Why the obsession with ‘Hustle Porn’ is harmful and a waste of time.

Before diving into the subtleties of the debate surrounding ‘hustle porn’, let’s get one thing straight – in business, in sport, in relationships, in anything, on average the hard workers will prevail. To make something succeed you need to grind, you need to commit, entrepreneurs should really have to sweat and often business owners will need to work out-of-hours to make things work. Blair Davies and Gavin Scothorn both personally relate to working silly hours, especially in the early stages of setting up a business.

At first glance it would seem that the ethos of ‘hustle porn’ is based on the same principles, so why has it been labelled a toxic?

What is ‘hustle porn’?

Over the past decade, entrepreneurship has steadily become synonymous with “hustle” and the fetishization of long hours. Countless Silicon Valley evangelists preach that if you don’t ‘hustle’, working every hour that god sends, abandoning meals and renouncing any flicker of a personal life you may have, then you might as well stop trying, because you will most likely fail. Not only do they suggest that it will be nigh on impossible for you to achieve a high level of success, but it is inferred that if you don’t work 80-100 hours a week then you probably don’t care about your job enough and you’re just not that committed.

In November Elon Musk claimed that to make a difference a person needs to work 80-100 hours a week, “but if you love what you do, it (mostly) doesn’t feel like work”. In an interview with Recode he stated that he worked 120 hours a week, while everyone at Tesla had all worked 100 hours per week at various points this year.

American internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian who is co-founder and executive chairman of the social news website Reddit and co-founder of venture capital firm Initialized Capital, shared his opinion on this emerging culture at one of Europe’s largest tech conferences Web Summit on November 5-8th in Lisbon.

He commented that this obsession with hustling is harmful and a bad use of time. He believes ‘hustle porn’ is distracting young entrepreneurs from doing good work, and reinforcing sexist stereotypes that to get ahead you must devote your life, which many women in particular cannot sustain because of childcare.

He said “This idea that unless you are suffering, grinding, working every hour of every day, you’re not working hard enough … this is one of the most toxic, dangerous things in tech right now … It’s such bullshit, such utter bullshit. It has delirious effects not just on your business but on your wellbeing.”

Psychological and scientific research has repeatedly proven that getting insufficient sleep and exercise is one of worst things you can do for memory, heart health and your general health. By comparison, when you do get a good night’s sleep, you are calmer and more focussed at work.

Moreover, Ohanian comments that this mantra discourages people from reaching out for help, in the fear of looking weak or incompetent. Instead, Ohanian suggest that to really succeed we need to try to overcome anxiety and open up communication lines. “When you’re struggling, talk to someone. It can be a professional, a family member, or even a stranger can be helpful in getting you into a better headspace.”

Let’s forget for a moment the toxic effects of ‘hustle porn’ on your mental and physical health and pretend that this does not affect your productivity. If you’re not interested in having a personal life, you don’t have family time or relationships to uphold, if you feel that there are no legitimate ‘distractions’ to your working life, this still does not negate the inefficacy of ‘hustle porn’. It’s an accepted principle that hardworking people will fare better than those who do the bare minimum, and maybe working an 80 hour week gets you the results you need, that’s great; but the idea that those who work 120 hours a week are categorically going to do better those who work 60 hours a week for example is inherently flawed.

Hours worked does not mean anything if you are sat there twiddling your thumbs, and what makes you presume that the second or third 20 hours you work are as productive as the first? The emphasis should be on efficiency; don’t work harder work smarter.

There are troupe of ‘#entrepreneurs’ online that are so keen to exhibit the number of hours they work compared to you, in the hope that hours on the clock will equate perfectly into positive results, and that somehow this practice makes them a better businessperson. The idea that you actually cannot achieve high levels of success and fulfilment without subscribing to this model is delirious and naïve. Every job is different, and so by adopting this kind of narrative you subliminally engage in the act of career shaming. Instead of telling people how hard you work, show them.

If you want to grow and scale your business feel free to get in touch.

Email: millie@daviesscothorn.com

Or give the office a call on +44 (0) 1283 532780.

Alternatively, come in for a chat and a coffee, our address is: The Studio at Hodges, 82 Horninglow St, Burton-on-Trent, United Kingdom, DE14 1PN

Get in touch

Drop us a line if you are keen to find out more.