40+ reasons Silicon Valley’s days may be numbered

The most talked-about story in tech this week is a scathing satire of life in the Valley. Here are 40 things it gets exactly right.

40+ reasons Silicon Valley’s days may be numbered
Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

In the dog days of summer, tech news seems to slow down, as many companies hold off on big announcements until the world returns from their vacations. That means mid-August is the perfect time for Sunil Rajaraman’s brilliant, scathing and terrifyingly familiar satire of life in the trenches of Silicon Valley.

By turns hilarious and discomfiting, This is Your Life in Silicon Valley is the tale of one man’s stupifyingly superficial day in the Valley. It will ring true for anyone who toils in the middle levels of the tech industry here in the Bay Area—and beyond.

Rajaraman’s bio on Medium, where the post appeared earlier this week, says he’s co-founder of Scripted.com, CEO of The Bold Italic, and a columnist for Inc., as well as editor of Silicon Valley Grinch, which should tell you a bit about where he’s coming from. Still, in fewer than 2,500 words, he manages to hit on just about every Silicon Valley touchstone and truism, starting with VC “Cougar Night” at the Rosewood Hotel and ending with sunset over Interstate 280, (which a sign proclaims “America’s most beautiful freeway”).

Along the way, he name-drops at least 40 more, each one more telling than the last:

  1. Ambien-enhanced sleep
  2. Expensive nannies
  3. The incredible desirability of a Palo Alto school district
  4. Reading the news on Flipboard
  5. Liking, but not visiting, the California Academy of Sciences
  6. Blue Bottle coffee
  7. Roomba vacuum cleaners
  8. Sharing long articles you haven’t actually read—that someone else already shared anyway
  9. The Facebook political echo chamber
  10. Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm changes
  11. Facebook envy of your friends’ online lives
  12. Unaffordable apartments in neighborhoods that never see the sun
  13. Listening to podcasts on endless commutes
  14. Paying an expensive app to park your car
  15. The existential difficulty of choosing between Uber and Lyft
  16. Wondering what “business development” actually means
  17. Wondering what your stock options might actually be worth
  18. Starting every day in Salesforce
  19. Working for a 27-year-old CEO who has zero experience in your company’s market
  20. Sales blaming marketing for missing quotas
  21. The need for a “technical co-founder” to make your startup idea work
  22. Talking about disrupting email—over email
  23. Yelp and the quest to find the perfect restaurant for a business dinner
  24. “$17 dollar risotto and $9 glasses of Pleasanton-brewed IPA”
  25. Instagramming your every bite of dinner
  26. Hypocrisy over San Francisco’s homeless problem
  27. Jealousy over how much money you imagine your friends are making
  28. Checking the price of their houses online
  29. Regret over not taking that job at Facebook or Google way back when
  30. Being an “Excel ninja”
  31. Realizing your company is wasting big bucks on pointless luxuries
  32. Pricing real estate in cheaper alternatives, such as Austin. Or Fremont.
  33. Buying groceries online, no matter what the premium, while obsessing over money
  34. Titles like “Chief Hacking Officer” and “VP of Awesomeness”
  35. Admiring Malcom Gladwell
  36. “7 minute workouts”
  37. What TV shows you need to stay current on, and why
  38. Checking social media right before going to sleep
  39. Considering switching from iOS to Android
  40. Dreaming of meditation retreats

Believe it or not, this incredible list is incomplete. You have to read the original post for the full effect, including Rajaraman’s deadpan humor and spot-on illustrations. 

This is Your Life in Silicon Valley made me laugh continuously, until I started to cry.

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