Silicon Valley elite in the cross hairs of inequality debate
Perkins interview added more evidence to argument that Silicon Valley is out of touch
Most of these articles originate in East Coast-based online and print publications, some with close ties to Wall Street, which, I’d argue, has a lot more to answer for than a handful of silly tech chiefs.
After all, if one wants to compile a working list of arrogant company executives, the names that quickly spring to mind are outside the technology sector (by contrast, how many have heard of Greg Gopman?).
And if one is looking for a specific area of real estate that most represents arrogance, Wall Street has greater claim than the bland tracts of technology offices around San Jose and San Francisco.
That said, there are real tensions, especially in San Francisco.
But there is also genuine excitement and reinvigoration, thanks to the same tech sector.
In a recent piece for Salon.com, Andrew Leonard says: “The rise of the sharing economy and the brazen pugnacity of Silicon Valley explain both Nasdaq’s current frothiness and the class anxieties the New York Times has finally caught up to.”
It’s notable that much of the harshest criticism on Twitter as Perkins’s Bloomberg interview ran came from well-known Valley entrepreneurs and chief executives.
It’s not like they are a voting bloc for the One Per Cent.
Maybe this is all mostly local and regional US politics. We haven’t had the same kind of tension play out here.
In part, that’s probably because both the young and the established companies in the tech sector in Ireland, whether indigenous or multinational, are seen to have come in and created jobs, refreshed run-down neighbourhoods and bolstered economically hurting towns.
Most of the tech tension here is actually internal and under the radar, between indigenous and multinational companies – or rather, the way in which those two segments are treated by the Government.
One benefits from inducements, supportive tax structures and an IDA love-in – even small Valley start-ups that might be looking to set up here.
The same benefits are not accorded if you are “only” an Irish company, founded in this country and also creating jobs and value for the Irish economy.
I suspect that is going to become more of a battleground as the economy strengthens, the tech sector here continues to grow, and indigenous tech start-ups wonder why too often, they are treated like second-class citizens in their own country.