One of the constant refrains of the economic elite is that the reason America is so unequal is because of a so-called skills gap and that, conveniently, there is a “STEM crisis” and severe tech worker shortage which when addressed will help even the economy out.
|By: DSWright Tuesday November 18, 2014 12:35 pm|
Uber, one of Silicon Valley’s most malevolent creations, is getting some seriously bad PR after one of its executives claimed the company was interested in smearing journalists. The Uber executive, Emil Michael, apparently told Ben Smith of BuzzFeed in what he thought was an “off the record” meeting that he was interested in paying opposition researchers to destroy Uber’s critics in the media. Smith was invited to the event with Michael by journalist Michael Wolff who neglected to tell Smith it was an off the record meeting. Emil Michael even specified who he had a particular interest in destroying – Pando Daily Editor-in-Chief Sarah Lacy.
|By: DSWright Friday October 24, 2014 3:50 pm|
Though Silicon Valley and the tech industry is generally known as being more liberal than other economic sectors it is worth noting that it too has its share of plutocrat reactionaries. Though venture capitalist Tom Perkins became the face of the faction with his comparison of Occupy Wall Street to Nazis, a more relevant example would be Mark Andreessen who not only stands out as opposing measures to rein in wealth equality but has trumpeted his support for domestic surveillance programs.
|By: DSWright Friday October 17, 2014 1:31 pm|
At the very least it is time for Americans to stop idealizing Silicon Valley as made up of dreamers and rebels and understand that the technology sector is pursuing its economic interests – which are considerable – in much the same way other major industries are. Given that reality, the same kind of skepticism should be applied to their motives and regulations applied to their activities as other parts of the corporate sector.
|By: DSWright Thursday October 16, 2014 12:55 pm|
Silicon Valley’s image to the outside world is that most American of conceits – a meritocracy where people are rewarded for what they know not who they know. The meritocracy myth has taken a series of hits lately as major firms have disclosed that the companies are overwhelmingly owned and operated by white men with privileged backgrounds.
|By: Phoenix Woman Saturday March 29, 2014 6:45 am|
As a sixtysomething tech worker once told me, tech companies want a 20-10-10: A twenty-year-old with ten years experience who’ll work for $10 an hour. Since those sort of workers are rather thin on the ground, Silicon Valley resorts to massive abuse of H-1B visas — that is, when they aren’t busy setting up factories in Bangalore or Chengdu.
|By: DSWright Monday January 20, 2014 10:06 am|
Silicon Valley likes to present itself as some hub of boot strapping entrepreneurs, nothing could be further from the truth. The entire economy is built on government subsidies and protection. As Steve Blank notes in his famous presentation The Secret History of Silicon Valley the place would not even exist without the Department of Defense which, in partnership with former World War II intelligence workers at Stanford University, provided the capital and infrastructure for high tech economy. That support continues to this day both from the Pentagon, the National Science Foundation, and also a number of other government funders.
|By: DSWright Tuesday November 26, 2013 9:47 am|
One of the open questions regarding internet companies like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook concerning the now revealed NSA spying program is how in the dark were they? No one is really buying their protestations of total innocence but there does seem to be some possibility that they were not completely aware of all the NSA was doing to vacuum up their users’ data.
That possibility is due to the nature of the internet and subsequent possibility that, in some cases, the NSA bypassed Silicon Valley and hacked into data cables.
|By: danps Saturday August 10, 2013 10:30 am|
About two and a half years ago I posted on the danger of the US turning into a tech pariah over its data collection policies. At the time I thought the main sticking points would be foreign governments’ concerns about their own confidential data being sent abroad, and objections to privacy violations that American companies’ indiscriminate collection practices (e.g. Google Street View) would subject their citizens to.
I was wrong about that issue being a simmering pot getting ready to boil. It just sort of stayed on the back burner.
|By: DSWright Friday May 31, 2013 2:10 pm|
Successful entrepreneur and South African immigrant Elon Musk disclosed that he left Mark Zuckerberg’s political advocacy group FWD.us out of disgust with the organization’s cynical political tactics.