A Word on Startup Culture

Startup culture seems to be all the rage. Companies are changing the status quo of what it means to run a business.┬áHaving happy hour, three foosball tables lined side by side, and a March Madness league are all infamous icons of having “startup culture”. Whether or not it works — there are companies receiving hundreds of millions in funding and others going out of business everyday (startup culture, eh?) — is up for you to decide, but Handango embodies this culture, and we wanted to give our word on the current rage about some of the most controversial topics in it.

Whether you like it or not, modafinil has worked its way into startup culture. An unwritten rule of the often foggy lines of any startup, whether it be in Irving or Silicon Valley, is to have an “edge”. Some people get an edge by eating healthy, working out, and drinking lots of water. Others dabble with risky prescription amphetamines like Adderall and Vyvanse. But, the new age of entrepreneurs, namely developers, are switching to a smart drug called modafinil.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for individuals to divulge the fact that they use prescription drugs to increase their performance, both cognitively and at mechanical work. The other day we had our HR department report that there was an individual who classified himself as a biohacker who applied to our company for a developer role, and he got the job. He disclosed that he is an avid user of the wakefulness promoting drug modafinil. Hiding the fact that you use modafinil is counterintuitive: these drugs, commonly coined “smart drugs”, are not one should be ashamed to use. They are not being used to get high or to party, rather, to increase cognitive performance and to gain a mental edge. Who can’t respect that?

At Handango, we have a no questions asked policy. We don’t dig into your personal life and try to uncover what we don’t need to know. You live your life, and as long as you do your job, we don’t try to make your life any harder (in fact, our health, life, dental, and other insurance plans make it easier and yes, we’re hiring). We’ve had developers bring in and use modafinil and love it, and we’ve had others use it and not like the effects it had on them. At the end of the day, there’s no one size fits all answer to cognitive enhancement and smart drugs because everybody’s body is different and there are no two biologically similar individuals, even for twins. What we do know is that the individuals who use modafinil (Modalert being the most popular brand of modafinil online, but Waklert, Modvigil, and Artvigil all making their presence known in the workplace) love it, and its one aspect that allows us to outperform competing firms in this cutthroat environment where everybody is fighting for their piece of the pie. We don’t intrude your personal decisions. We’re not your parents. We hire adults and treat them as such, and as long as work gets done, why bother?

My goal with this is to encourage companies to follow the same transparency. It’s not frowned upon to allow cognitive enhancement drugs in your workplace. Rather, it’s frowned upon to be hiring extra developers and not seeing the results that your competitors are seeing with half as many employees. Don’t spend time trying to boil down every last detail of your developers lives and let them have the flexibility to live their lives as long as they help you live yours.

Isn’t that fair? I think so.

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