Silicon Valley’s View of the World

As I have written about previously, California is another world. Endlessly fascinating, endlessly changing. It is also becoming the power centre of our current world. New York, London, Los Angeles, sure. But think Silicon Valley, a place so powerful that it has turned San Francisco into its “bedroom community”, according to Rebecca Solnit and others. (I suspect that if you live there, this is so not news.) Why has Qantas started direct flights to San Francisco from Sydney? Easy to answer, that.

Still not convinced? What’s the most valuable company in the world, by market capitalisation? Apple. Also in the top five: Google and Microsoft. Microsoft? I hear you say, isn’t that so last century? Apparently not.

In the November 2015 issue of “The Atlantic”, the “View from the Valley” column reported on a survey of 101 technology leaders. Go to the article for all the results, but here are some highlights:

Who would the tech leaders vote for?
– Hillary Clinton, 43%
– Bernie Sanders, 11%
– Jeb Bush, 5%
– Lawrence Lessig, 2%
– Marco Rubio, 2%
– Martin O’Malley, 2%
– Warren Buffet, 2%
– “Anyone but Trump”, 5%
– Undecided, 28%

Which TV show or movie of the past decade best captured the culture of Silicon Valley?
– HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, 37%
– “The Social Network”, 12%
– “Game of Thrones”, 7%
(This was before the release of the current “Steve Jobs” film.  My review to come next week.)

In 20 years, which of the following companies will still be in business?
– Apple, 95%
– Google, 94%
– Amazon, 91%
– Facebook, 75%
– Microsoft, 71%
– IBM, 54%
– Uber, 52%
– LinkedIn, 48%
– PayPal, 39%
– eBay, 29%
– Twitter, 23%
– Yahoo, 16%

(My comment: the ephemeral nature of the tech industry is a wonder to behold. And these hard insights are a real lesson to those of us who think that what we see now will be there in the future. Isn’t Yahoo about to disappear – despite the fact that it still has one of the biggest media audiences in the world?)

Could the Sony hack happen to your company?
– Yes, 74%
– No, 24%
Comment by Dev Ittycheria, President and CEO of MongoDB: “Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.”

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