There is no counter culture in tech anymore

Microsoft kng
Mar 14, 2018 125 Comments

There are no new Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniaks out there anymore. Where are the hippies? Where are the freaks? The punks? They've been replaced by a bunch of psychotic MBA sociopaths who only care about money.

When Jobs and Wozniak started Apple they were obsessed with taking down the corporate whores, the business suit IBM egg heads. It's time to face it, tech has shifted back into those egg heads but instead it's all wrapped in the fake auspices of "disruption". They dress like hippies but they are corporate shills, obsessed with VC money and RSUs. You may go to a brightly colored office with free food and massages, but rest assured... You are the IBM egg head of the 21st century.

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TOP 125 Comments
  • Yelp overmind
    Elon
    Mar 14, 2018 4
    • Microsoft SeemsBlorb
      Good example, actually.
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Snapchat / Eng camera-co
      Elon is as corporate as it gets
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Blue Origin / Eng login81
      Elon is miserable to work for
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Netflix genji
      Wow Blue Origin!
      Mar 16, 2018
  • SAP Ripsh
    M glad. Steve jobs was a horrible boss. Dont want to work for such psychopaths.
    Mar 14, 2018 4
    • Amazon
      psychopath

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon
      psychopathmore
      Me?
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Expedia / Other
      Batmanuel

      Expedia Other

      BIO
      I > U
      Batmanuelmore
      He was building a company. He knew he was changing the world. Stay at SAP and let the world go by. We’ll all be better off.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Amazon / Other
      Steve Robs

      Amazon Other

      BIO
      Hi. Its Turk from the Turk show.
      Steve Robsmore
      Me?
      Mar 18, 2018
    • Tableau B@B@r@cu$
      Jobs was a prick we could do without, but Woz was the man.
      Mar 29, 2018
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Because we are going to have millions of people suddenly without a job, without health care, and without social welfare programs that could keep them afloat.

      What do you think all those people are going to go do?
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Interloc Solutions / Eng
      ifa

      Interloc Solutions Eng

      BIO
      I do Android development.
      ifamore
      I'm with the OP. Automation is a thing that'll happen but it needs to be done gracefully otherwise everything will tank.
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Amazon hLED85
      kng, automation is the future reality, it is going to happen. drivers replacement will uncover new labour markets earlier, hopefully. in addition to that total automation will probably trigger some other mechanisms of income adjustments. it may be scary short term, but it’s like delaying CT scan for a cancer tumor. You may be delaying the scan but cancer js not going to stop growing.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Amazon DonkeySlap
      Go work in Crypto. You are never going to get what you are asking for in FAAMG startups in SF are the only place you’ll have a chance. I’ve never been part of such a corporate whore culture as Seattle there is no one here trying to change the world everyone is trying to make a good safe salary for their wife and 3.5 kids and have enough free time to hike and shit
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Microsoft Rules
      I wonder how it would be working for Elon, personally I like the kinda shit he does and would go work for him even with a paycut
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Tesla / Other
      iamtree

      Tesla Other

      BIO
      Non tech launching @worldcontrolled on the fly to increase awareness for #mentalhealth month - keep getting frozen out by YouTube fb and insta. Help?
      iamtreemore
      Kng I see what you guys are up to over there, mad props. From my POV
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Google sce
      "What are those people going to do?" -- In the long run, hopefully something better? I'd rather unlock the efficiency of human beings than force labor upon them just to give them "jobs". Most people drive for uber because they need the money, not because they want to spend 8-16 hrs a day driving for other people. I love Counterculture because it isn't whitewashed by mainstream monotony and status quo thinking. How about being inspired to do something about it? -- What are the principles/values you represent? anti-capitalism? Helping others? Disruption for sake of disruption? Unlocking potential in humanity? Sustainable development? Community?
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Tesla / Other
      iamtree

      Tesla Other

      BIO
      Non tech launching @worldcontrolled on the fly to increase awareness for #mentalhealth month - keep getting frozen out by YouTube fb and insta. Help?
      iamtreemore
      Sce. You are my boy or girl. Unfortunately, nowadays you have to look (and act 😩) the part. But, punks recognize punks, rockstars are hiding in plain view, we just have to maintain a low profile, for now.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • LinkedIn orbax1
      Counterculture these days is when you see someone acting like an owner filling their backpack with 23 1/2 snacks on a Monday morning and saying nothing about it. Mmm hmm.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Microsoft 78j
      This
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Snapchat WhoIsEvan
    Well we have Evan Spiegel. He does pretty counter intuitive things.
    Mar 14, 2018 6
    • Microsoft
      yMcg47

