a quirky & funny web comic

Startup Life

I started my career in the 1990s - as a large number of computer programmers my age did - building websites in PHP and fixing computers for friends, family and local businesses. This passion for tinkering and endless curiosity has led me to jobs at over a dozen startups ranging from email and web hosting to an AI wearables company and even a custom guitar shop. After a couple of decades some patterns have emerged, such as the unnecessary automation of tech support, too many corny motivational posters and the proliferation of laptop stickers that I feel deserve a good mocking.

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Day In The Life of a Startup Programmer

#4: Day In The Life of a Startup Programmer

A stick-figure montage of "a day in the life of a programmer" with the programmer fighting a dragon, the programmer being attacked by zombies and finally an asteroid hurling towards the earth with the programmer exclaiming "Seriously!?".

#5: Ring-a-Ling

Stick figure sitting in a cubicle across from another empty cubicle with a ringing phone.
Speak Louder

#6: Speak Louder

Two stick figures sitting in cubicles across from each other. One is on a phone call using the speaker phone, "Great! Now that we've established everyone on the call is under NDA we can start talking about the Super-Duper Secret Thing that no one else at this office knows about or has even heard of...what's that? Speak louder? NO PROBLEM!"
Phone Booth

#7: Phone Booth

A person is sitting in a toilet stall, "Oh, girl! No he didn't! ...wait I'm getting a call on the other line. Let me put you on hold...
Puppet Freedom

#15: Puppet Freedom

Two stick figure marionettes. One has had his wires cut from the control bar and is laying on the ground, immobile while the other looks on. The stick figure on the ground exclaims, "I'm free!"
Googling Google

#39: Googling Google

The Google search page is displayed with "www.google.com" entered into the search bar. "Never do this."
Think Outside the Cube

#46: Think Outside the Cube

A stick figure longingly peeks his head over the wall of a row of cubicles and looks out into blankness. "Think Outside the Cube."
Infinite Cubicles

#59: Infinite Cubicles

A large grid of line-art stick-figure cubicles arranged in an isometric pattern. Notable ones include a character peeking over the wall at a coworker. Pin-the-tail on the donkey. A cubicle with a happy birthday sign. Two people making out in a storage room. Someone burning papers to make s'mores. A character asleep on a cot. A moose head hanging on a cubicle wall.

#63: Monopoly

A stick figure standing on a podium proclaiming, "Good news everyone, we're a monopoly again."
Perseverance Demotivational Poster

#64: Perseverance Demotivational Poster

An iceberg. "Perseverance: impossible, buddy that was just the beginning."
Courage Demotivational Poster

#65: Courage Demotivational Poster

A stick figure jumps off a cliff into very shallow water with rocks. "Courage: easily confused with stupidity"
Integrity Demotivational Poster

#67: Integrity Demotivational Poster

The Enron logo. "Integrity: optional"
Endurance Demotivational Poster

#68: Endurance Demotivational Poster

A melted snowman. "Endurance: even the best have limits."
Robot Technical Support

#69: Robot Technical Support

An angry customer responds to a string of emails with, "You keep sending me the same response. Seriously, are you a robot?". The Robot Manager along with the Supervisor Robot look on with the Supervisor Robot noting, "Sir, I think he's on to us." The Robot Manager exclaims, "crap!"
Achievement Demotivational Poster

#70: Achievement Demotivational Poster

A poster with a stick figure standing on top of a very tall mountain. Two taller mountains overshadow the very tall mountain. The stick figure exclaims, "Seriously?!". "Achievement: Sometimes it's better to just lower your standards."
Robot Shredder

#73: Robot Shredder

The Robot Manager is sitting behind his desk interviewing a shredder. "I'm sorry but we're looking for a candidate with a more diverse skillset.""
Punctuality Demotivational Poster

#74: Punctuality Demotivational Poster

A poster with a worm wearing a necktie with the sun rising in the distance. "Punctuality: as for the early worm - well, he gets eaten alive by the first hungry bird that comes along."
Robots Learn Humans Need to be Fed

#77: Robots Learn Humans Need to be Fed

The Robot Manager along with the Supervisor Robot examine a skeletal corpse sitting at a desk; the person appears to have did while working and is still holding a pencil to paper. The Robot Manager concedes, "Well, I guess you were right. It did require sustenance.". The Robot Supervisor adds, "Yes sir, they're pretty fragile."
Ideation Demotivational Poster

#80: Ideation Demotivational Poster

A poster containing a lit candle, a tungston lightbulb and a compact fluorescent bulb. "Ideation: and you thought you were the first to have a bright idea."
Robot Urinals

#81: Robot Urinals

The Robot Manager walks into the men's restroom and notices oil slicks underneath every urinal. "Seriously!?" he exclaims.
Robot Specialized Skillset

#85: Robot Specialized Skillset

The Robot Manager is sitting behind his desk interviewing a Swiss Army Knife. There is a perseverance demotivational poster on his wall. "I'm sorry but we're looking for a candidate with a more specialized skill set."
Is it OK to be a Cog in the Machine?

#86: Is it OK to be a Cog in the Machine?

A machine with numerous interconnected cogs, except one. The disconnected cog asks wonders aloud, "You guys ever feel like you're not contributing?" to which the others respond, "no".
Prisoner NPS

#93: Prisoner NPS

A dark dungeon with an executioner questioning a skeleton," on a scale of one to 10 how likely are you to recommend a sweet friend or family member?
Fear and Anxiety

#94: Fear and Anxiety

A can labeled, "Fear and Anxiety now with 15% more panic attacks": I hate the taste but sometimes it's all that gets me through today.
Laptop Stickers

#96: Laptop Stickers

A laptop covered with technology themed stickers with the caption, "Laptop stickers are basically the tech equivalent of prison tattoos."
Team Demotivational Poster

#112: Team Demotivational Poster

Demotivational poster with the word TEAM written in a square-blocky style with a lowercase letter "i" as the whitespace in the letter "a". The caption reads: "Apparently there is an "I" in team after all!".

#113: Koalafications

The robot supervisor is interviewing a koala. The koala has climbed the back of the interviewing chair. Robot supervisor says, "We need a candidate with better koalafications."
The Cloud Crashes Again

#115: The Cloud Crashes Again

A cloud has apparently crashed into a field and is partially buried in the ground. Two stick figures look on, with one exclaiming, "Oh no, the cloud has crashed!" While the other laments, "...not again!"
Coffee Grinder's Job is Automated

#118: Coffee Grinder's Job is Automated

A manual Zassenhaus coffee grinder is in Robot Manager's office. Robot Manager says, "We've automated your job, so we'll have to let you go."
Older Gentleman Doesn't Have Enough Experience

#123: Older Gentleman Doesn't Have Enough Experience

An elderly gentleman is being interviewed in Robot Manager's office. The Robot Manager says, "I'm sorry but I feel like you just don't have enough experience."