Week three at STARTUP, midday. I open email forty-five of eight-seven. I have received the employee handbook from CHIEF OFFICER, who asks I sign and return “EOD.” I skim to the important parts: vacation time, benefits, work from home. Working from home is discouraged, it says, because STARTUP believes in a “healthy balance” between work and personal life. I ping COWORKER because this is funny given the reason ACCOUNTANT quit last week. Since my employment I can’t ignore Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep deriding me from its perch upon my shelf. I’ve further succumbed to the platform economy Crary describes, haunted by interconnectivity and the anxious promise of late-night notifications from CHIEF OFFICER or CEO. Work and play are now apps I switch between with a double-tap, flattening all activities into a lifestyle of chaotic stimuli and reaction. In a performative gesture of generosity every position is salaried at STARTUP meaning endless availability is expected. “Clocking out” is as antiquated as it sounds. I’m told in a meeting with CHIEF OFFICER that CEO schedules her life in fifteen-minute blocks. He recommends I do the same. It seems cruel to subject time to such harsh disciplinarity, but in practice I realize this has little to do with order. It is more so an aesthetic devotion to the neoliberal imperative of Silicon Valley. A devotion to what Deleuze famously describes as the reduction ofp the individual to the “dividual,” humans as sites of data to be infinitely parsed and aggregated in the service of capital.[1] Time is subjected to similar logics. Rendering one’s existence as fifteen-minute boxes in a Google Calendar allows endless reorganization and modularity driven by an ethos of target-driven performance. One’s life can be shuffled and prioritized to respond to any event, to hit any target, no moment goes wasted. CEO’s calendar mimics my 24/7 lifestyle, her ceaseless restructuring of the company, and the disruption and reorganization endemic to Silicon Valley. “Time is money,” says ENGINEER in a tense meeting with CEO. She retorts: “It doesn’t matter how long something takes, it matters that we get it right.” Such draconian claims actuate the chaos of STARTUP, wherein delineations of departments blur across the open floor plan. Max Weber described the aphorism “time is money” as quintessentially capitalist, a product of the Protestant work ethic in which capital becomes God.[2] This held true through the Fordist economy when linearity structured the workplace. When the factory worker relied on a fixed amount of hours and understood themselves as a link in the chain, as situated in a hierarchy of power. Indeed, an invigorating mantra this makes if one’s time is finite, if the product is material. But when the worker is always working and the product is a platform, time and money implode, proliferating outwards into every facet of one’s life. At STARTUP, existing is money. Deleuze elucidates this transformation as moving from “minted money” to “floating rates of exchange,” an apt metaphor for the delirious virtuality of the 24/7 society.[3] Efficiency is no longer quantifiable, numerically tracked, or defined by quota. Rather, its is designated through nebulous and wavering targets, either bureaucratically issued or dictated by the mercurial whims of CEO. In Silicon Valley, one no longer climbs the proverbial ladder, but shoots Nerf darts at ever-shifting targets that proliferate and dissipate with the transmogrification of the company, of the culture, of capitalism. Linearity is passé, hierarchy exists only to the extent that it serves capital, and time is flattened out into calendar appointments, tracked, shuffled, and reorganized once again. Despite such extensive tracking of time, I somehow feel increasingly unmoored, my Google Calendar resembling a game of Tetris more than a tool of measurement. Ironically, with so much attention paid to my temporal locus, time loses relevance as a metric. Frederic Jameson prophesized this predicament, this “crisis of historicity” and its effect on the individual, decades prior.[4] Now that I’ve finagled myself to the heart of platform capitalism I truly grasp, on a personal level, what Jameson meant. Planning, the process of prioritizing events to ensure an eventual outcome, has dissipated in favor of a reactive present. I no longer study the past to project myself into the future, but oscillate between responding to perpetual calendar notifications and swapping one event for another. Mired in the present, all aspirations are neutralized. One cannot leave STARTUP because STARTUP infiltrates every aspect of one’s life and nullifies forward-looking ideations. The ability to fashion a narrative, to make sense of my actions and the world around me, dissolves into a perpetual present. [1] Deleuze [2] Weber [3] Deleuze [4] Jameson