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HomeTech‘Toughen up’: Vinod Khosla comments on Narayana Murthy’s 70-hour-week remark

‘Toughen up’: Vinod Khosla comments on Narayana Murthy’s 70-hour-week remark

Billionaire and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla weighed into the debate kicked off by Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy’s comments that young people should work 70-hour weeks, saying that people need not be so sensitive to the remark.

‘Toughen up’

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Responding to a question on X, Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures, said people who “felt attacked” by this statement need “mental health therapy”. “They should learn to “toughen up” and not feel attacked,” he said.

Khosla stated that it is okay to not work 70 hours per week and “live with the consequences of the choices you make”, adding that Murthy’s statement was for the “career ambitious” individuals.

“OK to not work 70hrs/wk and live with the consequences of the choices you make. He is speaking to “career ambitious” young people but there are other ways to live with different choices,” his post read.

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Definition of success varies

In another post, Khosla expanded that not working 70 hours a week may not “get you the biggest house or car to show to your neighbors, but you can make that choice”. The billionaire investor iterated that the definition of success can differ for all. “Be internally driven and not externally driven by what others expect of success: bigger titles, bigger house don’t make everyone happy,” he said.

In November, Murthy said young individuals should put in at least 70-hour work weeks for nation-building. His remarks kicked off a debate about work-life balance in IT services and other industries.

Startups come to Murthy’s defence

ET reported in November that startups mostly agree with Murthy’s statement, as a 70-hour work week is business as usual for them. Over half-a-dozen founders of early-stage startups to unicorns told ET that if one is looking to build something big and impactful, one needs to stretch that extra mile.

Some, especially GenZ, value work-life balance much more than others but overall, the startup ecosystem tends to attract people who are looking for something more adventurous than a regular 9 to 5 job and willing to put in those extra hours, founders say.

Many other entrepreneurs came to defend Murthy’s position online, including Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal, who added fuel to fire saying that he is putting in 140-hour work weeks.

However, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said the 70-hour work-week is not mandated under any national law in any country. It added that developed nations are now moving towards the ILO’s latest convention that mandates a 40-hour work-week in place of the 48-hour work convention.

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