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore
      yMcg47more
      I think the op meant counterintuitive smart things
      Mar 14, 2018
    • LinkedIn Jesuss
      Lol
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Google sce
      I almost laughed; then I realized that's how it starts (and hilarously ironic from a MSFT person to someone at Snapchat). Evan Spiegel is a ballsy disrupter worth 4 billion; doesn't mean he's always right. I am interested to see what he does next. Not being part of the tech sheep/troll crowd seems a good way to start. Corporate tech arguing which of the Fortune 5 is best to work at seems so pointless. Then again, what we used to call tech is getting more a part of the mainstream economy; by definition, counter-culture is not here. (individuals, yes, company, no).
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Amazon Methane
      I don't think much of Evan. He was born with a golden spoon in his mouth and his "success" is just a product of it. If he can shed that image then I think his next venture might be way bigger...I just don't see him ever shedding it.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Genentech Dodo5
      Is it a sin to be born with a golden spoon? Why does that take away from someone's accomplishments?
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Snapchat iasB74
      @Methane you mean like Gates or Zuckerberg?!
      Mar 16, 2018
  • F5 Networks wait,what?
    Rights are the new Lefts. Being conservative is the new counter-culture.
    Mar 14, 2018 21
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Why do you think it is "daring" being a trump supporter in the workplace today whereas being a romney, mccain, or gwb supporter in the last 10 years was just seen as normal?
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Workday / Eng EaOEiz
      Because I'm a minority in most of my social groups.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Avalara PhEO40
      It was hardly perceived as normal to support Romney or McCain on the coasts, and was met with minor ridicule. The election of Trump, however, was polarized far deeper than prior elections, and went as far as people trying to get others fired just for supporting him.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      I'm not disputing that. But if being a republican up until 2016 was seen as normal and acceptable (it certainly was) what changed to make the country more polarized? What changed to make co-workers think "this person supports this politician, I dont know if I want to be associated with them."
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Workday / Eng EaOEiz
      A controversial candidate found a way to be in the news every day, so that everyone paid attention and developed a very strong opinion.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      And what did they say to be controversial? How were they able to continually stay in the news?

      I'm not trying to toy with you here. Honest questions.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Workday / Eng EaOEiz
      He did things that people found frustrating, unusual, disappointing, hateful, incorrect, controversial, or stupid.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Avalara PhEO40
      He also was consistently lampooned by the media, and he called them out on it. Say what you will about how he brought attention to himself, but he wasn’t wrong about how the media treated him. I remember the election night clearly. The number of times CNN stumbled over themselves saying “we need... she needs x number of districts” and the like made it clear the race was always biased. Hell, I don’t care if you agree with Wikileaks’ editorializing, the leaked emails didn’t lie. And if you argue they were forged the DKIM headers prove you wrong. The entire Democratic Party slandered their own more popular candidate to force their golden girl. They cheated, stole answers for debates, and used money to prop up Donald indirectly as a “pied piper” candidate to be what they thought would make an easy win. And this is what they got — what they totally deserved.
      Mar 18, 2018
    • Avalara PhEO40
      But conservatives are the target of the left’s ire because they won. But conservatives didn’t really win either. The only people the left should be mad at are themselves. They screwed this up. They let their own corruption consume them. Instead of hating their fellow neighbor, coworker, etc., they should take a closer look at their own actions.
      Mar 18, 2018
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Ha they do hate each other though. There has been a civil war brewing in the left bigger than anything the right went through in 2015-2016. The berniecrats hate the moderate Dems and blame them for the election, the moderates blame the far left for slandering Hilary and the DNC.

