Silicon Valley: Lofty Talk, Plodding Walk

Tech capitalists talk a good game, but they're not changing the world

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 11, 2013 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – PayPal co-founder Max Levchin once told a tech conference that the key to American innovation was to "aim almost ridiculously high." Levchin went on to develop a photo-sharing service based on "SuperPoke! Pets," and a company that lets you buy things on Facebook. "Neither, it's fair to say, is exactly the moon shot of our age," quips James Temple at the San Francisco Chronicle. But that's endemic of today's Silicon Valley, which "loves to talk about innovation; it's just not as good as following through."

Innovation is a magic word in the Valley; "so long as semiconductors and coding are involved, people will staple it to anything from flying cars to the iFart app." These titans of industry act like humanity's saviors—and, annoyingly, as though they're held back by government, when in reality it's government that has the wherewithal to invest in long-term projects like supercolliders, deep space programs, and oh yeah, the Internet. Most tech capitalists are chiefly concerned with "getting people to click on ads or buy slightly better gadgets." Which is fine, "but maybe let's drop the pretense that we're curing cancer unless, you know, we're curing cancer." Click for Temple's full column.

Yeah, this isn't what's going on in Silicon Valley, no matter what the executives there tell you.
Yeah, this isn't what's going on in Silicon Valley, no matter what the executives there tell you.   (Shutterstock)
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