Tangential Tuesdays #72
Why I don't join companies for "the mission" + half-baked hot takes + fully baked bread
|Taylor Milliman||Apr 21|
Let me begin this newsletter with a quote:
In 1965 Braniff Airways introduced a ritual called the “air strip,” in which stewardesses peeled away layers of their designer uniforms during the course of a flight, down to their blouses and skirts. (“Does your wife know you’re flying with us?” Braniff’s ads asked.)
Excuse me…. WHAT?
But wait, there’s more:
United in 1970 was still flying a men-only flight between Chicago and New York, complete with free cigars and golf balls.
How did my parents never tell me about these absurd times? When I read something like this, I can’t help but wonder what else is happening right now that is equally outrageous? Noticing outrageous in the present (and being able to laugh about it) feels like an important skill.
These quotes are from Hard Landing. I’m only ~15% of the way into it, but if you like these quotes, I think you’ll find it highly entertaining.
Why I don’t join companies for “the mission™”
First - let me say that this is merely my opinion, and I’m sure many people will disagree :).
There is an ongoing meme I have with my friends that boils down to: the mission™ is the absolute worst reason to join a company.
To me, talking about “the mission” is kind of like a college career counselor talking about “networking.” It’s become ingrained in my mind as an “icky” word. Even if you are genuine, I’ll find it hard to take you seriously.
The other problem with joining a company for the mission™is that it filters for companies that have a pleasant-sounding product + mission statement, rather than companies that are *actually* doing good in the world.
No one at Uber or Amazon is telling you they joined for the mission™. Why? Because if you told your friend this, there is at least a 50/50 chance this statement will initiate a lengthy argument where they rant about all the terrible things your company has done.
Neither of these companies is perfect (we are human!), but Uber created an outrageous amount of value, and jobs out of nowhere. Do we sometimes wish Uber drivers made more $$ ? Sure - but is this vastly better than the alternative world where Uber does not exist? 1000x yes.
What does this tell us? It tells me that joining for the mission™is mostly about signaling to other people that you are a good person™and is joining a company for the mission is at best tangentially related to doing good in the world.
I’m not saying to throw your moral compass to the wayside and join the company that’s printing the most money. I would have some serious questions for myself before joining a company like Facebook.
But for me, caring about the mission of a company I join is the absolute baseline. Of course, I care about what I’m working on every day - but there are lots of companies I could choose where this would still be the case.
So if you tell me you joined for the mission™you better be able to convince me that you genuinely give a shit and are willing to work hard to help the company succeed. Just wanting to “do good” is not enough.
Soooo to summarize - it’s not really joining for the mission™ that bothers me. It’s abusing this to signal that you’re a good person.
Results > Mission.
I made a thing over the weekend. I am a fan of Newsfeed Eradicator - but it doesn’t work with the new Facebook redesign. My version is strictly worse, but it works if you’ve recently been upgraded to the new Facebook and want to stop mindlessly scrolling without giving up Facebook messaging :).
Download: Newsfeed Eradicator 2.0
this makes me giggle
Trevor McKendrick of Lambda School published this essay, and i think it is fabulous.
1) Focus your time & attention on the things you can influence.
2) Do something today instead of daydreaming about tomorrow.
3) See problems as opportunities to learn, grow, and give meaning to our lives.
4) Keep promises to yourself, no matter how small. Telling yourself you’ll go on a walk and then doing it. Promising to call a friend, and doing it. Committing to your boss you’ll send that email, and doing it.
5) Have confidence you’ll be able to figure out how to fix that thing that just broke.
6) Choose carefully the stories you tell yourself about who you are and what you’re capable of.
7) Move fast. Most decisions can be reversed later.
8) Be you. Not because you’re entitled to be heard but because there is some unique thing you have to offer, if you can find it.
9) Believe we can think, and build, and create ourselves out of any problem.
10) Internalize that the pie is not fixed, that life is not zero sum.
i baked some bread over the weekend and it was yummy
My friend Zack sent me this clip last week. I can’t fully explain why but I just absolutely love it.
When my girlfriend and I started grocery shopping together every Saturday, we would buy a lot of bananas.
We each ate one banana with breakfast every morning, with little variation. This meant that we should buy 14 bananas each week.
But for whatever reason, when you hold that many bananas in your hand, it feels silly. It felt like way too many.
So I would sometimes drop a few. I would put ten bananas in the cart because it felt more right.
Then, on Thursday, we wouldn’t have any bananas left.
I trusted my gut, but sometimes the numbers don’t lie. Having a hunch is good, but you have to know when it’s time to look at the data.
This piece is hilarious and especially relatable during I time where my roommate and I easily go through 14 bananas / week.
Read more of Zack’s writing here.
My friend Hunter finishes Flockjay in 3 weeks and is looking for a job in sales. The job market is terrible right now for obvious reasons, but he is hungry and willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S if you know somewhere that is hiring.
Loom is underrated
Thanks for reading,