Weirdly enough, I think my favorite thing about living here is the vegetation. The quirky trees, the rolling hills, and the funky plants are just so different than what you find in the rest of the U.S. My favorite pastime is just driving around here on the weekend looking at it all.
I have been to many places including different tech metropolitans, like Berlin, but there's still nothing quite like Silicon Valley in terms of what I said above.
Now, my only gripe is that the housing market is crazy. It's funny how only the tech crowd get to afford to live here. I've seen families bunch together just to afford rent.
The difference is that other cities have diversified economies with multiple hot industries.
How many people actually find this appealing?
To an outsider, this is the joke of the Silicon Valley show: everybody is always "talking business" and "crushing it", while the vast majority of "engineering work" being done is mostly useless. The Silicon Valley lifestyle is to me the other side of coin as the Wall Street lifestyle.
I always thought the show Silicon Valley was based on the place but your way round actually explains a lot.
Of course, this article is more about SV as a cultural place and ideal, and not a political force, more about Manhattan than Wall Street. But it still brushes off high rents as normal, something ever-present. Meanwhile, a San Jose city councilman and his family are evicted because of high rents:
I grew up in San Jose. (I remember when we were the capital of Silicon Valley, not San Francisco.) We now live in a very different Bay Area from that of the irrationally exuberant '90s. I think positive profiles of SV have to be tempered by realistic coverage of the many, many problems this place is experiencing. At the very least, acknowledgement of these problems- and not breezy dismissal- can spur change to make things better. So we can build a Silicon Valley worthy of these utopian fantasies.
By that I don't necessarily mean everything should be outsourced to India - even Vancouver (same language, same timezone, similar cultural background) has drastically lower developer wages than SFBA & plenty of talent.
Unconstrained by non-competes?
The theory is that the Bay area has a huge liquid pool of talent, and that not being able to hire critical talent at all is even less "economical", in that you're less likely to be able deliver your product or service to market.
California is also a powerhouse of a state. It has the 5th largest economy in the world, and the most productive state government in the U.S. Ambitious projects actually get attempted and built in California unlike so many of the stagnant states in the U.S. Another reason of why SV and not Idaho is the academic research environment of the bay area and the ease of recruiting the excellent talent that comes out of California's universities every spring.
If you are willing to pay 10-15% above market rates (which is still 1/2 of SFBA market rates) there is no shortage of senior engineers in Berlin.
Still I appreciated two ideas buried in this: One, that he is (maybe slyly) pointing out that this bubble is a lot like the last bubble. And two, that for every Jobs who shows up hell-bent on a meteoric rise (and who either succeeds or crashes spectacularly) there are always plenty of Wozniaks quietly and steadily moving the actual work along.
I would tend to agree that higher ed seems to be in a dangerous upheaval or crisis. For SV I don't see it... not yet anyway. But I'm watching from afar so whadda I know?
Either way, I wouldn't worry too much about the effects though... either of this piece or all the ones rightly pointing out the downsides. Seems like (maybe sadly) they tend to have no effect either way.
How out of touch many here are with the rest of the nation's and world's concerns, aspirations, feelings, values, and needs.
For example, we now know that the Internet has a corrupting influence on civil society that's stronger than its capacity to uplift it.
You believe the Internet is a net negative for society? I think it's easily one of the greatest inventions in all of history.
sure, the internet has enabled some huge things. but if i step back to my life before the internet was a central component of daily life, i can't say definitively whether the internet has provided a net positive effect on my life or not. and i feel more and more that it has kept me from fulfilling myself by capturing my attention and time.
look at the way youtube has progressed. it used to be a platform filled with authenticity. now, it's been overwhelmed by what is described by leeches that try to manipulate and siphon off its users.
much of this is covered by adam curtis in his documentaries, and i would start by watching "all watched over by machines of ever loving grace". the internet started out as an authentic place but not has turned against its users in its powder to control and manipulate.
Really? I'm surprised you rank it above inventions which allowed the agricultural, industrial or transport revolutions to happen.
Personally the Internet as an invention would rank way below the automobile, wheel, plough, spinning jenny, telegraph, telephone, broadcast television, aeroplane, etc.
I'd rank the Internet (and software, in general) up with agriculture and mass-production as a fundamental technology for society. These both ushered in totally new eras for humanity (the agricultural and industrial revolutions, respectively) and new forms of wealth (land and capital, respectively). Similarly, the Internet ushers in the information revolution, where data becomes a fourth fundamental factor of production.
But that is a tiny slice of the world. Which, as I said, is largely out of touch with the rest of it.
