Saturday, June 08, 2013

Silicon Valley is awesome (but it isn't the answer to every problem)

I love Silicon Valley.

It's a phenomenal place that I've chosen to make my personal and professional home.

It's brought me success (whatever that is) and happiness.

But I understand its limitations, and don't have a problem talking about them.

It is an echo chamber, whose brainstorms don't always "take" elsewhere.  Just ask all those Formspring investors.

It is a homogenous place, with a vast group of people who read the same things, go to the same events, and make the same points.

It embraces failure more than most places (which may be the main reason for its dynamism) but still engages in a relentless boosterism that makes enterpreneurs who haven't gotten rich feel inadequate.

And another of those limitations is our belief that the Silicon Valley way is superior, and can solve any problem.

In my opinion, we often fall prey to the "man who has a hammer" syndrome. Changing economy? Everyone should learn to code. Schools are failing? MOOCs to the rescue!

Think of Silicon Valley's great success stories, like Apple and Google. We excel at technology and information. We don't do so well at people (anyone want to argue that Facebook has been good for our relationships?).

As an entrepreneur, you have the power to solve problems and change the world.  But choose your problems wisely, because not every problem is a nail.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

IBM is a better success story of Silicon Valley.