What is an idealist?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

I like this writer, but they should be careful, because what they are writing could easily be mistaken for a kind of whining:

I worked there from 1995 – 2005, and saw Silicon Valley take in the world’s best and brightest. Unlike other fortune-seekers, many of us were idealists, the kind of people who in a different time might have become teachers, doctors and social workers. In 1997, just after Netscape’s public offering inaugurated the Internet era, medical school applications declined precipitously for six straight years. Over that same period, the U.S. faced the worst teacher shortage in its history. The idealists had become virtual idealists.

It’s hard afterwards to come back to genuine ideals. Two years ago, my twin brother left a law firm protecting the Internet bubble’s investment bankers, for a government job protecting the environment. Now he complains you can’t turn the lights on in his office over the weekend without calling a special number. Before that, he worked for a non-profit that represented asylum seekers, who often showed up late for meetings. “No one ever did that when I cost $390 an hour,” he said.

In a year away from high-tech, I volunteered at inner-city schools and felt the same way: my time was lightly valued because I was giving it away, and many of the tutors seemed unmotivated compared to my old colleagues.

So now I’m back in Internet software, mostly because I missed the sense of purpose and importance that being around other driven people gave me. I believe in what we’re doing. But since we’re also out to turn a profit, some have ventured to call this belief disingenuous.