Coders Can Be Assholes

This is an excerpt from my new book, Chronicle of a Startup Town: Los Angeles.  It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon in a Kindle edition.

Coders can be assholes, as Vikram Chandra memorably wrote in Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, The Code of Beauty, and certainly with more eloquence that I might muster here.  Being the smartest kid in the room can turn you snarly. We’ve seen it with the young Bill Gates, certainly with the world’s most snarly vegan, Steve Jobs, who actually was not much of a coder, but pretty brilliant anyway.

Mark Zuckerberg seems to require legions of publicists to tone down his hubris. Travis Kalanick has done much to establish Uber as the world’s most irritating startup, and has hired a master spinmeister, David Plouffe, to sort it out.  I can see Plouffe’s fine hand in this pure genius move: Allying  the company known for enabling prostitution – Uber  even acquired the nickname Boober – with UN Women, a worthy organization that needed Uber’s money. A move like that makes me think …

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