Silicon Valley Tech Workers Trade Keyboards for Chisels in Pursuit of Craftsmanship

Washington Post recently reported that creators and pioneers of the digital age are increasingly finding solace and satisfaction in traditional crafts, particularly woodworking. 

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Key Takeaways:

  • Many tech industry veterans are discovering the joy and stress relief that comes from working with their hands, and engaging in traditional crafts like woodworking.
  • Those who emerged from the “move fast and break things” culture of the tech industry are finding fulfilment in slowing down and creating physical objects.
  • These hobbies aren’t cheap, with woodworking classes costing hundreds of dollars and studio memberships running into the thousands. 

The central figures in the story are Haomiao Huang, a venture capitalist, and his wife, Lydia The, both of whom have spent significant time and money perfecting an ancient woodworking technique. Unlike their fast-paced, high-pressure digital jobs, the couple finds woodworking to be “tremendously grounding” and “meditative.” In their own words, suggesting a deep level of commitment to this hobby.

“We’re making the dining table we’re going to die with.”

From the Wood Shop to Silicon Valley

The trend of adopting traditional crafts extends beyond Huang and The, sweeping across San Francisco and the Bay Area, with woodworking shops springing up around the city. Employees from tech giants and start-ups alike are being drawn to the practice, scheduling team-building sessions in these wood shops. Furthermore, the maker movement is flourishing, with the pandemic sparking interest in various other arts and crafts from glass-blowing to pottery-making.

However, the world of traditional crafts doesn’t come without challenges. Firstly, the cost is substantial; woodworking classes, studio memberships, and the necessary materials quickly add up, catering to the high-earning tech industry professionals. Secondly, woodworking demands patience and a slower pace, which contrasts starkly with the quick, efficient ethos of the tech industry. Despite these hurdles, many find the experience rewarding and fulfilling.

A New Avenue for Team Bonding

As people continue to work remotely and office vacancies remain high, hobbies such as woodworking provide opportunities for connection. Workshops across the city buzz with activity post-work hours, serving as a rejuvenating escape for those otherwise glued to electronic devices all day. For some, including Huang and The, woodworking has become a way to bond and connect on a different level.


This shift from the digital world to traditional crafts among the tech elite is a fascinating trend. While the speed and efficiency of the tech industry have their merits, the calm, patience, and satisfaction gained from creating physical objects offer a much-needed balance for many in Silicon Valley.

Read also:

Industry Leaders Share Their Insights on Tech Careers in an Evolving Landscape

Post-COVID Education Technology Boom Is Here to Stay

Should I Quit My Job and Learn Programming? Diving into a Programming Career at 31

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