      Unlike the republicans, the left doesn't naturally "fall in line". It's a far more divided party even though the republicans detetested trump during the primary. The fact that you don't notice there's divisions in the left is troubling. Hell, your whole "whataboutism" shtick is troubling too.
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Coursera Bohbhhhh
    Agree. I’m moving from a mission driven company to fang soon bc comp is 40% higher 😏. It’s hard to not take a high salary when it’s available. Also, I’d be more inclined to stay where I am if things weren’t so f’ing expensive and we had more of a safety net in the US like in Europe. Le sigh.
    Mar 14, 2018 3
    • Apple iyjc43
      Your ceo / cofounders/ cto all had left. The mission was only for them to get rich and they left because they didn’t become rich!
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Coursera Bohbhhhh
      That’s innaccuarate
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Apple iyjc43
      If they are truly altruistic and believe in the mission, why did everyone leave?
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Apple shjufxbir
    I'd say that they GREW UP. The counterculture is nonsense, because it's perpendicular to what makes a successful company, and what funds a successful family. Do you want to work for a small company forever, or work for a large one for awhile, save some money, and then eventually go do your own thing? You have that freedom working for the big guys. It's the potential.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • Oracle SafrasCats
      You are everything that Apple groomed you to be.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Tesla / Other
      iamtree

      Tesla Other

      BIO
      Non tech launching @worldcontrolled on the fly to increase awareness for #mentalhealth month - keep getting frozen out by YouTube fb and insta. Help?
      iamtreemore
      It’s never to late. But I hope you’re in your 20s.
      Mar 15, 2018
  • Google kenobi-san
    I think it's hard to create counterculture at this point in time since we seem to be in an era of conformity. Let things boil.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      We could contaminate the water supply with LSD like they tried to do in Chicago
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Tesla / Other
      iamtree

      Tesla Other

      BIO
      Non tech launching @worldcontrolled on the fly to increase awareness for #mentalhealth month - keep getting frozen out by YouTube fb and insta. Help?
      iamtreemore
      Dose is everything though. Never actually dropped. Had many adventures with that fun guy though when I was younger.
      Mar 15, 2018
  • Microsoft SeemsBlorb
    I don’t care as much about freaks as much as I care about principles or value and vision driven leadership.

    Engagement is not a value. Nor is conversion. It’s a byproduct, not a product.

    I don’t see much of this out there.

    I can’t think of a company besides the Apple of old.
    Mar 14, 2018 1
    • Lending Club LCPlayer
      SharpinUp.com ?? Lol
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Twitch Moosmo
    Just watch Halt and Catch Fire to get your fix, then go back and collect your money like everyone else in tech
    Mar 14, 2018 0
  • Amazon Cry@Desk
    Definition of tech has changed in last decade or so. Back in the day tech was defined by high margin, high intellect businesses.

    Now it is competing for bottom dollar with groceries, restaurants, hotels, and taxies.

    There’s nothing wrong, but tech is no more tech, so counter culture still is represented by Apple, who are selling shiny high margin technology devices as their primary business.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • Google sce
      Its not counterculture anymore if they're selling the mainstream default product. When tech's become entirely mainstream, what's next is the what disrupts that world...
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Amazon Cry@Desk
      Maybe, but general tech nowadays is about who can sell personal data in mass. Based on that Apple is different so far. (Not an Apple fanboy)
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Oracle SafrasCats
    You actually bought that Steve Jobs anti-corporate crap? Honestly, do you eat everything you’re fed?

    Steve Jobs was iconic of corporate, money-obsessed Silicon Valley. FFS, his best pal was my boss! The man existed solely to dominate other people, stole ideas any time it suited him, and gave zero f*cks that his success was built on the crushed corpses of people infinitely more talented than him.

    If you can’t see the real innovators and counter culture in SV, perhaps it’s because you’re a party to its cultural suffocation.
    Mar 15, 2018 3
    • Cisco Ytrtgu
      Say what you want, but he got it right multiple times with the gorgeously awesome products we use, admire and have gotten used to today.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Oracle SafrasCats
      No, other people got it right. He just took what they got right and mass-marketed it.

      Also, let’s not pretend that jobs wasn’t the world’s most prolific judicial system abuser, forcing everyone and everything that was better off the market (or out of their hands and into his).

