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商业 - 科技

八块腹肌:硅谷程序员的新标配

Richard Morgan 2014年08月06日

硅谷新一代程序员一反过去瘦弱、邋遢的传统形象,争相健身打造健美身材。既然世间万物在程序员眼中都可优化,那么自己的身体当然也不例外。

    人们总是说硅谷的新陈代谢正在火箭式上升,这当然是一个用来形象说明利润、创新、产品或服务激增的比喻。但现在,这一幕就切切实实地发生在我们眼前。科技行业的文化正在转变:健身已经成为所谓brogrammer(意指善于社交,喜欢出外玩乐的程序员)的新嗜好。软件开发人员一向把世界视为一系列需要优化的系统。现在,他们开始用这种本能来观察自己的身体。让我们权且将它称为“高效技术人员的六块腹肌”——堪比健美运动员的身材,加上PHP思维的头脑。

    “我做梦也没有想到这一幕,” 40岁的托马斯•贝利说。他是波士顿麒灵广告营销公司(SapientNitro)的体验技术总监。“但我正在观察办公室外面那25位程序员,每个人都非常健康。其中有一位是健美运动员,还有一大群自行车运动健将。只有当我们雇用40岁以上的员工时,我们才能看到那种符合人们固有成见,仿佛是从《侏罗纪公园》(Jurassic Park)走出的程序员:身体不健康,非常邋遢。程序员过去爱在简历中注明,他们会说西班牙语或中文。如今的简历亮点则是,他们参加过铁人三项,或者是本地很有实力的某家业余运动队的成员。

    这种现象似乎让贝利非常惊讶,但他其实也是其中一员。在一番关于“竭力维持效率”的高谈阔论之后,他露出了自己的底牌:“我无法忍受那种典型的健身房锻炼体验,在跑步机上一边跑步,一边盯着屏幕看上半个小时,实在让人受不了,”他抱怨说。他是一位“全面健身(CrossFit)”新手。他的同事,32岁的互动开发经理乔恩•格拉西斯每天骑自行车行驶18英里。他经常停下手头的工作,做100个仰卧起坐,100个俯卧撑和50个引体向上。“我正在练习引体向上,”他承认。

    “我做事特别讲究效率,”格拉西斯说。“不管是生活的哪一方面,我都不能忍受效率低下,几乎到了过分的程度。但健身是很难追求效率的,因为你希望健身有一定难度。不断提升的目标对技术人员非常有吸引力。”

    据说伏案工作的程序员的健康状况正在迅速改善,尽管我们很难发现能够支持这一论断的数据——除了可穿戴式健身设备最近几年迅速成长为一门数十亿美元的生意这一事实——但坊间充斥着大量轶事。

    比如,创业孵化器Y Combinator联合创始人保罗•格雷厄姆恳请他的员工锻炼身体。(该公司合伙人哈吉•塔加曾经专门撰文谈论过他自己通过锻炼预防心脏病的经历。)仔细想想旨在解决吃饭“问题”的新型食品Soylent背后的理念,或者谷歌公司(Google)的基线研究(Baseline Study),这项研究试图找出健康的系统(呃,或者说身体)究竟应该是什么样子。再看看一大批正在火人节(Burning Man)欢度春假的人群中穿梭,或者在西南偏南音乐节 (South by Southwest)袒露健美体格的科技工作者(其中包括投资人、加密货币传道者泰勒•文克莱沃斯那犹如奥林匹斯山诸神的强健身躯)。读读效率大师蒂莫西•费里斯2010年出版的经典著作《4小时身体锻炼:如何通过迅速减肥和性爱成为超人》(The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman),或著名未来学家雷•库兹威尔2009年出版的著作《超越》(Transcend)——这是一套旨在打造健康生活的九步口诀。“锻炼好身体是成为一位成功创始人的关键一环,”社会企业家,法庭之友公司(Amicus)CEO塞思•班农写道。他认为自己的成就之一就是成为了一位素食主义者。“请牢记,锻炼可以助你成为一位更好的企业家。”或者看看BuzzFeed的编辑们对“硅谷最热辣腹肌”的不吝赞美。在该地区书呆子气更浓的早期岁月(笔者绝无半点不尊重高科技先驱的意思),这种描述是难以想象的。

    When people talk about the skyrocketing metabolism of Silicon Valley, it’s a metaphor for profits, innovation, a surge in products or services. But now it’s happening literally. There is a cultural shift afoot in the technology industry: fitness has gripped the so-called brogrammer. Software developers who see the world as a series of systems in need of optimization have turned that instinct inward. Call it the six abs of highly effective techies—HGH bodies for PHP minds.

    “I never really thought of that,” says Thomas Bailey, 40, director of experience technology at SapientNitro, a marketing company in Boston. “But, yeah, I’m looking out of my office at 25 programmers, and every one of them is fit: a bodybuilder, a ton of cyclists, all of that. It’s only when we hire guys older than 40 that we see that old stereotype, like the programmer from Jurassic Park: unfit, sloppy, all that. People used to point out on their résumé that they speak Spanish or Chinese. Now it’s that they run triathlons or are on a competitive local amateur sports team.”

    Bailey may sound surprised, but he’s one of them. After a spiel about “eking out efficiencies,” he reveals his hand: “I can’t stand the typical, average, normal gym experience of running on a treadmill, staring at a TV for half an hour,” he gripes. He’s a CrossFit acolyte. His co-worker, Jon Grassis, 32, a manager of interactive development, bikes 18 miles a day. He always makes sure to stop and do 100 crunches, 100 push-ups, and 50 pull-ups. “I’m working on the pull-ups,” he concedes.

    “I’m a 100 percent stickler for efficiency,” Grassis says. “I can’t stand inefficiency in any part of my life at all, almost to a fault. Efficiency is tricky with fitness, though, because you want it to be hard. The moving target aspect is highly appealing to the techie mindset.”

    It is admittedly difficult to find data that specifically backs the assertion that desk-bound programmers are moving toward a fitter existence, aside from the fact that the general market for wearable fitness devices has in recent years rapidly grown into a billion-dollar business. But there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence.

    Witness Paul Graham, a co-founder of the seed accelerator Y Combinator, imploring his staff to exercise. (And here is HarjTaggar, a Y Combinator partner, writing about his personal experiments with preventing heart disease.) Chew on the concept of Soylent, which aims to solve the “problem” of eating meals, or Google’s Baseline Study, which seeks to pinpoint what a healthy system—er, body—should look like. Look at the hordes of young tech workers navigating the Spring Break crowds at Burning Man and South by Southwest baring their toned physiques (including the literally Olympian torso of Tyler Winklevoss, the investor and cryptocurrency evangelist). Read efficiency mogul Timothy Ferriss’ 2010 book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman or renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil’s 2009 book Transcend, a nine-step mnemonic for living well. “Tending to your body is essential to being a successful founder,” writes Seth Bannon, the social entrepreneur and Amicus CEO, who counts among his accomplishments that he is a vegetarian. “Remember: exercise makes you a better entrepreneur.” Or behold the editors of BuzzFeed lavishing praise on “the hottest abs in Silicon Valley,” a description that—with respect to tech’s founding mothers and fathers—would have been unthinkable in the region’s early, nerdier days.

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