But it's not really the Internet as an abstract mechanism, it's the fact that the Internet is a very effective tool for algorithmically propagating and enforcing political, social, and economic conformity - camouflaged as this freewheeling anarchic thing that will save us all from exactly the things it's promoting.
The positive of being able to communicate with anyone at any time and/or lookup information almost instantaneously are worth the downsides (which we need to collectively fight against) in my opinion. It’s like any other tool, it’s made life a hell of a lot easier, but you can also cause damage with it, but that’s up to the person.
Let's not blame the road for the idiot-drivers ;)
Even so, they're not that safe. Imagine what they'd be like without all the oversight.
Obviously it's an unprecedentedly amazing invention. You have access to an infinite amount of information that is mostly free or can be made to be free. For instance if you want to learn astrophysics in your spare time, you can - for $0. And not just learn it but receive access to instruction from the most well regarded instructors at the most well regarded institutions, alongside supplemental materials. And all for $0. That is just such an incredibly radical shift in society.
But most people don't do things like this. The internet is also a source of endless mindless entertainment, the ability to engage in echo chambers based on your preferred views, and to otherwise engage in pointless bickering and gossip. And this behavior is heavily driven by companies who profit extensively off this form of "engagement." Who's making money when you download and sit around watching Susskind's videos and engaging in the corresponding course work? Nobody. Thus, there is a strong disincentive by many to discourage this sort of behavior in lieu of passively consuming crap interleaved with as much advertising and 'messaging' as can be jammed into it.
It's ironic. The internet was going to be the great equalizer in society. But I think it's probably driving a bigger divide in society than ever before. Because now for those with intelligence, drive, and motivation there's less than ever stopping them from achieving great things. At the same time for those who do not have drive or are easily distracted there are now more ways to mindlessly waste an unlimited of time in self indulgence - and mostly for free!
The internet has only ever been one thing: a time sink. Why waste your free time making someone else money? Cut out the commercialized internet from your life. Sink your time by learning something, keep your neck well above the irrelevant noise of social media, keep your eyes fixed on well written information from good journalists and experts in their fields, and suddenly the internet is beautiful and everything that everyone hoped for.
As for the corrupting influence I must disagree.
Many of these groups are concentrated in a handful of locales, e.g. Hollywood, D.C., Madison Avenue.
The issue with our currently large companies seems to have become that the goals of shareholders are not necessarily aligned with the goals of society.
And there needs to be a long conversation about that.
This is true, but I worry about the quality of the information and it’s longevity. We may yet lose a huge amount of information because we take it for granted that the internet will save it all, when it doesn’t. The term for this is “digital dark age”.
> If you wish to find the truth, you can.
I mean, aside from all the people learning lies. A lot of utter nonsense has found its home on the internet too.
> the problem is that ... Republican
I’m going to stop you there. While I might agree politically, philosophically this is a bad road. It tempts you to think that everything is fine if only you could defeat your political foe, which I just don’t think is true.
It never ceases to amaze me that people can say something like this with a straight face. As if "the Republican Party" exists in a vacuum, and that the Democratic Party is some bastion of widely held ideals. This is why some people, like me, consider Silicon Valley hopelessly out-of-touch.
Why is it that someone criticizing the Republican Party immediately makes you want to attack the Democratic party? It seems they are their own entity and can be criticized as such, no both-sides-ism needed.
Here, you have proven my point by creating yet another straw man. Ignoring that, you never established that they actually “did the same” thing, you just make the claim. I don’t remember seeing evidence of foreign bot farms supporting the Obama campaign on social media.
That said, maybe the comment was more about net neutrality, municipal wi-fi or expanded rural broadband. All actions to bring cheaper internet to more people that US Republicans have historically been against. You know, policies that actually impact the internet and it’s access/usage.
He is quite explicit and straightforward and is on the record about this.
If you don't acknowledge that Ailes set out to build a propaganda empire, you are already behind the 8 ball before we even start discussing the Internet.
It has free markets, great universities, rule of law,
safety, democracy, and most importantly an acceptance
of a certain kind of risk taking. This combination is
surprisingly hard to recreate.
If the is business in the category, you're liable to find it in the SV, even more likely to find it in the Chinese city.
This in an interesting take. My understanding is that SV caters to a very particular business: software. Sure that business is growing (eating the world), but Silicon Valley doesn't strike me as "all business friendly", especially when everyone is trying to grow at all costs, while the rest of the country (and world) operates on small, sustainable businesses.
It's obvious to identify the product of Silicon Valley companies because they generally are marketed globally. But it's really hard to convey what it's like to live and work here. Generally, it's nothing like you might imagine. The architecture is mundane, the weather is great, the traffic stifling. That can describe many places, so then you have to talk about housing costing more than anywhere in the world (at this scale), and $12,000 bottles of Cognac at Costco.
