29Jan24 Roundup: We're All Trying to Find the Guy Who Did This

A venture capitalist demonstrates exactly zero judgment on LinkedIn, and I try not to lose my goddamn mind. Also, more good news, more Bad Job Bingo.
A popular meme of a man in a hot dog suit saying 'We're all trying to find the guy who did this.'

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News from Around Supportlandia (and Beyond)

We're All Trying to Find the Guy Who Did This

San Diego experienced awful flash flooding this week after receiving nearly three inches of rain in just six hours, making Monday the rainiest day the city's seen in January since 1850.

Like extreme weather across the country, the storm was amplified by climate change, and the flooding itself was exacerbated by the city's aging and inadequate stormwater infrastructure. Hundreds of people had to be rescued from their homes and vehicles, and many of San Diego's celebrated arts and culture spaces were dealt severe flood damage.

An empathetic person might see flooding like this, realize that it's usually accompanied by stories like a man wading through water up to his neck to save a toddler or a family escaping their flooding home through a window only to nearly be swept away by the rapidly moving water outside, and be moved to respond with love and support.[1]

And maybe Matt Turck, Managing Director of venture capital firm FirstMark Capital, did respond that way on other social media platforms, I don't know. I do know that, unfortunately, that's not what he chose to do on LinkedIn.

Instead, Turck seems to have seen this news and the viral footage of a Tesla recklessly powering its way through the deep water of a flooded intersection and thought, "This is clearly an opportunity to push that #HustleLife!"[2]

If you, like me, were hoping that Turck is making a poignant allegory about how founders mismanage their companies at the expense of their employees despite the very real and clear threat of what would be for literally anyone else natural consequences, I regret to inform you:

He is not.

Matt Turck responding "Facts" a comment on his post from Semir Jahic saying "You have to want it hard to get it. 😀"
Matt Turck replying with a picture of the Mandalorian to a comment on his post from Cyril Tuschi saying "This is the way."

For better or worse, writing this newsletter means that I spend more time on LinkedIn than I would like. And there's an argument to be made about whether there's any good social media platform nowadays,[3] but there's just something about LinkedIn that brings out the worst instincts in techbros and #HustleLifers.

It's like they enter their username and password into the Hotel California of professional networking sites and pass into a world totally devoid of judgment and emotional intelligence, where the only valid aim that could possibly exist is to derive value for shareholders. Whose shareholders? Doesn't matter. The Shareholders need them, and by god, those techbros will sink to the occasion.

Still, despite knowing this! Despite knowing that my expectations should be at the very bottom of the Marianas Trench, did I wake up Sunday morning, make my coffee, sit down at my desk, and open my LinkedIn feed thinking I'd find the perfect metaphor for the destruction caused in the Tech industry by incompetent company leadership and their hubristic investors?

Nay, I tell you, I did not.

And yet, there it was: a venture capitalist unironically comparing founders to a driver who did something incredibly irresponsible and which put themselves and everyone around them in mortal danger, who survived not because of any real skill or training but thanks to sheer fucking luck, then attributing the fact that the driver somehow managed to avoid killing themselves this time to scrappy, entrepreneurial persistence.

And that is to say nothing of the absolute chutzpah it takes to post this video with the caption "Founder ignoring 'tough market conditions,'" considering that – like a flood that's exacerbated by climate change and poor infrastructure – investors and inept Tech founders/CEOs alike are fueling the "tough market conditions" that have led to nearly 25,000 tech workers being laid off just since the new year, not to mention the 260,000 tech workers laid off in 2023.[4]

"There is a herding effect in tech," said Jeff Shulman, a professor at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business, who follows the tech industry. "The layoffs seem to be helping their stock prices, so these companies see no reason to stop."
Some smaller tech startups are running out of cash and facing fundraising struggles with the era of easy money now over, which has prompted workforce reductions. But experts say for most large and publicly-traded tech firms, the layoff trend this month is aimed at satisfying investors.
[...] If it appears as if an entire sector is experiencing a downward shift, Pfeffer argues, it takes the focus off of any single individual company — which provides cover for layoffs that are undertaken to make up for bad decisions that led to investments or strategies not paying off.

And hey, speaking of destruction! Among the companies in FirstMark Capital's portfolio?

So in a way, I guess Turck is right. He and his founders really are ignoring tough market conditions: the conditions they're creating for the rest of us so they can continue to pat themselves on the back for a job shittily done.

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