Random thoughts from my time in Silicon Valley
I have seen a lot of discussion lately, post the fall of SVB, about how Silicon Valley is as a place. Whether or not the people there deserves a bailout. How it’s a land of techbros and the ultra woke.
Well, I am in the fortunate position that I spent a decade and change working in Silicon Valley. I figured I would give some random thoughts I have on the place. Maybe it’ll give the congregation another way of thinking about it.
Or maybe not. Who knows. Fuck it.
First off, some of what is said is always going to have a semblance of truth to one degree or another. Plenty of tech bros. I have worked with them so I know. I worked with a guy once who would yell out loud in the conference room “Man, I gotta go to the bank” and then disappear for 2 hours. Found out he went to strip clubs and stuff during the day.
Plenty of “woke” people. Lot of people talking about shaman blessings, Monsanto hate, and a limited experience of outside the confines of the SJ/SV exchange.
But this is definitely not the whole story at all. This is just the part of the story they shove on TV to make an easy to digest soundbite.
I think of Silicon Valley as the Island of Misfit Toys. Those who have no where else to go, end up there.
I know that is how I ended up there. I had no where else to go in the world. And, I wanted to be at the frontier. For better or worse, Silicon Valley is the frontier of too many things. Its where the next pain in the ass app you have to deal with will come from. So, I went there.
But that in and of itself doesn’t bring techbros. What it brings is everything. There is a corner of the world for everyone. And they all kind of make it their own. Like I remember going to this fucking awesome Afghani food store just to buy good spices and shit. Or Little Moldova in the far east of the east bay.
That’s another thing about the place. It sort of feels like the first place that gets built after the zombie apocalypse. Like you have this image in your head of like Apple’s HQ and you think that is what its going to be like. That is most definitely NOT what it is going to be like.
Its an amalgamation of the most high tech building you have ever seen built right next to the fucking shittiest, 60’s era California strip mall with half the Spanish tile missing.
You know what silicon valley actually is? It’s places like this:
That joint is a German-style cafeteria. Has something stupid like 200 types of beer. Fucking awesome just roasts, potatoes and shit.
Was there before they even stamped the first semiconductor out there. Will be there long after the fall of SVB.
And that’s sort of what I am getting at. It’s a place like any other place. Living there is to see the birth, life, and death of a thousand ideas. Ideas that make places that give people a paycheck. Then those die, and those people have to hunt again.
I don’t feel bad for the tech infrastructure getting all fucked up because of this. I feel bad for the people. People who are just trying to do their goddamn jobs and go home at the end of the day. They aren’t chilling at cougar night (also not woke). They are living in a place they love.
Truthfully, part of me will always stay in Silicon Valley. There are parts I miss. There are plenty of parts I don’t (see the aforementioned).
I guess all that to say, don’t paint the area with broad strokes. It’s all just people. Some are assholes, and some aren’t.
No different than everywhere else. Cut them some slack. And then fix how shitty Silicon Valley innovations have made the world. But more on that another day.