On Silicon Valley & Politics

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Google buses, in-office health care, lobbying Congress, immense wealth, changing the world. These are all facets of Silicon Valley today.

New Yorker staff writer George Packer (who is from Palo Alto) talks about the world of Silicon Valley in a new article – what it used to be (houses only cost $125,000; parking lots were full of Datsuns and Chevy Novas), what its become (the average Palo Alto house sells for more than two million, Audis and Lexuses are parked everywhere) what it wants to be (a political force better than government could ever be, operating under a Facebook motto, “move fast and breaks things”), how its perceived (a world full of rich, arrogant, ignorant, removed entrepreneurs) and where its headed (still remains to be seen).

It’s a really interesting take on how tech companies are crossing over into politics – as currently, many are by lobbying for immigration reform – and thoughts about if they can really spark the change they believe they can with the way they currently operate.

The bottom line seems to be that Silicon Valley might be in need of a healthy dose of reality. Packer writes: “Like industries that preceded it, Silicon Valley is not a philosophy, a revolution, or a cause. It’s a group of powerful corporations and wealthy individuals with their own well-guarded interests.” So it does them good to leave their ivory tower campuses in Palo Alto and Cupertino, get out there and engage politically. But only time will tell just how effectively they’ll be able to break things.

Read the article here if you’re a subscriber. If not, get out there and pick up a copy of The New Yorker. Like, a real magazine that you can hold in your hands. But it’s idealistic of me to think that you might actually do that. So check out a blog post Packer wrote after his story came out to find out a bit more: A Reply from Silicon Valley

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