In the end, it's the people who live here. Generally well paid, disproportionately wealthy (but not nearly everyone), probably from another country, not here to show off what they have, but rather, what they can achieve.
I take issue with this. For most of my career I worked in a standard office building. False ceiling tiles, cubicles, rectangular concrete 'tilt and pour'. It served the job well. It was relatively quiet, comfortable, intimate and fostered my productivity.
Now I work in an architectural masterpiece of modern green engineering. It is loud, impersonal, distracting, and not at all conducive to actually getting work done. It's like the people who designed the building hated engineers and typical engineering personalities and set out to design a building to torture them.
Apple has a similar problem. Apple's senior vice-president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji refused to move his team into their new, piece of shit exercise in architectural masturbation.
Plus, personnel costs (especially in Silicon Valley) are a multiple of floor space, so I can't understand that argument either.
But then, so far, I've never had someone who calls the shots on the open office model go public on why they went for it. I mean the cynic in me thinks it's about cutting costs (but then why do they have developers in SV instead of outsourcing it?) or showing off (open offices look good on pictures / when the manager walks around in it).
"Will the majority of Silicon Valley's economic activity ever move to virtual locations?"
I.e., will over half of the meetings at Facebook, Google, etc, ever happen in a game world, with participants logging in with HMDs?
It's hard to make a conclusive prediction, but I have an extremely difficult time justifying a "NO" with even 51/49 odds. I would put the odds at least at 10/1 "YES" but again that's pure speculation.
The only real justification for a strong "NO" is something like "It has been tried before with other telecom tech and it didn't work" but we don't even had access gaze tracking yet, which science shows is crucial for language. We seem assured to have a blistering release of body tracking tech over the next 10 years, and the claim "none of it will change teleconferencing materially" seems impossible to justify.
The counterclaim, "teleconferencing will hit feature parity with in-person meeting for 90% of corporate interactions within 10 years" to me is very easy to entertain.
And if the counterclaim is true, what does that mean for Bay Area real estate? I can't justify a million dollar mortgage if there's even a 50/50 change of this outcome.
HMD teleconferencing vs. meetings in conference rooms seems like a classic disruptive technology situation. Right now HMDs are unacceptably poor in comparison. But they have key advantages the incumbent tech (in-person meetings) can never match: no commute, exponentially more and cheaper housing options, muting, easier and better access to data and visualization in the meeting space, faster transition between workstation and meeting, can include people on other continents, infinite meeting spaces available at all times, etc.
This seems to me the biggest looming change to Bay Area culture, period. I am surprised it's not more discussed.
Interesting way to round off the post!
The same is true for the Valley.
Another thoughtful read, from the other side: https://nplusonemag.com/issue-25/on-the-fringe/uncanny-valle...
"It's easy to say silicon valley is full of 'tech bros' if that's the cohort you surround yourself with"
Everyone hates tech bros, but I don't think tech bros know they're tech bros.
Is there some backstory missing here?
(General comment only, I haven't actually read the article yet).
Do people refer to the first decade of this century as "the two thousands"?
Since there was no 0 AD, we count decades from 1 - 10, not 0 - 9. yes that's stupid
We count centuries that way, because we say "1st century", "20th century", "21st century". (That is, "20th century AD".) Ordinal numbers, based on the year 1 AD.
Nobody says "178th decade", or "213th decade". Decades are cardinal numbers. Nobody starts "the decade" in the 1 year.
wow rude, I do. I think the 60s started 1961-01-01 and understand that people usually mean "the years that give a quotient of 196 when divided by 10".
I understand that we use ordinals to refer to centuries, also I understand how that's unrelated to which specific years are in a decade/century/millennium
fun fact the Australian constitution came into force on the 1st of January, 1901, aligning with the starting boundary of the 20th century.
> [I] understand that people usually mean "the years that give a quotient of 196 when divided by 10".
since I'm not a pedantic sicko that gets off on telling people they're wrong and lording my hugely advanced intellect over them, I use human words for genuine natural interactions.
Otherwise I greatly prefer “the early 2000s”. It’s not very precise, but it’s more precise than “the 2000’s” which can include the year 2999.
In the other language I speak fluently (Portuguese) there never was an abbreviation, it was always the full "one thousand nine hundred ninety" as opposed to "nineteen ninety". In that case "two thousand" is already an improvement, but for some reason it bothers me in English.
What contexts do you generally see it used in, out of curiosity?
I'm assuming it still appears in places besides revivals of "The Music Man"
I’ve only ever heard this pronounced thirty aught-six.