Brand vs. the work

September 05, 2018

The message Paris sends now is: do things with style. I liked that, actually. Paris is the only city I've lived in where people genuinely cared about art. In America only a few rich people buy original art, and even the more sophisticated ones rarely get past judging it by the brand name of the artist. But looking through windows at dusk in Paris you can see that people there actually care what paintings look like. Visually, Paris has the best eavesdropping I know.

The quote above is from Paul Graham's Cities and Ambition, one of my all-time favorite essays.

A related question: do you judge a resume by the work, or the brand?

In the past 3-4 years, it seems the big thing has become brand ("Worked at facebook"), with less emphasis on the work itself. Being a random grunt at facebook is more impressive than crazy feats of reverse-engineering.

It didn't used to be this "establishment". It felt like you could get hired based on the work you did, even at a smaller/no-name shop. I can feel that era coming to a close; the "nobody got fired for hiring an ex-Googler" mentality is taking over. Things are becoming more "tracked", with eyebrows getting raised when you don't follow a "standard" path.

When did tech become like finance or law?

Things have shifted. But for me, it'll always be about the work.

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