I am presently in the midst of a three week excursion in Detroit. A city of good people, chronic poverty, violence, rampant political corruption, wretched schools, comforting food, and wonderful music. Silicon Valley is borderline inconsequential here.
Facebook matters, of course. Android matters, even if the folks here don’t consciously acknowledge it. Google is relevant, somewhat. Otherwise, as far as Detroit’s concerned, what happens in Silicon Valley apparently stays in Silicon Valley — or worse, bypasses the people of this city without so much as a fleeting acknowledgment of its existence.
Detroit is swelling with ruin porn, feral dogs, empty lots and hope. There are children in the streets, playing, and pensioners on the porch, waiting. I feel obligated to prod the creators of technology and disruption to understand the needs of Detroiters — and the many others just like them. It’s a core reason why I write.
Tell people working two jobs, both that pay no better than $14.50 an hour, about the smartphone wars, the cloud, funding rounds, firing rounds, San Francisco rents and companies that are so flush with cash they even pay for their employee’s food — in addition to the six-figure salaries — and you are met with blank stares.
That is, until I explained Silicon Valley in terms of Breaking Bad. That got their attention.
Larry Page — representing Google — is the danger. Google bots, servers, drones, balloons, Glass, all watching us, selling us. Despite their intent, I suspect Page and his company will ultimately be consumed by their own insatiable desires, a blindness to know when enough is too much.
Equal parts vicious and obsequious. Utterly useless — except for that one thing, and even then only when absolutely necessary. It’s funny how he always pretends its about everything but what it’s really all about: cheap, dirty money. No doubt blogger’s parents still believe he can do far better with his life.
Brilliant or foolish? Earned her success or mostly just lucky? Under-estimated because she is a woman — or over-estimated because of it? I still do not know, though I suspect we will all have our answer, very soon.
After everything, after all these years, it’s come to this. Skype’s value, like Hector’s, rests solely with how it might kill off someone or something that’s newer, better, and must not be allowed to survive.