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Oppressive corporate culture - a problem for our generation to solve

Heads up for the long read ahead!

Keeping silent on workplace bullying, turning a blind eye to corruption, fraud and harassment, corporate thefts, racial and gender discrimination, exploitation and mental oppressions. These are the daily challenges that we’ve normalised as expected work culture.

It’s the same story everywhere in corporate culture.

Nobody really gives a damn because in a large company setting, no single person’s really accountable for the collective good and progress of their workplace community. Corporate culture, even the ‘good’ ones, are very often top-down virtue signalling exercises to keep up the appearances of inclusivity to increase employee branding and social relevance. Disempowerment of the individuals can be seen in sentences like ‘Why rock the boat? Things won’t change anyway’ and ‘It’s just work. I don’t need to care too much’.

Head over to, Glassdoor and Fishbowl, and anyone can see the challenges and corporate servitude that pervades even in the most glorified blue chip and so-called “best places to work at” companies.

The fallacy of being a ‘team player’.

Individuals are often stifled and prevented from voicing some of these toxic and unhealthy workplace culture. Autonomy of the individual is seen as ‘non-compliance’, ‘problematic’, ‘naive’, ‘idealistic’ and antithetical of the team-player profile.

Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper storm trooper and clown by Fujifilm

Even if there is the occasional rockstar rebel who is able to effect change in her immediate department or unit, the change is unlikely to reverberate across the ocean of compliant employees who would rather not rock the boat. If only they knew that the other 99% of the workforce share the same conflicting feelings of fear and frustrations too, there’d be a bigger collective motivation to rally for change.

This is why big corporates can never change on their own. They are beset by the sorry fact that there is no single person, not even the CEO, can effectively influence the collective bad behaviour or a large corporate body honed over years of inaction. The weight of legacy buries the occasional sparks of conversations and initiatives around change. These sparks are often doused before they even get a chance to rally for support.

For all the decades-long talk of corporate transformation and innovation pioneered by ‘thought leaders’ and MBA grads, the reality is that an organisation can never truly change its culture and ethos unless it also goes against all that have given rise to their achievements so far — the corporate zombification of its workforce, inhumane efficiency, exploitative hours, discrimination and the culture of deference to ranks and authority.

This is why real change can only happen bottom up. Not only should we give employees

everywhere the platform to vent and share. We need to empower them with community toolkits that enable collective actions for change in their organisations everyday.

Why and how I ended up co-founding Loominate

After spending some 8 years in startups and the advertising industry, I ruminated about the punishing way the world treats its employees. Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those who thrived on long hours, high output, perfectionism and efficiency. For me, the grind was part of the pleasure. It was a proof of conviction. It formed a very huge part of my identity as an productive member of society.

I was convinced that the hallmark of a great, passionate employee is one that does whatever it takes. But passion and conviction should not come at the high cost of mental stress, physical pain and a loss of perspective on life.

I reflected on how our society has evolved into systemic acceptance and glorification of corporate slavery and the brutalising long hours and unspoken expected standards of productivity that make you feel guilty for taking Sundays off. You’re expected to carry out prescribed scope of work with no complaints, fall in line with poor HR policies, do over time without question and prove your worth in work that may not be of interest to you. Perhaps you’ve encountered frustrating processes that could be resolved with a simple solution but there is no channel to share and get support for your idea.

Large enterprise structure and culture do not encourage individual expression. In most cases, it’s a soulless environment meant to temper the creative side of humans to create consistency and maximum output. To me, they remain the last bastion of organised exploitation and suppression of individual autonomy and free speech. No other structures in the world today does it as effectively.

Solving bad organisational design in the corporate world will be have such deep human impact on society. There has to be a better way for human beings to be creative, productive and value-generators without the present norm of organised servitude, often thinly veiled as meaningful contribution to economy. There has to be a more decentralised but still effective was for us to collaborate at scale and achieve organisational goals without losing our autonomy.

It really seems like such an impossible task.

I decided to co-found

Loominate is founded on the belief that humans tend to be better contributors, inventors and creators when they are happy, creative and given the psychological safety to be their quirky selves.

To promote this, Loominate is launching a pseudonymous platform that empowers employees with the community tools to be their best selves, with or without the involvement of their corporate overlords.

On Loominate, employees get to speak up, share ideas, collaborate and earn cryptocurrency rewards that they could use to unlock even more perks for themselves and the communities.

The layer of anonymity allows the employees to rapidly raise issues, ideas and challenges and tap into the collective intelligence of the workforce with little red tape and friction.

Head over to and discover more about Loominate!

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