Are Americans working hard enough?
That's what Mike Moritz, a top partner at Sequoia Capital, pondered in an op-ed published on Wednesday in the Financial Times. The Silicon Valley investor compared American and Chinese tech cultures, criticizing western employees' push for things like paternity leave and work-life balance.
"In recent months, there have been complaints about the political sensibilities of speakers invited to address a corporate audience; debates over the appropriate length of paternity leave or work-life balances," Moritz wrote. "These seem like the concerns of a society that is becoming unhinged."
Moritz went on to praise the "furious" pace of work in China, noting that top managers begin the day at 8 A.M. and often don't leave until 10 P.M. What's more, managers will these shifts six or seven days a week. "If a Chinese company schedules tasks for the weekend, nobody complains about missing a Little League game or skipping a basketball outing with friends," Moritz wrote.
But Moritz didn't mention the negative impact sleep deprivation has on work and quality of life. The Center for Human Sleep Science found that getting less than seven hours of sleep a nigh can be linked to medical ailments like cancer, obesity and poor mental health. Additionally, Moritz neglected to address the fact that discussions about work-life balance in the American tech industry have promoted beneficial conversations about equal pay and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Moritz joined Sequoia in 1986 and is the second venture capitalist to compare Silicon Valley's work culture against China's. Y-Combinator's president Sam Altman penned a blog post in December that criticized Silicon Valley's attitude of political correctness. He also noted that he felt more at east talking about controversial topics in China.