Silicon Valley: Lofty Talk, Plodding Walk
Tech capitalists talk a good game, but they're not changing the world
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 11, 2013 1:35 PM CDT
Yeah, this isn't what's going on in Silicon Valley, no matter what the executives there tell you.   (Shutterstock)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
jgarbuz
Mar 13, 2013 9:58 PM CDT
If we roughly measure "innovation" by the number of patents a company or inventor has been granted, then I believe IBM has the most of any company, over 70,000 patents which alone bring in over $1 billion annually in royalties and license fees.
jqpabc123
Mar 12, 2013 8:47 AM CDT
Ask any geek who is the most innovative company on the planet and they'll probably say Google. But the only really innovative thing Google has ever created is a search algorithm. Most of what they do is to adapt existing technology in order to collect personal information and sell advertising. Android for example is an adaptation of Linux. GMail is just mail --- it existed long before Google. Most of Google's attempts at real innovation has been spectacular failures. Google Wave for example. Next up in the long line of innovation failure at Google is Glass. Yes, that's right. It's an interesting techno-toy but noone wants to talk to someone with a camera mounted on their face. You heard it here first boys and girls. If an advertising company is the most innovative company on the planet, I feel sorry for the planet.
buckwheat
Mar 11, 2013 9:56 PM CDT
I have long thought that computers are a solution in search of a problem.