Something struck me recently: over the last few months I’ve been able to do a lot more deep work.
Deep work being uninterrupted focus on a single problem.
I feel more able to spend time reading, thinking, diagramming, and just generally researching the problems in front of me.
In the last 2 months, I think I’ve read more articles about Uniswap than I have on all topics in the last year.
I’ve been laser-focused on what I want to achieve.
And honestly it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.
My last job was as a front-end engineer for SpotHero. During my time there I was constantly connected to Slack and email, always-on, always available, and my calendar was a disaster with only a handful of hour-long time blocks available for focused work in any 2-week period.
I could not focus on my work because I was constantly being pulled into meetings and replying to people in Slack.
I burned out.
This isn’t just SpotHero, it’s endemic in Tech.
But why did it have to happen?
Web2 tech companies are incentivised to build and produce new things as quickly as possible.
Whole companies are optimised to output features, “fail fast”, and release new stuff on a regular basis to keep up with or outpace their competition by 1) engaging new user segments, and 2) pleasing their existing user base.
There’s always pressure.
Going slow is anathema.
If there was ever a Web2 mantra it’d be:
Move fast and break things.
There isn’t time for deep work. Why bother when you can just move fast, break things, and quickly fix them afterwards.
Ask for forgiveness not permission, right?
Sure this makes sense at a corporate level if you think about a company as a machine that never tires and it’s success is measured by profit, or market-share, or user base growth.
But it’s not a machine.
It’s a group of living organisms striving to manifest a shared belief.
People are what make or break an organisation.
But we tire. We get old. We get hurt. We get sick. We need sustenance. We need sunlight and joy and connection.
We are not machines fuelled by money, stock options, and 401(k)s.
We are squishy, fallible, and fragile.
The majority of Web3 organisations I’ve been part of do a better job of recognising this and setting up human-first structures.
I have space to do deep work because the organisations I work with care more about quality than quantity. They recognise that “winning” means we all win, as individuals and as a group.
In my experience, Web2 companies are machines designed for maximum velocity.
But what’s the point of “winning” if everyone is tired and miserable?
I think Web3 organisations offer a better solution, one that works for individuals not just shareholders.
Without deep work I was stressed, unfulfilled, and generally disengaged from my work.
Now I feel empowered to take time on my work, to think hard about what I’m building and why I’m building it.
This isn’t to say there are no deadlines and working in Web3 is all magic and butterflies, it’s not. But to me it shows great things can be achieved when you care less about revenue and more about people, community, and (dare I say it) vibes.