Mr Khosla urged others to be driven internally and not externally.
It's been several weeks, but the debate on India's work productivity, sparked by Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy's '70-hour work week' comment continues to rage on. While some prominent business leaders backed Mr Murthy's workweek schedule, others on the internet called his proposed work schedule inhumane. Now, Vinod Khosla, venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, also joined the debate and spoke in support of Mr Murthy's views. In a Q&A session on X, Mr Khosla was asked by a user about what he thought of Mr Murthy's suggestion. In response, he said that those who felt "attacked" by his views needed mental health therapy and if they did not wish to work for 70 hours every week, then they should be ready to face the consequences that follow.
"For people who "felt attacked" by this they need mental health therapy. They should learn to "toughen up" and not feel attacked. 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," Mr Khosla wrote.
Further, the venture capitalist elaborated on his views and urged others to be driven internally and not externally. "Not working 70hrs/wk may not get you the biggest house or car to show to your neighbors, but you can make that choice. Lots of other things make people happy. Be internally driven and not externally driven by what others expect of success: bigger titles, bigger house don't make everyone happy," he said.
Mr Khosla's reply received mixed responses from social media users. While some agreed with him, others spoke about an imbalance between putting in the long hours and getting paid for the work done.
"People of my generation (I'm 26) are extremely lazy. They all want to make millions, without doing any work. 70-80 hours should not be looked down upon, because that work ethic show resilience and discipline. Those extra hours puts you ahead of masses. Embrace it," wrote one user. "Many people misunderstood the statement , they perceived that now companies will ask them to work 70 Hours / week..Reason for that are social media influencers who manipulated the statement to gain likes," commented another.
"I worked 70+ hrs/week on a startup I was passionate about in my late 20s and early 30s. It formed the foundation of my career even though this startup failed in 2000. But I missed 2 years of my young son's life," wrote a third user. "What is the purpose of life?,is there any truly valid reason behind our existence or to just work,earn,live with that money and ultimately die," expressed another.
Notably, appearing on a podcast, Narayana Murthy said India's work productivity is one of the lowest in the world and asked the youth the contribute towards building the culture so that India can compete effectively on the global stage. He also drew parallels with Japan and Germany, two countries that implemented extended working hours after the Second World War.