Hustle is bullshit

Category: Notes on Digital Marketing | 2 min read

I've been seeing a trend of people talking about the importance of hustle. This idea seems to be especially common in the startup world.

Here is an article that explains what hustle is. They boil it down to three things:

  • Unbeatable work ethic
  • No regards for rejection
  • Innovative knack for getting noticed

The article talks about these as if they are very positive traits. I'm going to go ahead and call them out on their bullshit:

Unbeatable work ethic

I always thought it was obvious but I guess this needs to be explained: working hard will always lose to working smart. No matter how hard you work, if you are doing it inefficiently or without proper planning you are shooting yourself in the foot.

To put it bluntly - you could very easily be accomplishing LESS by overworking than you would if you instead spent more time planning and thinking through something.

A simple example is spending 5 hours to manually work on a project that could be automated if you spent an hour thinking about it and an hour coding it. You then could have had 3 hours to get other projects done.

I have never been in a situation where I lost out to someone who outworked me. I have had plenty of people outthink me though.

This also implies that you should be working more hours than others - first of all this can lead to poor mental health but also it leads to lower quality work. The well rested person who had a good breakfast will write better code than the person working at 5 am with a can of Redbull. Working less can lead to less mistakes and more return.

No regards for rejection

Just no.

Stop calling me.

Stop emailing me.

You just helped me decide to never ever use your product or service, even if it makes perfect sense to my organization. I do not want to work with a company that is cool with spamming me constantly.

Stories of hustlers bugging executives on their morning run or while they get their morning coffee scare the hell out of me. This might get you one or two big fish but will also piss off a bunch of people who make decisions. In the long run you are hurting yourself, not helping. Getting money right now might feel nice but in 3 years when no one wants to work with you because you followed them on their morning run wont feel so great.

Innovative knack for getting noticed

This goes along with the above. One of the most important things a company has is its brand. If you focus everything on getting noticed you'll be doing things that hurt your brand, making it harder to get sales in the future.

Think back to when banners used to be super flashy and loud. They certainly got noticed and hell, even got clicks but can you actually remember the name of any of those companies? I can't. The banners killed their reputation.

A fun example is from Arrested Development. Tobias was a failed actor and one of the things he did was send huge amounts of glitter with his headshots. This obviously caused him to get blacklisted in the industry. While that is an extreme example done for humour, the same concept applies.

In the end

There is nothing wrong with hard work and being tenacious but hustle seems to encourage going to extremes and I just can't in good conscious let that be pushed as gospel truth.

Hustle is very NOW oriented but you need to have the long term in mind, especially if you want long term success.

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