Tag: silicon valley

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. San Francisco Unleashes Destructive Creation on Silicon Valley

 

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, speaks about the deployment of 5G wireless technology during the TechCrunch Disrupt forum in San Francisco.
Politicians kvetch a lot about Big Tech, but government officials everywhere would love their country, state, or city to have its own Silicon Valley. Alas, there’s no magic formula, no blueprint for top-down constructing a fertile ecosystem of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. As economist Enrico Moretti has noted, “If you look at the history of America’s great innovation hubs, we haven’t found one that was directly, explicitly engineered by an explicit policy on the part of the government.”

That’s just not how it seems to work in America. It’s more of an organic, idiosyncratic, indirect thing. As University of Washington historian Margaret O’Mara, author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,” told me in a recent podcast, the story of Silicon Valley isn’t “a story of big government coming in with giant research labs and command-and-control” although Washington certainly played a critical role.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How the Nerds Took Revenge

 

We were all once nerds, or cool kids, jocks, bullies, dorks, AV cart-pushers, theater geeks, motorheads, preppies, break dancers, valley girls, wastoids, heshers, skaters, surfers, outcasts, and teacher’s pets. Microchip technology was nascent as we learned the term “hacker” from Matthew Broderick changing his grades via modem, while Anthony Michael Hall demonstrated how hyperactive geeks could end up with the Homecoming Queen.

We delighted in watching nerds take revenge. After all, those narcissistic jocks deserved it, which became an oft-repeated trope in many films of the 1980s. The smartest, but most socially awkward would exact vengeance on anyone who previously shunned them, both men and women. While comedic in tone and extremely satisfying to watch at the time, there’s no doubt that said retribution has since morphed into something darker; the entitled psyche of yesterday’s and today’s disenfranchised.

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In an episode of multiple firsts, Jack strikes out on his own to interview Matthew Hennessey, the deputy op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal, author of Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials, and, at 44, a decidedly un-young American. They discuss whether Millennials or Baby Boomers […]

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Matthew Hennessey joins City Journal managing editor Paul Beston to discuss Matthew’s new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. More than a decade after the introduction of social media, it’s evident that Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture has more drawbacks—from violations of privacy to deteriorating attention spans—than many of us first realized. For many […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, the Administrative State, Free Speech, and Silicon Valley Regulation

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had legendary classical liberal legal theorist and longtime professor at University of Chicago Law School and now at NYU Law — and prodigious Ricochet podcaster Professor Richard Epstein on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The role that Professor Epstein’s famous book, “Takings” played in Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing — and then-Senator Joe Biden’s hectoring
  • Professor Epstein’s groundbreaking theories on private property rights, eminent domain and the Takings and Commerce Clauses
  • The practical argument against progressivism
  • Whether we should deconstruct the administrative state, and if so how to do it
  • The danger to free speech emanating from college campuses in a world of microaggressions, trigger warnings, de-platforming
  • The folly of regulating Silicon Valley social media companies
  • Classical liberalism versus socialism and libertarianism

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found or download the episode directly here.

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Joel Kotkin joins Brian Anderson to discuss California’s economic performance since the Great Recession, the state’s worsening housing crunch, and the impending departure of Governor Jerry Brown, who will leave office in January. After serving four terms (nonconsecutively) since the late 1970s, Brown is one of the longest-serving governors in American history. While California has seen tremendous growth during Brown’s tenure, the state has big problems: people are […]

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Even New York Magazine finds an acorn now and then. And this interview with Silicon Valley lifer Jaron Lanier on the social failings of the Internet generally and Social Media in particular is one such. It’s a true Read The Whole Thing. I’ve had a nodding acquaintance with Lanier for three decades, encountering him at […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can Government Cook Up Another Silicon Valley?

 
Apple campus, Cupertino, CA. | Shutterstock.com

Silicon Valley doesn’t seem too popular these days in Washington. Yet government planners in just about every place that has a government would love to replicate Silicon Valley. Since 2011, California has grown twice as fast as the rest of the nation, helped by white-hot 6% annual growth in the San Jose area — home to the actual Silicon Valley, according to JPMorgan. But what’s the secret sauce? What’s the right recipe? No one seems to know, exactly. But policymakers seem to have settled on what economist Ian Hathaway calls the More of Everything theory (which I would like to believe is a Seinfeld reference). It works like this, Hathaway explains in a blog post:

More of Everything thinking goes something like this: if we just get more of everything, we can create a vibrant startup community . . . more capital, more innovation centers, more accelerators, more incubators, more university programs, more startup events . . . more, more, more. It follows linear systems thinking whereby an increase in critical inputs (resources like capital and talent) results in an increase in desired outputs (startups, value creation), and by how much.

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I don’t know how many of you watch the HBO series “Silicon Valley,” but they did a nice job in last week’s episode targeting the bigotry of the mostly progressive tech sector. Pied Piper, the company at the center of the show’s narrative, was assembling a collection of partner companies who would participate in the […]

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T.S. Eliot deemed April “the cruelest month,” but for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg it’s been March with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that’s cast doubt on the fabled “social network.” Niall Ferguson, the Hoover Institution’s Milbank Family Senior Fellow and a frequent author on technology and Silicon Valley’s prominence, examines the perils of “hyperconnection.” Has […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Californication of America

 
Representative Tim Ryan, back left in tie, organized a bus tour through the Midwest with about a dozen venture capitalists. (via New York Times)

For cancer to survive, once it kills its host it must move on to another healthy body. Forty years of leftist rule ruined the once “Golden State.” You can’t walk through San Francisco without side-stepping human excrement or drive through Los Angeles without navigating countless miles of homeless camps. Meanwhile, California housing costs are unattainable by most everyone.

