No Exit

Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s No Exit captures the stress of running a seed stage startup and contrasts it with the well-paid programmers who are imported to San Francisco to work at the successful ones (but don’t think funded startups pay their co-founders so poorly).

I was struck by the truth of this observation:

The guy at the flophouse with the most clout was a mop-headed coder who worked at Square. One night at dinner he slyly mocked another former flop-houser, this one a newly minted UX designer at Apple. At Apple you sometimes couldn’t even work on your own bus, lest employees in different groups see what you were up to; at Square, everybody was emailed minutes of everybody else’s meetings. The biggest status play at that dinner table, and at hundreds like it, was to work at the biggest company that maintained startup cred, the biggest place you could feel as though you were working on an imaginable whole rather than a tiny part.