<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/Nfk5wflCTIIE2iSoYxah" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">

Episode 81: F^ck Hustle Culture

by Doug Davidoff | Aug 31, 2021 9:00:00 AM

F^ck Hustle Culture. I don’t think we can get anymore to the point. While the hustle culture seemed to have gone away, it’s come back with a vengeance over the last couple of months. It’s got to a point where we have to wonder what are people doing day to day? Are they doing or just talking?




Show Notes

Black Line Podcast_Web_2-1

Editor's Note: If you haven't already, leave the podcast a review either on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


Before we get into the core of it, the whole reason this topic has surfaced to the podcast is because something bothered Doug to the point where he tweeted out about the hustle / bro culture: 


The thing is, the whole hustle and bro culture looked like it was starting to die down and in the last 6 months has come back with a vengeance. We’re getting back into the pursuit of quantity.  

Mike compares this to when the financial crisis hit. People became more grounded and downgraded their purchases so they didn’t get looked down on. The same thing could have happened here with the pandemic; the culture was masked until the economy started doing better.

This brings up an interesting point around “don’t confuse brains with a bull market.” In that time you did not have to be smart to make money. Today if you want to be a growth company people are saying you have to be a media company. Now we have to be a media company, build out community, etc. Why do you need to be a media company? What’s driving this reaction? 

One word: attention

We’re all striving for attention. Why did HubSpot buy The Hustle? Attention. Salesforce is entering the streaming force. This isn’t a new phenomenon. We see it with companies like Facebook and Google, too. (Although they’re hijacking attention.) You have to pay Google for audience now. If you’re going to be a healthy company, you should reduce your dependence on search because Google continues to try to figure out how to put a bigger tax on you.

In this battle of getting attention the best way to get attention is to be dumb and be obnoxious. Vidyard (Note: we use and enjoy the company) has started this sales feed and Doug doesn’t get the strategy behind it and if we weren’t already fans of the product he would be less likely to buy it. Vidyard is introducing a new feature where they play off of sales stereotypes and look at awful cold emails. They’re going for the cheap laugh that’s easy to get. If it works, God bless them. 

You can’t buy attention in the middle of people who are good with you. You have to find people who either love you or hate you. What Vidyard is going is they are trying to be cool, which is created by the underlying hustle culture.

We get stronger and build muscle mass not by weight lifting, but by the rejuvenation that lifting causes. The only reason you would lift is to rip muscles so that they build back stronger. A person that trains too much over trains and breaks down their body. That’s how they get hurt and weaker. Just like weight lifting, you have to give your muscles a chance to relax creatively, mentally, etc. It’s okay to listen to something else on the drive home from work. You don’t always have to be trying to improve yourself.

The other thing about the hustle culture is that most of it is based on the “doers” and the “talkers.” There are a lot of people that talk but have never done. There is even a subset to that - a talker who has done but doesn’t “do” now. The most successful people Mike knows in life aren’t out and about talking about it. They don’t promote the hustle culture. They understand having a work-life balance, yet all work incredibly hard. The difference is they don’t brag about it. A lot of people in the hustle culture either have shallow egos or need affirmation that they are this hot shot. 

Doug looks at a lot of those who promote the hustle culture and wonder how they can post all the time. Not only post all the time, but how in the world can anyone say anything truly meaningful in the amount of words in a social media post. You can’t get there.

As a company today you’re expected to be a media company. What does that even mean? If you are the Washington Post or Facebook, you’re a media company because they use news and some aspect of content as a reason for you to pay attention to them. That’s where these sites like The Washington Post can get you to pay into their services. But if companies are going to play this game of becoming a media company, and have a community, how many things can we be involved in? You can only give your attention to so many things.

And the biggest issue that bothers Doug is just listen to what gets talked about. It’s all about how to do something. There is a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to the hustle culture and there is not a voice of reason that brings any equilibrium to what people are saying.

A lot of what is happening with the hustle culture has been fueled by the pandemic. There are people sitting in one place all day, all the time and they are looking to grab the attention of whoever they can. The first moment that the world started opening back up, Clubhouse died. Who’s picking up the features there? Other social platforms. 

The hustle culture, the posts seeking attention, and more are putting marketing and sales in a much harder position as social platforms continue to become noisy. And the FOMO is going to contribute to the increased depression in our society. In honesty, what you do with your time is your business. You either work to live or live to work. Too much of what is happening today is coming at the expense of others.


Question of the episode: What are some ways to make sure everyone is aligned/stays aligned? Is it different if you're remote vs. in office? 

Being aligned will look differently for everyone. The biggest piece of advice that Mike has to make sure that you are aligned in your company is to make sure you are a leader. For Doug it’s to create context. 

The higher context there is, the far more aligned you will be. There is a challenge when you have low context because there is so little alignment that what we were taught and thought was true is not. When you have high context organizations, they don’t need to be commanded. A great example of this is a football team. When a play gets called, that creates context to allow the rest of the players to know what to do. That way if something happens, they can all adjust. Being in alignment all comes down to structures and systems. 

As far as being different for in office vs. remote, terms will be different, but the underlying structure and process should be the same regardless. Being distributed vs. not will have a different flavor. We get lost in what’s different that instead we should focus on what’s the same. You should be striving to create great context regardless of whether you are in a remote environment or not.


Mike - I had zero clue that Doug is moody. Just kidding. Figure out what is best for your own work-life balance. Don’t subscribe to the hustle culture just because you think you have to be successful. Success comes in all shapes and sizes. 

Doug - Relax. Any performer will tell you that growth comes when you relax. We’re working so hard that we are our own worst enemy. It’s fine to have some downtime. It’s okay to say no and not doing anything in the evenings. Take some time to just relax.