Monday, May 27, 2013

A Qualified Defense of Silicon Valley Boosterism

Yes, the people who go to TED talks are kind of douchey and overly self-important.
But what's the alternative?Financial innovation? Defense contracting? Pharmaceuticals?
Say what you want about the West Coast techno-utopians , but the primary economic sectors of the East Coast upper middle class are finance, government, pharmaceuticals, and defense contracting. It's not like these lines of business have covered themselves in glory over the past decade.

As Mr. Klein points out, the successful companies in Silicon Valley are primarily solving the needs of businesses. Some of those needs are somewhat shallow and may prove ephemeral -- it's still not clear to me that all this hyper accurate social media marketing will actually produce greater ROI for advertisers -- but many of these startups have very workaday goals around storage, CRM, survey design, or other fairly basic business needs. Meanwhile, the graveyards of venture capital firms are full of "disruptive", "game-changing" startups that couldn't figure out how to marry their ill-conceived vision with either a path from the status quo to their desired future, a sustainable business model, or both.

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