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LinkedIn: A Story About Silicon Valley's Possibly Unhealthy Need for Speed

Silicon Valley has a long-running obsession with speed
Silicon Valley has a long-running obsession with speedPhotograph by Peter Keil/Gallery Stock

Kevin Scott’s desk at LinkedIn flanks what must be among the most exotic office coffee makers. The contraption replicates the functions of a French press, while doing away with all of its inadequacies. It consists of a couple of beakers, a Corning PC-420D stirring hot plate, and an electronic thermometer. When the water reaches exactly 94 degrees Celsius, Scott pours in some coffee grounds, and the Corning device starts whirring them around. “All of this ensures a constant temperature and a vortex that circulates the grounds and expands their surface area with the water,” Scott says. “It’s my own little invention that I’m dialing in right now. I’m largely insane.”

Scott arrived at LinkedIn two years ago after working in academia and at Google, where he became one of the company’s big thinkers around building a modern computing infrastructure. Officially, he’s now LinkedIn’s senior vice president of engineering, which basically means he’s the company’s top geek. He seems to approach most things in life as if they were engineering challenges that need conquering, and his grandest battle to date has been waged not against coffee but against humans.