Now even the enlightened ones can’t cope with the expense and traffic they themselves created so they plan on moving elsewhere. Never learning the lessons of their failures they will, of course, bring along their bankrupt progressive values to rinse and repeat. Watch out Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — they’re coming.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is the Golden Age of Startups Over?

 

The early part of the 2000s will be remembered for at least two economic events, one terrible, the other pretty great: the Global Financial Crisis and the Age of the Unicorns. We are almost a decade past the first one. And the second one? Well, we may be at its end, at least according to TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans:

The web boom of ~1997-2006 brought us Amazon, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Airbnb, etc., because the internet was the new new thing, and a handful of kids in garages and dorm rooms could build a web site, raise a few million dollars, and scale to serve the whole world. The smartphone boom of ~2007-2016 brought us Uber, Lyft, Snap, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc., because the same was true of smartphone apps.

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A recent article in the Palo Alto Weekly, An island of conservatives in a sea of liberals, covers the new conservative club at Palo Alto High School. That’s my son, Gregor, on the far right of the photo. He’s also quoted in the article. More

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Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat from Silicon Valley and vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, discusses the feasibility of re-creating the technology economy in other parts of the United States. Is there room for working with the Trump administration, or are his fellow Democrats preoccupied by Russia and impeachment talk? More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Technology + Comedy = Machiavelli

 

In my other haunt, over at The Federalist, I’ve been writing about “Silicon Valley,” the laughingest comedy on TV. I’m talking about Mike Judge, the creator of “Silicon Valley,” and Peter Thiel, the mysterious prophet-billionaire. Well, I’ve got more things to say! I’m moving here from writing on spectacles in the direction of political philosophy–to put some suggestions to that secret teaching I have made into my title.

Everyone knows, the biggest new enterprises are in Silicon Valley. The names of America’s founder-CEOs, princes of our technological future, are household names. But who are these people? Almost nobody knows, although we all vaguely expect that, if there’s any future, that’s where it is going to be made. Views of the future abound at the movies, on TV, and in books, and they are almost always depressive, if not apocalyptic. How about the people by whom the future is supposed to come? Who will give us a good look at them? There’s hardly anything to mention on that subject, let alone something worth mentioning. There’s no Tom Wolfe novel about Silicon Valley.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. America’s Worst Economic Problem Might Be Getting Better

 

The American Growth Machine is badly malfunctioning, at least as diagnosed by official government statistics. US productivity growth — the engine of long-term economic growth — has averaged just 0.5% since 2010 vs. 2.3% over the previous six decades. Productivity growth in 2016 fell to 0.2%, notes IHS Markit, the ninth weakest reading in the postwar era. (And that’s post World War II, not post-Iraq War.) Moreover, when stalled productivity growth meets slowing labor force growth, you get an economy capable only of uninspiring 1-2% growth at best. And growth that slow, especially when combined with greater income inequality, may feel like no growth at all to most Americans. The Great Stagnation.

All terrible news, unless of course the official numbers are wrong. Some economists think current statistical methods badly understate the value of new products, especially in the tech economy, and miss welfare gains from free goods like Facebook and Wikipedia. If they are right, overall economic growth and living standards are growing faster than we think. Then again, some economists think the official numbers are capturing a real downshift. The technopessimists argue today’s innovations aren’t as transformative as past ones. Combustion engine beats smartphone.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Silicon Valley, Economists Worried that Robots Will Cause Mass Unemployment

 

It’s my experience that technologists — at least of the entrepreneurial persuasion — are generally a bit more aggressive than economists with forecasts of rapid tech advancement as well as the potential disruption to labor markets. But maybe the economists are starting to come around to the Silicon Valley view. This from the Bank of England blog:

There is growing concern in the global tech community that developed economies are poorly prepared for the next industrial revolution. That might herald the displacement of millions of predominantly lesser-skilled jobs, the failure of many longstanding businesses which are slow to adapt, a large increase in income inequality in society, and growing industrial concentration associated with the rapid growth of a relatively small number of multi-national technology corporations.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Uber Shrugged: Company Flees California for Red State to Test New Tech

 
Gov. Doug Ducey welcomes Uber’s self-driving fleet to Arizona, Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo source.)

Silicon Valley is known as the home of tech innovation, so it’s no surprise Uber chose San Francisco as the test site for their ride-sharing app in 2011. But now that Uber’s successful, the once Golden State wants to tangle their future research in red tape.

Uber began testing a fleet of 16 self-driving Volvo SUVs in San Francisco on December 14. A week later, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked all 16 registrations, insisting that a special permit was required and that Uber must publicly report statistics from their R&D program. Not wanting to invest millions in research to benefit their competitors, the company sought a state that celebrates entrepreneurship.

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Tomorrow, when the titans of tech meet with President-elect Trump in New York City, I hope they will talk about how to transform the US federal government to a new operating model, something I call “government-as-a-service.” In the past 15 years, the most disruptive business innovation out of Silicon Valley (and Seattle) has been the […]

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