Time Dilation

September 24, 2018

I've worked nine years in high tech and seven of them in the Bay Area. The work has been fast, intense, and demanding. Talking to my friends and family, I can't help feeling we pack 2-3 years—the good (learning, experience, growth) and the bad (stress, burnout)—into every 1 of their years.

It's a mixed bag. I've started calling this phenomenon time dilation, because just like the physical kind, time moves at different rates depending on your frame of reference.

Time dilation is especially noticeable in startups, where, in five years time, a major construction project or legal case might still be going, even though you started a company from nothing, fundraised, grew it, got lots of customers, then had it acquired or declared bankruptcy. Five years passes, the ground has shifted out from under you, but your friends and family are still doing exactly the same thing as before.