I subscribe to Anthony Pompliano’s list. So far I’m not getting much out of it. But I’ll keep listening.
Today he sent this out:
We Need More Software Engineering And Less Financial Engineering
It’s pretty much just another piece by a hopelessly hopeful Silicon Valley dude. Yet another rich guy who thinks he knows whazzup, probably because he’s rich.
I wrote to him in dissent.
Here’s what I wrote:
I’m sorry to write that this piece falls short of even a dream.
– Today’s Silicon Valley culture (engineers, biz dev, finance, marketing) will never do what’s right or what’s best.
– Invisible’s (clerks, delivery people, service workers — those hurting the most) have been appropriated by the machine.
Silicon Valley culture fits into 4 groups:
1. They aren’t from this country. So they don’t care about our values. They drive our cars, eat our food. But they don’t tip well. In reality, they could care less about us. They’re here to make money.
2. They come from wealthy families. Wealthy families don’t teach their children to care about those lower on the ladder – “not our kind, dear”. Relatives from generations before them fought for no taxes and no regulation. Those with less just need to tough it out. Jane Mayer lays out their ideology in her book, Dark Money.
3. Overachievers = not from wealthy families. Most of them don’t care about those with less. Because they weren’t taught to, or, what they were taught is bullshit (religion). Religions talk about helping the poor. But in reality, they’ve got their feet on their necks. Katherine Stewart writes about what today’s religious groups are about in her two books, The Power Worshippers and The Good News Club.
4. That leaves the few, whose parents live by what Dr. King was about. They listened to Roger Waters’ and Neil Young’s lyrics – not just the music. Their parents taught them what matters most is being a good person.
While they genuinely care and have feelings, about half of them are starry eyed from all the Tesla’s and wealth. Once they hit it big then they’ll donate some of their money or do something “good”, what Anand Giridharadas writes about in Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. But first, they gotta hit it big. Helping others will have to wait.
That leaves…a few. But here’s the problem. There’s no money in helping those with the least. VC’s won’t fund it. So where will they get the money to cover all the costs of doing something that actually benefits our society???
Nowhere. So nothing happens.
They’re well intended blokes, for sure. Good people. They tip at least 20%. But in the end, they got sucked into the machine. Besides. Maybe the Google campus isn’t so bad after all? The food is free, naps are encouraged.
What you’re missing from Taibbi’s and Pearlstein’s pieces is that until people like you start putting your necks on the line and speaking truth to power, expect more of the same. But you won’t do that. Either because you’re afraid, you don’t get it, you don’t believe, or there’s no money in it.
You and Chamath (full disclosure: we own stock) can go on and on, that we’ll somehow innovate our way to a better world where the Invisible have a good life. But if today’s Silicon Valley plays a part, it’s all fantasy.
Nothing will change until the Invisible start making their way into the streets, holding signs and pitchforks. Nothing will change until they stop serving the rich – picking them up, delivering their food and Amazon stuff, stop doing their gardening, shuttling them back and forth from the ski slopes, etc. Nothing will change until they start voting in every election.
I always thought that once things got bad, they’d rally. Not so much. So far the only rally is on Wall Street. There’s no signs that people will fight back. Fuck. Here’s to hoping they do. They see that the machine has ‘em by the short hairs, has turned their brains into mush.
peace and love,
Leave a Reply