The Problem With Rockstar Culture In Tech

The Problem With Rockstar Culture In Tech

Some of the common problems that I've observed in the companies and cultures I've worked in, and heard from friends around.


2 min read


These points are made out of observation and experience and in no way attempts to generalise.

Let's Talk Rockstar Culture In Tech

  1. It's draining, impersonal and segregating but monetarily rewarding.
  2. Values only outputs rather than processes that enable tech innovations and helps multiple people reach results. In this process, the silent hard workers, who might have tremendous potential to make tech that makes business product development extremely easy are seldom recognized.
  3. It's doesn't necessarily lead to collaboration.
  4. It isn't a good motivator.
  5. It's tightly coupled with performance based appraisal. It feels like school and college exams all over again.

    Imagine being able to choose between two motivators

    1. Having the privilege to work with the people who are much smarter than you.
    2. Chasing a variable pay based on performance, where most of the work demands that you sit alone and code.

      Which one would you choose? It's surprising โ€“ the amount of work that a company can get done if they hire top of the skill developers, drop the appraisal system altogether and just pay them properly instead, while leaving them to do wonderful things together.

  6. It doesn't aid learning. But then again, most of the tech jobs are a tradeoff โ€” making things just work, rather than doing things properly in the best way possible, because of course, the company doesn't have time to slow down the pace. If they do they tend to suffer. Maybe there's a middle ground? ( Hint: It's hiring people smarter than each other ).

  7. It values hustling culture: late night working, celebrating achieving things quickly at the cost of mental and physical health. Of course HR and leadership in such companies would ask their employees to value their health first. But the stature in doing so silently slips through the back door, because in doing so, one wouldn't be able to perform as much as over working would help achieve.
  8. It leaves people, especially programmers in this weird mental space where when once in a blue moon they get free time before their late bed time, they feel restless, jittery, not being able to rest, because they've gotten so used to working that they don't know what to do otherwise, anymore.