Essay on the fall of silicon valley

Here’s a quick take on the “fall of silicon valley”

The digest follows:

  • I remember the fall of Silicon Valley.
  • People still live in Rome long after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and people continue to live and work in Silicon Valley.
  • The spirit of innovation is gone.
  • And I saw it get oppressed, and pushed underground, and it eventually left.
  • The next Silicon Valley will not look like the last.
  • I am writing this because I am fascinated by the process of innovation.
  • I believe that one day there will be a mathematical theory of innovation.
  • Similar to how Frederick Taylor developed a theory of work, later improved upon by Peter Drucker, and Claude Shannon developed a theory of communication, both previously seen as irreducible processes, there will one day be a science of innovation itself that will continue to get better over time.
  • I expect historians will record the death of Silicon Valley in the year 2012.
  • Steve Jobs hated oppression.
  • He loved using design and technology to free people from it.
  • The point was to be busy all the time.
  • To teach them better ways to grow and preserve food?
  • To make them write software.
  • Why not make products for people?
  • People that do not live in Silicon Valley?
  • Unlike Rome, which built magnificent structures to last thousands of years, Silicon Valley has nothing left to look at.
  • Silicon Valley fell partially because unlike its early days, it began pushing terrible working and living cultures and useless, irrelevant, at times harmful products on the rest of the world.
  • And people gradually began to see the truth.
  • The first lie was that you had to live in Silicon Valley to be innovative.
  • The truth is, innovation is everywhere.
  • Innovation is within you.
  • Silicon Valley does not have a monopoly on innovation and never did.
  • The second lie was that all innovation had to look a certain way.
  • Everybody knew innovation was a Delaware C Corporation based in Silicon Valley that sold software, raised Venture Capital, went viral, grew like a cancer, became a unicorn, rented lavish creative office spaces, and got acquired by an advertising company.
  • The truth is, innovation comes in all forms, shapes and sizes.
  • One can be innovative in science.
  • One can be innovative in business.
  • One can be innovative in storytelling.
  • There is innovation in politics and churches and nonprofits and homes and families and communities.
  • The truth is, no company grows quickly, linearly, and continually.
  • If you are focused on innovation, the company will cycle upwards.
  • The third and final lie, was that Silicon Valley was a great place to start and run a business.
  • Silicon Valley is one of the most hostile, expensive, oppressive places to run a business in the world.
  • Let us take a moment to better define innovation.
  • Innovation is the process of taking a thing, or a collection of things, and making it better.
  • Ask if it is truly better.
  • Innovation takes something that people use and improves upon it.
  • Innovation comes from someone pure in heart.
  • Innovation stands the test of time.
  • For example, Facebook is not an innovation.
  • Facebook did not make socializing better.
  • Yes. Does it make money?
  • Yes. But it is not innovative.
  • Yes Amazon (which is not based in Silicon Valley) made online shopping better.
  • True innovation, like the silicon chip itself, stands the test of time.
  • Tesla (which is leaving California) took the electric car, and made it better.
  • That was innovative.
  • The electric car itself was an innovation, an improvement in many ways over a gasoline powered car, which was itself better in many ways than riding a horse, which, if you are traveling a long distance, sure beats walking.
  • Most importantly, Tesla continues to innovate.
  • If we continue to innovate in this path, we will one day have flying cars.
  • Next let us consider the culture of Silicon Valley.
  • Silicon Valley has pushed long hours, long commutes, short if any vacations, transactional relationships, rampant materialism, and short-sighted, selfish, even at times downright dishonest behavior and reduces human beings and their desires and relationships to numbers.
  • Most people in the world do not want to live like this.
  • Silicon Valley largely began when one very innovative, very controversial figure, Willian Shockley, left Bell Labs, a hub of true innovation, because he wanted more credit for his work on the solid state transistor.