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6 months ago, I left the bullshit industrial complex

I used to be good at spinning stories. Give me a half-baked startup idea, a semi-charismatic founder and a fistful of VC dollars, and I could write a story compelling enough it barely mattered whether there was an ounce of truth in it.

I was running a profitable tech PR agency. It looked impressive enough on LinkedIn. It paid for fancy dinners and weekend getaways. I had the clients, the connections, and a couple of shiny awards gathering dust on my bookshelf. My phone buzzed constantly.

But something was starting to unravel.

Like a loose thread on a comfortable sweater. You know you shouldn't pull on it, but you can't help yourself.

A nagging doubt. An odd moment of "Jesus, what the hell am I doing?"

I would lie awake at 3 AM, staring at the ceiling. My life was slipping away, and I had nothing to show for it but a series of cynical half truths paid for by shit shovelling wannabe billionaires hell bent on leaving the world worse off than they found it. I knew I was a part of something poisonous. It had been years since I'd displayed a shred of journalistic integrity.

The thread kept unraveling.

One morning, I sat down at my desk to craft yet another press release touting yet another "game-changing" startup that had raised - yet another - $25 million. And I realized I couldn't remember the last time I'd written something I believed in. The words that used to flow felt like trying to squeeze ancient toothpaste from an empty tube.

That was the day I cracked.

It wasn't about the individual startups or the overhyped products. It was the whole damn ecosystem—if we can call it that. The inflated valuations, cult-like frat house “culture,” and the relentless, mindless pursuit of growth that comfortably glossed over the human cost of "disruption."

Somewhere along the way, I'd allowed my writing—the thing that used to give me purpose—to be co-opted by the bullshit industrial complex. I'd convinced myself that I was part of something bigger, something world-changing. But deep down, in the quiet moments between pitch meetings and product launches, I knew better.

It was a slow-building wave, gathering momentum with every story I was hired to spin, every tone-deaf founder I media-trained to sidestep hard questions, every time I was asked to massage the numbers and make a struggling startup look like a unicorn in waiting.

Going back to my roots as a writer felt like coming up for air after a long, deep dive in a river of shit. The first few months were disorienting as hell. It's tough adjusting to life outside the echo chamber. I've had to relearn how to write without an agenda, how to ask questions without anticipating the "right" answers, how to look at the tech industry with clear eyes.

There are days when I question my decision—when I gather up the courage to look at my dwindling bank account, for example. Tech has a way of tempting you back, whispering sweet nothings about stock options and catered lunches.

Well-meaning friends in the industry have texted, called, emailed. They've told me that I'm burning bridges, that a critical stance will make me unemployable in tech circles. They've advised me to soften my tone, to find a middle ground that won't alienate potential future employers or clients.

I get it. I do. In an industry built on network effects, taking a stand can feel like career suicide. The pressure to conform, to go along with the prevailing narrative, is immense. Trust me, I know.

But then I sit down to write, and I remember why the fuck I'm doing this. I write about the human cost of gig economy apps that treat workers as disposable resources. I write about the venture capital industry that repeatedly and stubbornly fails to invest in anyone who doesn't look like Mark Zuckerberg's clone.

I can't go back to writing comforting VC pandering fictions. I won't do it, no matter how many zeroes are dangled in front of me.

This isn't to say that I've become an anti-tech fanatic, railing against all notions of progress. Technology has potential when it's guided by ethical considerations and a genuine desire to improve the human condition. I've spent the last 6 months interviewing founders who are building companies without following the VC playbook, without setting fire to the world around them.

But I have zero faith in the idea that unfettered vulture capitalism and a blind pursuit of "disruption" will lead us to a better world.

I've seen how perverse incentives and boiler room pressure to deliver exponential growth can warp even the most idealistic founders' vision. I've watched brilliant minds get sucked into the vortex of funding rounds and vanity metrics, losing sight of why they started their companies in the first place.

I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." For years, my salary—and my sense of self-worth—depended on not understanding the deeper implications of my work. I can't keep faking blameless ignorance.

I don't know where this will lead me. The tech industry has a long memory.

So it goes.

At least I have my integrity. The machine may grind on, but I'm glad to have stepped off the treadmill.

Howard Zinn said: "You can't be neutral on a moving train." Tech is an out-of-control locomotive with no fucking brakes, and I've chosen where I stand. It may not be a comfortable or lucrative position, but it's one I can live with.

And for the first time in years, when I look in the mirror, I can recognize the person looking back. That's worth all the stock options in the world.

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