      There was a good reason why he was forced out of Apple. His “revolutionary” ideas were all duds, and it was only when he embraced stealing from others that he truly succeeded.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng Erns_Trust
      Anybody remember his illegal no poach agreements?
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Lyft pooof
    It's all gone, just look at the internet. Google used to be run on a bunch of commodity machines. People created content and shared it on something called a web page.
    Now it's just BuzzFeed plagarizing top 10 lists and making meaningless surveys for you to share on Facebook.
    Which culture encourages visionaries and creative bold ideas?
    Mar 14, 2018 0
  • Amazon hireArchy
    I want to work for startups and do really cool stuff. However many like me stuck on H1 visa with no green card in sight are stuck. We cannot risk doing startups OR joining no name companies.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • SAP Ripsh
      Sad state of affairs. US does not deserve you guys. Maybe start a company back home or another first world country where PR is easier?
      Mar 14, 2018
    • New fubarr
      I joined a startup with I-140 approved. Then was laid off after 3 years in a man layoff. Was easy to find another job due to the skills. You have 60 days to find a new job. Don't let green card stop your career growth. Join a startup if they sponsor your green card and pay well salary/equity. Green card for Indians will never happen if filed recently.
      Mar 15, 2018
  • Amazon blueshift
    America has no counter culture, at least this generation never experienced any form of it. Growth and stock market boom but sad days and boring conformism. The fake and hypocritical Donald Trump is closer to culture countering than anyone in Tech.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Lol if you think there's no counter culture then that speaks much more about you then it does about society.

      We've been pushing counter culture away from city centers for the last twenty years. It's still out there - but it just doesn't fit neatly into the modern globalized city.
      Mar 14, 2018
    • Amazon blueshift
      There's a funny guy. You could have been more credible if you gave one example which you obviously can't think of. "Out there"?! lol
      Mar 14, 2018
  • Microsoft welder
    Can’t do counter culture when you have family, mortgage etc., even in the so called golden age. Having said that, it’s true that the crowd nowadays is different from the ones twenty years ago. Back then it was passionate and brilliant engineers. Now it’s people who are here for the money who otherwise wouldn’tve cares about a tech job. I clearly see that here at Microsoft where the old school devs are awesome but not adapted to today’s pretentious culture of disruption, agile etc. and then we have the new ones who manipulate their way through while pretending to be liberal etc
    Mar 16, 2018 1
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Agree with everything you said
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Microsoft
    JoanHarris

    Microsoft

    BIO
    Goddess of sexual pleasure and other pleasant things. I have left Microsoft and am working at Amazon but, of course, my opinions are my own.
    JoanHarrismore
    I think it is just because it is a more mature industry. The combination of stupid money and monolithic companies who are the only ones with the $$ to invest in the technologies that require enormous resources has led us to this juncture.

    Now MBAs and a degree from a good school count for more than talent. Now the douches who used to go into finance are going into software (and bringing with them misogynistic frat culture). And oddballs and freaks are being pushed out for soulless leetcode-obsessed jerks who know all the algorithms but still can’t code for shit.

    Just like companies mature, so do industries. We lived through a golden age - but that is over until the next revolutionary change that doesn’t require massive capital to start.
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Nurx TnWW58
    I think Travis Kalanick is the closest we’ve got B
    Mar 15, 2018 2
    • Credit Karma bhdm88
      Hahahahaha
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Uber Pir4te
      Hahaha RIP
      Mar 19, 2018
  • Workday / Eng EaOEiz
    I like free food, hoodies, and pretending I'm not a corporate minion even though I am one. No harm done.
    Mar 16, 2018 1
    • Nurx TnWW58
      The realest
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Microsoft NzBF33
    There are still counter-culture startups out there, like Open Whisper Systems.
    Mar 14, 2018 2
    • Intuit 1600club
      Ding ding ding.
      Mar 15, 2018
    • Cruise Automation / Eng
      And like all of defcon although that would also probably slowly lean corporate in the future
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Amazon
    HfgiX8

    Amazon

    PRE
    Google
    HfgiX8more
    First, American PC is killing people’s personalities. Anyone behaving out of norm is not creative, but rather non-polished, non-seasoned, not-assertive or non-balanced. Second, Steve Jobs was a sociopath. Period.
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Google moo🐮
    Some of the crypto community is kind of countercultural, but unfortunately more in a anarcholibertarian way rather than a hippie way.
    Mar 16, 2018 2
    • Lyft pooof
      I loved it till banks and the sec and IRS and CNBC all wanted a piece
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Yeah the ethereum and cardano guys are kinda counter cultural
      Mar 16, 2018
  • Uber TP$
    Mark Zuckerberg and Travis Kalanick are the lastest counter culture ceos.
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Apple QLFh62
    OP - you are spot on, re automation and millions of people loosing jobs.

    On counterculture - I would call it anti-corporate culture, I.e. doing things the right way rather than politically correct and bullshit way.

