The next major thing Silicon Valley needs to disrupt is its own culture, states programmer and former Facebook engineer Carlos Bueno.
What's wrong with it?
"The problem is that Silicon Valley has...created a make-believe cult of objective meritocracy, a pseudo-scientific mythos to obscure and reinforce the belief that only people who look and talk like us are worth noticing," Bueno writes. "After making such a show of burning down the bad old rules of business, the new ones we've created seem pretty similar."
Bueno references a blog post written by startup 42Floors stating that a job candidate was "disappointing" because he showed up wearing a suit. As a result of being overdressed, the man failed the unspoken "go-out-for-a-beer test."
He also quotes PayPal and Slide creator Max Levchin, who once said a candidate wasn't offered a job because he played basketball for fun. Basketball wasn't a favorite pastime of Levchin's coworkers, so the candidate wasn't appealing - even though he passed all of Levchin's engineering tests. 'That single sentence ['I play hoops'] lost him the job," Levchin reportedly said.
To survive in Silicon Valley's current warped, be-like-me-or-be-snubbed culture, Buenos made a list of seven rules to follow.
From his article in Quartz:
- Live in the Valley. If you don't, move. The pioneers who are connecting the global human family and removing barriers of time and space won't take you seriously unless you brunch at the same restaurants they do. Ideally you should live in "The City," which is on a peninsula, and not on "The Peninsula," which is in a valley.
- We expect you to click with us "organically," which means on our schedule. Be flexible with your time. It's best to behave as though you have nothing better to do all day but wait for us to call you in for coffee or some skateboarding.
- Don't overdress, but don't underdress. You should mirror as precisely as possible our socioeconomic level, social cues, and idiom. Remember unlucky Mr. Hoops. But no pressure, you know? Laidback.
- To distinguish yourself from the throngs, find a way to surprise us that has nothing to do with your ability to perform your job. Maybe you could bring some appropriately quirky luxury foods as tribute.
- You are expected to read everything we blog about and work it into the conversation. This shows commitment.
- We don't actually want to talk to you. You need to locate someone else in our social circle and convince them to send us a "warm intro." This is a wonderfully recursive time-waster, as those people will want a warm intro from someone they know before talking to you, and so on.
- We're objective meritocratic folks and will violently reject any suggestion that we are not. We totally won't "ding" you for not doing steps 1-6, we swear. But they help. Totally.