Oh yeah, and the food sucks too

by Mathew on November 18, 2006 · 9 comments

If your company just got bought for several million dollars by one of the biggest publishing companies in the U.S., and you moved from your cramped bedroom office or whatever to the luxurious San Francisco offices of the legendary Wired magazine, what would you do? If you’re Aaron Swartz — whose social-bookmarking site Reddit just got bought by Conde Nast — you would write a blog post complaining about the soulless, grey office with the crapped-up corporate laptops and the traffic noise.

Aaron’s post is quite the litany of grief, from the white noise and the unhelpful IT department to the inability to get anything done. As I was reading it, I found myself ping-ponging back and forth — from sympathizing with someone who is clearly a creative and frustrated individual who is now part of a large, corporate machine, to wanting to shake him by the throat and shout: “Dude, your company got bought and you live in San Francisco, for chrissake! Grow up!”

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At one point, he complains that to escape from his soul-crushing day he has to go bike-riding and stay out until 3 partying. Yeah, I’m all choked up. It’s interesting to read the comments on Aaron’s post (which has no doubt pleased his new corporate masters to no end). Some are definitely sympathetic, and advise him to get headphones, work at home and so on — or quit and start another company. Others are of the “grow up” variety.

One guy says his post sounds like a letter home from camp, in which the camper complains about everything from his bunkmates to the food. But my favourite comment appears to be from Steve Huffman, co-founder of Reddit, who says simply “Speak for yourself, man.”

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  • http://engtech.wordpress.com engtech

    Ignorance is bliss.

    Very, very smart people have a tendency to be unhappy.

  • http://peterdawson.typepad.com /pd

    Working in Large Enterprise Companies is like playing a startup game too.. All one needs to do is play by the rules of the Company..

    If you want one of your pet projects/ideas to take off, you begin seeking internalblessings (Angels) and if you get a nod, you complete a POC and BuildPlanv1.0 and then do an Executive Presents and obtain buyin and Budgets allocations (think VC fund $$) .. ete etc and then the ball start’s rollling…:)-

    Its the same mode and model , but just a differnt approah. .Its framework of mind on how one plays in this type sandbox..

    Engtech: Very smart people kow how to captialze situations and turn challenges into games..and have fun at it.. Trust me. Been there,seen that.

  • Mathew Ingram

    Thanks, Engtech — maybe that’s why I’m unhappy all the time :-)

    And /pd, you make a good point. Many of the same skills that founders of startups need to cope with all the things they do in a small company can be transferred to a large one with a little effort. Maybe Aaron will adapt.

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  • http://www.aaronsw.com/ Aaron Swartz

    Actually, the food is quite good there.

  • Mathew Ingram

    Thanks, Aaron — that’s good to know. At least there is one thing good about being acquired :-) Have you gotten any negative feedback on your post, by the way?

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