g. the Singularity) in which they’ve placed a bizarre pseudo-religious faith.

I spent a lot of time (and millions of words) trying to fix the tech industry. That’s why I blogged. I failed, of course. I didn’t make a dent. The corporate software industry is as scummy, socially harmful, and downright evil in 2017 as it was in 2011, when I started writing about it.

Also, you have to be careful about fighting evil. When you stare it down, face on, you risk going nuts for a while. Evil people operate safely in mental spaces that good people cannot tolerate without getting warped.

You can come back from it, of course, but it takes time. A lot of time, and it’s exhausting.


20 thoughts on “Evil, and its relationship to the tech industry.

  1. A single man cannot directly confront a group of evil manipulators who work together to control a large mass of other people.

    To confront them, you need to collect hard evidences, form groups, and present a unified front.

    In retrospect, it seems you failed because you worked alone, exposed your real name, and became the single focal point of attack. Evil manipulators are good at exhausting isolated individuals to death.

  2. Come read through some /pol/ redpill threads and find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    Thank you for at least trying…that’s more than most do. Your “3 ladder” article remains one of my favorite pieces of writing, and Trump represents the “war” you foresaw.

  3. Significant with the revelations this week, specifically about mistreatment of women by VCs, with documented proof of “you’ll never work again” as a suppression strategy.

      • Women complaining of harassment. Fully documented evidence of the VCs calling around to ensure the women can’t find work.

  4. My frustration with investors is not that they’re evil – although they can be. What bothers me about them is:

    1) They have a knee-jerk hostility towards ideas they haven’t seen before. And this reaction seems to cancel out the fact that a company has excellent growth, high client acquisition and retention, and a good public reputation. Which are always what investors say they want. For example, a CEO has an original marketing strategy for which he has a proven track record … and the whole round of talks with a fund gets derailed, simply because he expressed an original idea.

    2) They presume to know the market better than a company does. The company had to go out, acquire clients, face rejection, and adapt their technology to clients – the ugly drudge-work of learning the market. Many VC’s haven’t had to do these things in their careers, but somehow they are the authorities on what clients want.

    3) Their lack of curiosity is very frustrating. No interest in the technical side at all.

    To be honest, I wonder if it’s healthier to keep these people out of the loop entirely, and grow a business the old fashioned way, with resilience, creativity, salesmanship, and discipline.

    MOC, do you think relates to your hypothesis that VC attracts third-tier businesspeople?

    • Another irritating thing … a casual, vaguely detectable complex of “background-ism”, something that people have called racism, localism, sexism, or ageism. It’s not blatant, just a sort of vague feeling of, if you aren’t a smiley, clean-cut upper-middle-class American living in an approved part of the country below the age of 30, you just don’t really exist in their world. The strange thing is, it’s an AND of these traits. If you’re American and well-educated, but are too old, you’re out. If you’re under 30 but you went to the wrong school, you’re out. If you’re a woman with elite credentials and the right age and you live in the Valley but you’re a Latina, maybe, we’ll see …

      I think this AND’ing of characteristics is defensive – when enough low-quality people get into a field, they raise the barrier to entry to protect themselves, and the barrier is always something arbitrary. You saw the same thing in pre-9/11 government security clearances – gay, 2nd-generation immigrant, went to the wrong countries, knew too many foreigners personally, whatever, you were a security risk. Which led to the intelligence community’s loss of credibility post 9/11 – they just didn’t have very competent people.

      But the analogy goes further … Eventually, the public looses trust in such groups and ignores them. I am hoping this will happen with VC-funded tech, and that new, healthier business models of growing a tech company arise in their place.

  5. That’s what decent people does, fight the evil and try to spare some misery to others. With skill. Be proud of what you are, your ideas have helped me a lot understanding this insane world, in fact, i’m searching for more of it, not less. We need to develop the skill to fight for what is right, certainly not to hide and hope.Take for example Narcissism you mention, I think everyone should know at least how to recognize this kind of boss/coworker/partner, once it’s recognized there is accumulated experience on how to deal with them.
    You have the gift of a an amazing writing style and passion for CS, hope you get those to fruit.

  6. If nothing else, your lofty goal for a single individual, your struggle, your failure, and overall experience constitute invaluable material for modeling a fine romantic character fighting evil, cyberpunk style, if you’d ever considering writing about that.

  7. I’ve generally had the opposite experience. Wall Street has in the past been extremely destructive to my career. My experience with Wall Street is that egos come first and everything else–including even money–comes a distant second. But Silicon Valley, although also challenging, has generally been constructive and supportive to my career.

  8. I don’t know.

    I don’t doubt what you’ve seen, because I’ve worked with startups and plenty of “startup types,” but I’ve also seen plenty of similarly corrupt stuff in the non “techbro” world.

    For example, guys who are middle management in retail banking or insurance and who use their hiring manager budget to bring in young girls of their preferred race/body type/whatever and sleep with them, then run out anyone who finds out about any of it and destroy their reputations for years after the fact.

    Then again, I haven’t worked at hedge funds or I-banks.

  9. Hi, I need to change my email address for your email’s, and I could not find on the site the place to do this. Do you know I can do this?

  10. “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

    “Evil is the force which says ‘my knowledge is complete.'”
    -Jordan Peterson

    (I might highly recommend to you Jordan Peterson’s comments on the dangers of the intellect. It maps well onto VC-istan evil. In fact, I’d recommend all of Jordan Peterson’s stuff to all of you if you’re trying to sort out just what the hell is up with malevolence.)

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