Twitter staffers are sleeping in the office—ex-Apple engineer who worked on the iPhone says it's totally unnecessary
For some Twitter employees under Elon Musk, sleeping in the office appears to be an absolute must — the physical embodiment of the tech industry's "hustle culture."
It's also totally unnecessary, says Ken Kocienda, a former Apple software engineer and designer who helped build the first iPhone and iPad.
Kocienda's 15-year tenure at Apple, which ended in 2017, included working under Steve Jobs on multiple high-profile projects. And while Jobs is often remembered as a demanding boss, Kocienda says he never had to spend the night at work.
"I was on these [Apple] teams from the earliest stages and I never once came close to sleeping at the office. It's not an essential part of doing great work," he wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday.
Kocienda, who is now the product architect at tech startup Humane, was weighing in on a workplace drama that began last week with a viral photo of Twitter executive and project manager Esther Crawford sleeping on the floor of her office.
Crawford retweeted the photo, adding a comment: "When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you #SleepWhereYouWork."
Later, she added that she was proud of the Twitter team's "strength & resilience," while noting that this is "not a normal moment in time" for the company.
Crawford's retweet received over 3,000 "likes," and a mixture of support from well-wishers and criticism, with one Twitter user calling the photo evidence of a "toxic workplace."
Former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman weighed in on Saturday evening, writing: "This is how great new things are built, more often than anyone has been willing to say during the last decade's cultural revolution in Silicon Valley."
Kocienda quickly disagreed, responding: "No. This is false."
In follow-up posts, Kocienda noted that he "worked hard back then at Apple," and still does in his current tech startup role — but that shouldn't necessarily equate to living and breathing your work.
"I have no problem with people who want to devote themselves to their job even more than I do," he wrote. "Sleep at the office if you want to or think you must. But — it's not a requirement to doing the best work."
"Aim for high quality not merely high effort," he added.
Kocienda and Crawford didn't immediately respond to CNBC Make It's requests for comment.
The "hustle porn" trend of tech founders and executives bragging about working around the clock and sleeping in their offices is nothing new.
Musk, Twitter's new chief executive — who is reportedly in the process of laying off more than 3,700 Twitter workers — has boasted about sleeping in his office for years and at multiple different companies, from web software startup Zip2 in the 1990s to Tesla in 2018.
The trend has numerous critics. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has called it "toxic" and a potential detriment to young workers' careers, as CNBC Make It reported in 2018.
Other experts have pointed to unhealthy work habits — like feeling pressure to work around the clock — as reasons for an uptick in employee burnout.
"We each have a capacity for working before the quality of our work is compromised," burnout management coach Emily Ballesteros told CNBC Make It last year.
Even Jobs, who constantly demanded high-quality work, didn't believe in working 24/7.
Jobs may have peppered his Apple employees with work ideas while vacationing, but he also made it a point to "prioritize his wellbeing," including meditating and always trying to get enough sleep, his former assistant Naz Beheshti told CNBC Make It last year.
The approach gave him the "energy and the clarity and the vision to sustain his success and build Apple," Beheshti said.
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