    Many startups are founded by anti-corporate people. Hating a corporate culture is a pretty strong motivation to start your own thing, or to join someone else’ startup.
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Cisco Ytrtgu
    Couldn’t agree more
    Mar 14, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Mgmt good_bad
    I know you all realize that tech companies don't exist to be counter culture. They exist to make money for their shareholders.
    Mar 17, 2018 1
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Well, not all companies have shareholders or have to make a profit. I.e Mozilla
      Mar 17, 2018
  • Tibco software rHJS66
    The punks all working at companies with a good work life balance so that they have time to play in their punk bands and run their record labels.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Apple Elon Musk!
    Elon
    Mar 15, 2018 2
    • Amazon Methane
      I think he is as close as it gets. He just looks mainstream.
      Mar 16, 2018
    • Cruise Automation / Eng
      He and his ideas are not mainstream, but the way he runs his companies probably is
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Google arbitdude2
    The counterculture never existed, you were just filled into believing it did to work harder for peanuts for some fake missing while Steve jobs and Mark Zuckerberg became rich. Now with blind and internet in general, you know the truth better.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Snapchat / Eng camera-co
    The tech counter culture of the past was entirely built on the idea of DIY. Setting a new computer used to be a certain amount of hard work that few knew how to do, that's not true anymore.

    I'd say that the only counter culture in tech will forever be a part of that DIY mentality which will never go away.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Pure Storage orangeg769
    They are there, they just work in IT and Creative departments.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Mgmt good_bad
    Elon Musk says hello.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Twitter howbig
    Most startups if not all are countering corporate culture — or at least relying on the laggardness of corporate culture to win
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Slack nhuI17
    Go to burning man, you might find your boss there. You might also realize hippies are bullshit.
    Mar 16, 2018 2
    • NAVEX Global Gala218
      After living in Portland for a few years, I realize that hippies are bullshit.
      Mar 18, 2018
    • Uber Pir4te
      Haha so true
      Mar 19, 2018
  • EY at28
    Cypherpunks
    Mar 15, 2018 1
    • Cruise Automation / Eng
      And cyberpunks
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Nvidia zVEC05
    Most counter culture was about sexual liberalization. The proponents of that are now being branded rapists & having awards & credentials revoked.

    Even now people who go against their corporate groop think are branded for promoting dangerous ideas & fired.

    Why do you think it's dead?
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Capital One / Design pWio14
    Human centered creators and builders. Often designers. People who care about humanity, ethics, and the implications of what they're putting into the world. The people who fight for doing the right thing every day.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Google hedgeit
    M$
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Uber uMadBro
    Tech isn’t counter culture because the culture shifted. You shouldn’t be a contrarian just to be so. What do you consider counter culture?
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Twitch zugzug
    We’re right here.
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • eBay / Eng
    LhrO76

    eBay Eng

    BIO
    Software Development Engineer 2
    LhrO76more
    Elon Musk. EOC
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • Boeing / Eng roboticist
    If you don't know where the tech counterculture is anymore, you're in the wrong company.
    Mar 17, 2018 4
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Sure. There's definitely some counter culture but it's a small, small minority at MS.

      Do you have any companies you are referring to?
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Amazon blueshift
      Counter culture at MS?Joining the two expressions gives a lovely oxymoron. OP is one of a kind
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Microsoft kng
      OP
      Fuck off. I said "small, small minority." You really think a company of 100k doesn't have some employees that are counter cultural? There used to be a guy in my office that looked like father time and only dressed like a train conductor. That guy certainly didn't neatly fit into society.
      Mar 17, 2018
    • Amazon blueshift
      Calm down moron. Stop showing your stupidity then you won't have to ask people to fuck off. Steve Jobs dressed differently you complete idiot. That barely makes him a counter culture actor.
      Mar 18, 2018
  • Amazon Sea10
    Remember the good old days? Don’t sit and reminisce too long, you might get replaced by one of those ‘egg heads’.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Houseparty usenthrow
    Have you examined what the full impact of taking down IBM was? The egghead suits employed "engineers" raising white collar families, the computers were manufactured by blue collar workers trying to raise good families in places like Ohio, perhaps parts were manufactured by family men in Bangladesh trying to get out of poverty. Steve jobs essentially said let's take all these jobs away. He sold it in a way which was palatable to you, the "enlightened hipster engineer".

    How dare the MBAs tell you what being a public company in a capitalist economy really is.
    Mar 16, 2018 0
  • Ring / Eng omw2ryb
    Hawking
    Mar 15, 2018 0

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