Optimizing nonstop is exhausting, but that's startup life. The goal is to become more productive, more successful, more nimble, and more notable than the competition.
Despite constant work, the reality every founder faces is that there is a high likelihood they will fail.
That tension led to a profane screed by a 27-year-old software engineer, Shem Magnezi, and his colleague Omri Aloni, on the self-publishing platform Medium. The post is succinctly titled "F--- You Startup World." And it's been blowing up.
It's currently the most popular post on Medium by far, even beating out a confession from a guy who says he's voting for Trump.
They criticize the 24-7 work schedule that is held up as the gold standard.
"F-- your crazy work hours. Nobody gives a f--- that Elon musk is working 100 hours a week, and that Marissa Mayer pulling in a 130 hour work week while still breastfeeding her newborns. You're not Elon Musk. You ain't Marissa Mayer, you're not going to get to space, and you won't build the next Space X. Do me a favor, put your f---ing Mac away and go play with your kids."
They also mock the fact that so many people today claim to be entrepreneurs.
"F--- 'entrepreneurs' nowadays, seriously. Everybody is a f---ing entrepreneur now. Especially all those straight-out-of-college-entrepreneurs. Just so you know: it's called 'unemployed'. F--- your bootstrapping, too. F--- working out of garages and f--- your 2.5 square meters 'workspace' at WeWork. 'But hey! At least I can bring my dog to work!' F--- you, seriously."
And they're totally over the productivity, self-improvement ninjas.
"F--- you productivity freaks. You try to make me feel bad because I woke up 'only' at 6:00 AM. S---, you woke up at 4:30, meditated for 30 minutes, reviewed your quarterly and yearly 'goals' for another 30 minutes, and slurped on a delicious Soylent shake while checking daily retention trends. F--- your noise cancelling headphones and Pomodoro timers, your f---ing to-do lists, apps, notes, sticky notes, and God knows what else."
Magnezi and Aloni's post has received dozens of responses, most of them supportive. Their sentiments have apparently struck a nerve with a whole lot of people.
For example, former business journalist turned entrepreneur Julien Brault says that the post made him laugh, though it didn't strip him of his naive optimism.
"You made me laugh in the middle of my f----- up start-up life from inside a sound-proof booth inside a coworking space I'm working in 80 hours a week, eating bagels and left-over pizzas, 'cause my start-up is bootstrapped and I have no money. I understand you. And I appreciate your sense of humour. Seriously. But I'm so dumb I'm still believing I'm going to space at some point. Seriously," Brault writes.
Adele Tiblier relates but also says she will take the over-scheduled, over-optimized, success-obsessed culture over corporate doldrums every day.
"Funny as hell," she writes. "But to be honest, I'll take the push for transparency, fast-moving sprints and Soylent-drinking sales teams over the dinosaur companies that provide limited/no visibility to their team, and a sea of unknowns without direction any day."
And while Magnezi and Aloni mock the startup culture, they're doing so from the inside, a fact they admit at the end of the post. In fact, that probably accounts for their screed's success.
Magnezi and Aloni worked together at Israeli startup called MyRoll for three years. Tel Aviv-based AVG Israel acquired MyRoll a year ago and the authors are now working together at AVG Israel.
Magnezi says that he is surprised by the traction that his rant has received, but he thinks it indicates that a bit of pushback that might be in order.
"I think the post epitomizes what a lot of people feel about our current work culture," says Magnezi, in an email with CNBC. "I want to emphasize that I don't hate on the startup culture. I'm actually part of it. I just think that there are things about our current work culture that kind of lost their track."
It's quite clear Magnezi is not alone.