Why cynicism is a critical skill for surviving in tech.

Matthew Weeks
3 min readJan 19, 2022

When working on the cutting edge, the truth is that nobody really knows what’s going to happen next.

We see countless examples, ranging from machine learning and AI, the internet of things, blockchain and ICOs, even green tech. The missions are profound, the supposed market is huge, and the end result is often underwhelming versus what was promised.

The truth is, the most successful in tech are skeptics, and you should probably consider being one too.

There is an (understandable) knowledge gap

Naturally, most folks are not up-to-date with the cutting edge of technology.

Even those in the industry are still trying to figure it out!

And yet, that is where the majority of hype interest goes. Innovators and technical folks go where they see a lot of potentials but there are a lot of unknowns. They start off experimental, then money comes in and hypotheses about the future become “the vision”. By the time leading trends in tech reach the public, they’ve often become saturated with idealists and an already complicated topic is watered down to a misleading marketing campaign.

Ultimately, this is a case of buyer’s beware, so beware that not everything is as it seems.

The hype cycle is cyclical

Innovation often rhymes, but so do the too-good-to-be true tales.

Some hype cycles are real, but end up with only one big winner. The majority of hype cycles end with no real winners and a lot of losers. The truth is, even the most influential investors don’t really know what is going to happen. The average person has even less information, and therefore needs to be extra skeptical.

Nowhere is this clearer than in crypto wherein 2022 we see the same arguments in favour of new defi & nft projects as we saw in ICOs in 2017.

Fake it until you make it mentality

There are outright scams, falsehoods, and misleading advertising. All look similar and all should warrant skepticism.

Theranos is an open-and-shut case of a company outright lying to investors. Even I would like to believe that this isn’t the norm but there are likely many similar companies out there. With “fake it til you make it” as an industry’s leading motto, it’s…

Matthew Weeks

Software Engineer, Teacher, All-around fun guy