Research by the FBI found that companies managed by psychopaths tend to have decreased productivity and low employee morale. In fact, Silicon Valley’s psychopathic traits “trickle down through entire organizations,” says Gavet. “In effect creating psychopathic companies.”
This is enabled by an “infantilized culture” at many start-up companies, where employees become accustomed to working in “hyper-privileged bubbles where their every whim is catered to and every need anticipated,” she writes.
At Google, for instance, employees are treated to nap pods, free massages and a luxury hotel-style concierge service to run errands. The biotech firm Genentech reportedly offers perks like on-site car washes, haircuts, spa treatments and even a dentist.
“By sheltering these guys in this little cocoon or womb, it kind of emphasizes that young male problem, where Mom takes care of everything,” says Richard Walker, professor emeritus of geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and a veteran Valley-watcher. “It’s kind of magical, where food just appears, and ‘If my treat isn’t there it’s because Mom forgot to provide it!’ ”