"Don't all of us seek wealth and status? Yes, but it doesn't always manifest in quite the same way. A hacker who works at a unicorn and contributes patches to xmonad in his spare time may want wealth and status, but he also has firmly entrenched and far-reaching principles. He may care about his text editor, or his programming language, or the API naming scheme. His principles may be advantageous, or silly, or counterproductive. But he has them.
The kinds of opportunists who are attracted solely to wealth and status have no principles at all beyond accumulation of these two objects. It isn't that they don't have taste or good judgement. They do— that's why they got hired in the first place. But if they ever had a compulsion to express their sense of taste, it's long ago been subordinated to their primary and only concern: climbing the corporate ladder."
When you don't love your work, the next best strategy to gain wealth and status is to be very good at politics and politicking. And if you are in a bad workplace, politicking may not be an option, regardless of how good you are.Clarity is essential. In its absence, you have to resort to playing petty games. Most people lack clarity, so such advice can only sound pragmatic. It's a shame if you ask me.
It's common to find the word "polymath" flung around casually in our social media bios today. The book Range by David Epstein has made things worse in this regard.
The author makes a great case for why this romanticization is unwarranted in most cases, via the example of the poster boy for polymaths across social media: Leonardo Da Vinci.
Be prepared for your cherished opinions to be questioned harshly with this one.
Reading this piece around how creators don't get valued enough today because it's all about content was sort of a reinforcing, and, dare I say, prescient moment for us. We wrote about this same phenomenon in the past week in the context of social media platforms increasingly adopting algorithmic feeds.
To think about it, I now only engage with my music on the level of the Spotify playlist, not on the level of the song. I don't remember the title of the tracks themselves or their artists. Which makes me think...
Spotify may be commercially lucrative for artists, but it doesn't do their brand any good in the long run, as small, niche artists get lost in a sea of popular chartbusters.
That is also why I feel a lot of niche artists creating music in the long tail prefer SoundCloud over Spotify. It allows them to maintain some differentiation and attract true fans.
Some food for thought
That's it for today, folks. Take care and enjoy the India-Pakistan match coming up today evening!