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business for punks from the bottom-up

In the last week, I’ve been exploring the notion of ‘business for punks’, the philosophy propounded by the founder of BrewDog, as the formulation of an increasingly dominant ethos in which ‘disruptive’ corporate activity is valorised as anti-authoritarian. I’ve been thinking about this mostly from the top-down, as a characteristic of founders and CEOs, but I’d also like to understand how this culture manifests itself from the bottom-up, possibly amongst people aspiring to be founders and CEOs one day, but also amongst rank and file staff. 

In Battle of the Titans, a book about the feud between Apple and Google, I just encountered an interesting description of the eventual founder of Android’s early career, focusing on his putative lack of respect for authority. From loc 909:

At General Magic, an Apple spin-off that wrote some of the first software for handheld computers, he and some colleagues built lofts above their cubicles so they could more efficiently work around the clock.

Get that? Building a loft above your cubicle so you can absolutely subordinate your life to your (cubicle-bound) work shows a lack of respect for authority. Such a weird proposition demands hermeneutic insight: my proposal would be this manifests the ‘business for punks’ ethos, such that unsanctioned action is seen as disruptive, even if it reinforces rather than conflicts with existing power structures.

Categories: Corporate Culture, Elites and Their Self-Understandings The Intensification of Work

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