Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

“Let’s Get the Calories as Quickly as We Can”

Brian X. Chen reports for the New York Times on the rise of meal replacement powders in Silicon Valley:

At the office, Mr. Melocik stashes one Schmoylent jar in the refrigerator and takes the other to his desk. From 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., he sips from the first jar for breakfast, and the second for lunch. He consumes about 14 fluid ounces of Schmoylent each day so he can focus on coding instead of grabbing a bite to eat

“It just removes food completely from my morning equation up until about 7 p.m.,” said Mr. Melocik, 34, who has been following his techie diet since February.

Boom times in Silicon Valley call for hard work, and hard work — at least in technology land — means that coders, engineers and venture capitalists are turning to liquid meals with names like Schmoylent, Soylent, Schmilk and People Chow. The protein-packed products that come in powder form are inexpensive and quick and easy to make — just shake with water, or in the case of Schmilk, milk. While athletes and dieters have been drinking their dinner for years, Silicon Valley’s workers are now increasingly chugging their meals, too, so they can more quickly get back to their computer work.

I’m not sure about you, but I cringed while reading this article. Nothing about this lifestyle appeals to me, from the vastly extended workdays to the avoidance of having to eat at all costs. Don’t get me wrong: I like my job and I want to be successful in my field. But this rapidly-expanding “hustle” culture is an abhorrent characteristic of Silicon Valley, Calgary, and plenty of other regions. Nothing you do at work is important enough to replace taking basic care of yourself, which includes taking leisure time away from work. The amount of overtime hours one accrues should not be a source of pride. There are other, better things to do.