What Soylent tells us about Silicon Valley


This came up in my feed, today:


Poor research and poor reasoning sums up this article. Another person who doesn’t understand it himself, therefore, it’s bad.

I really don’t understand the strong opinions against Soylent. If a person doesn’t like it, don’t drink it. What’s the problem?

This article, though, seems to be driven by the author’s obsession with his own ideology.


I haven’t read the article yet (I will now), but that whole “Soylent is a bad name because I’m a child who doesn’t understand anything” got old a long time ago. The name is awesome! I think it’s hilarious. It’s old school cool and a snub to anyone dumb enough to have a problem with it. You won’t consume an amazing product because of the name? Great. You don’t get any. Congratulations.


Wow. Salon. I should have known.

I can just see how that meeting went. “I need someone who sat through a lecture on socialism and who also owns a thesaurus to write a pointless article on the lack of labor unions in Silicon Valley, but I need you to make it look like it’s actually about a hugely successful product so that we can use a picture of that product so people will be fooled into clicking on the link.”

Congratulations, Salon. Keep soiling yourself and maybe someone will buy you a box of Depends.


I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t drink Soylent just so I can work longer and “line my bosses pockets”. I drink it because it makes hitting all my dietary requirements brain dead easy.

I keep seeing people saying it removes the pleasure of eating. How much pleasure do people actually get from eating? Do they not get any pleasure from drinking? The beverage industry would be shocked.

The author has made the usual error in thinking that Soylent is an all or nothing proposition or that we would rather drink Soylent than go out with friends and family for a meal or drink.

Alas the all too common movie reference when Soylent is named after the book the movie was based on. If memory serves in the book Soylent was made from Soy and Lentils not people. But really who in internet “journalism” wants to actually check their facts before hitting the publish button? They just want to line the pockets of their publishers and advertisers. They really should form a union.


“The author has made the usual error in thinking that Soylent is an all or nothing proposition or that we would rather drink Soylent than go out with friends and family for a meal or drink.”

Exactly. I mostly drink it for breakfast when I’m heading out the door. Either, on my way to work on a weekday or on my way to the trail to do some mountain biking on the weekend.

Drinking Soylent doesn’t mean I can’t eat lunch with my buddies or enjoy a nice steak dinner with my girlfriend.

It’s a false choice.

“Alas the all too common movie reference”

Yep. The first few paragraphs were intended to make Soylent seem disgusting, so I don’t think it would have mattered to the author whether he knew the source of the name or not.


That sums up my attitude very well. Soylent is the only thing that makes long-term calorie-watching doable for me.

I think it’s amusing to link the drink to the movie. But I’ve always been a fan of morbid humor.

A few thoughts on the actual article:

Its smell is a combination of rancid vanilla

I’m no fan of the flavor of 1.8, but that was all the more surprising because I liked the scent. As for 2.0, the taste seems to vary depending on the time of day and what else I might be drinking – I’ve found for me it varies anywhere from “boring” to “melted ice cream”.

The author really misses the mark on why programmers aren’t unionized. Start-up programmers know they’re taking a gamble. But it’s been proven that the gamble can pay off with stock options and the like. Non-start-up programmers don’t expect to hit it big, but we’re paid on par with management.


I am a Zen Buddhist. I consume a large amount of Soylent, but it’s not because I work myself to death, nor am I a self-loathing robot who only cares about efficiency. Instead, I try to follow the Buddha’s wisdom and live my life as minimalistic as I can because there is great beauty and joy in simple living.

If you’re like me and follow these fundamental principles, Soylent is a dream. And yet, the article completely fails to account for us.


From the article: “Most of us would likely balk at the idea of regularly sacrificing the pleasure of food so as to better serve one’s employer.”

Oh, Salon. You misunderstand, as usual. People in Silicon Valley aren’t necessarily doing this for their employers, they’re doing it for themselves. A lot of people in SV actually enjoy the work they do, and a substantial portion of them are doing it to make time for solo projects or companies they’re starting on their own. Some of them are working on (gasp) open source projects! They’re serving an employer that pays them nothing!

Salon never hesitates to miss the point, and I say this as someone who leans pretty far left.


@peterdwalker that’s a beautiful way to look at it.