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Are you an "Alex" or "Ben"?
Valentin Preobrazhenskiy

Cute apps and teammates

You may feel cute when touching your Apple mouse, this Coda platform, Google search bar, Facebook friend, Uber taxi buttons.
You may imagine a designer drawing these apps.

Meet Alex and Anna

Alex is a beacon of zen-like calm, drawing inspiration from Anna's supportive smile. Her presence helps him strike a balance between work and life, enabling him to work smarter, not harder, in a state of productive harmony. Their cheerful teammates often gather around the latte machine, sharing stories about weekend movies, shopping adventures, favorite music, photography, and travel experiences. These casual interactions foster a sense of zen and vitality, fueling their enthusiasm for creating another beautiful feature.

Are you on the right and the same page with the team?
Your first days’ orientation sets your entire career.
And now you - meet the real tech builders. Meet Ben.

Click here if you have watched the above video

Ben is far from being a criminal. He is the mastermind behind calming apps like Coinbase, Ripple, Facebook, Twitter, Stripe, Airbnb, and 811 others. As a startup founder, he has achieved a $1.6 billion exit, and as an investor, he boasts 132+ exits through his venture capital fund, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which manages $20+ billion. Andreessen Horowitz is not the most sought-after investor for startups merely because of its financial resources.
Startups are drawn to Ben for the culture he fosters. It's this culture that enables startups to tackle difficult problems and deliver calming solutions to their clients.
Here's a glimpse into the culture he planted back in 2012:
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Meet Alex. He's the designer behind the Shutterstock image at the top of this page. Alex is likely a competent freelancer who assists numerous clients with similar, basic needs. He avoids tackling complex problems, preferring to maintain a calm demeanor and focusing on simpler issues that he can address in his zen mode. As a pleasant individual, he's a good model for most people who prefer to see average individuals like themselves for comfort. Alex is not one to challenge the status quo, as he doesn't want to upset anyone. He's great at posing for the camera, but not so great at solving the tough problems required to create a new, valuable, and viable product.
Anna is his girlfriend. Her primary goal is to ensure that Alex "belongs to her," investing his time and money into their future children. Therefore, her main job isn't her career. Her job is to bind him with weekend rituals (the very thing feminists strive to overcome). If Alex begins to grow too quickly, he might outgrow her and seek independence. Therefore, she might resist him working in a VC startup aiming for skyrocketing growth. She'd prefer him to be a freelancer under her control, who is just slightly more successful than the husbands of their friends. She seeks to balance his success against the risk of losing him, teaching him about work-life balance.
Simultaneously, if Alex starts falling behind one of her friend's husbands, she'll point it out. So, Alex isn't interested in his friends' success and prefers them to be slightly behind him. If his friend starts discussing something meaningful, he'd signal, "Are you trying to show that you're smarter than us?" and switch the valuable topic to the safe nonsense of a football show, travel, or music.
Their imagined happy teammates can't build a new viable feature in a startup. They're unlikely to break free from the mediocre social gravity produced by their comfort rituals, such as discussing shopping or the weather.
Real startup teammates would ask these people to leave the startup.
They'd wonder which killer feature he learned from competing apps over the weekend. Is the mock-up added into the backlog priorities? Why hasn't she tested it with a no-code tool to check client interest? They'd share insights on user growth or culture learned from meaningful time with their like-minded friends and relatives or from books by "super angels.”
A great product is built to make clients feel calm about hard problems solved by the product. Startup members want to move out of the calm comfort zone to solve hard problems for clients. That's their life goal - to make the world a better place with a product that shifts the boundaries of what's possible.
Their culture is shaped by this goal, not by mediocre social gravity.
So, where do you learn about culture?
From normal Alexes or from titans like Ben?

Start-uppers are either Unemployable down-shifters OR Champions made to change the world.

Welcome to learn counterintuitive . Our main product is the culture which can shift frontiers. Fuck off zen freelancers, welcome visionary achievers.

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Learn the culture:

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