Systemic Arrogance has Become Part of Silicon Valley’s Newer Public Narrative

Silicon Valley’s image … suffered briefly after the 1990s bubble, which was created by an unholy collaboration among founders, venture capitalists and investment bankers, inevitably deflated and left countless retail investors, among others, holding the bag. The negative image didn’t last long as a new generation of tech giants emerged. For the last decade or more, until quite recently, the public love affair with Silicon Valley blossomed again, encouraged by the West Coast’s journalist-courtesans. That’s all changing as people consider what the tech culture has wrought on our society in less positive ways… The public isn’t thrilled, either, at being considered lab rats in Web giants’ experiments… the Internet industry’s essential business model—advertising-driven spying on us in ever-more pervasive ways. Eyes rolled as … ballot initiative for a vote on whether California should split into six states, one of which would be a Silicon Valley that would jettison its poorer neighbors like so much flotsam.
Is Silicon Valley the New Wall Street?

The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries. After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents. The documents show that Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen was reluctant to go along until Jobs threatened to poach Adobe engineers…
64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit …

See also:
~ Google Buses Fuel Inequality Debate as Boom Inflates Rents
~ San Francisco as a Capital of the “Left Coast” of America
~ Zuckerberg Bought 4 Pieces of His Privacy …
~ Silicon Valley “War on Women”
~ Silicon Valley as a “black hole”

Average Company Age of 11 at the Time of IPO

Since 2001, companies have had an average age of 11 at the time of their U.S. IPOs, compared with 5 at the peak of the dot-com bubble in 1999-2000 and 7 to 9 in the previous two decades… Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen sees all of this as a sign of trouble… In Andreessen’s opinion, overregulation is largely to blame. CEOs of startups are choosing to stay private to avoid having to comply with Regulation FD, issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, both of which helped new disclosure requirements on public companies, he said.
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Investing is Very Psychological

… As Warren Buffett has said: “Investing is simple, but not easy.” Jim Breyer is saying that what is not “easy” is investor psychology…

“We will have many booms and busts forever in Silicon Valley.” All markets are cyclical. Venture capital is more cyclical than other markets, not less. … One can at best hope to make general forecasts about the probability of a shift in the business cycle, which can help with investing.

“We like to think that we will make a mistake only once and learn from it. We also are humbled every day by a new mistake.” … The natural human tendency is to gloss mistakes over with psychological denial. By celebrating rather than burying mistakes, you learn faster.

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Jim Breyer By Tren Griffin

What Silicon Valley refuses to learn from Steve Jobs

Lesson #1 — Creating great products requires patience … In an era when most follow the lean doctrine of releasing a product early, and letting the market dictate product direction, Steve spent time refining the product internally until he felt it was ready to release. That requires time that most companies don’t want, or can’t afford to invest. Steve’s approach took vision—and yes, arrogance— to think he knew better than others, plus the willingness to look beyond the horizon and envision products that customers did not know they needed yet. Lesson #2 —  Think big… For every Elon Musk who makes tackling three big, crazy ideas before breakfast seem easy, there are thousands of others who come to the valley to launch any project that an investor will put money into, worthwhile or not. Steve dared to shake things up, and thinking small was not part of his character. Lesson #3 — Focus on your strengths… Many admire how successfully Steve cut projects and saved Apple when he returned as interim CEO in 1997… Yet, we still see companies squander energy and resources in too many directions…  Lesson #4 — Think different… Steve would tell you that listening to others is the route to mediocrity. You can’t “think different” when you’re taking your lead from the same people as everyone else. Lesson #5 — Technology by itself is not enough… As Steve said at the iPad 2 launch in March of 2011, “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology, married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

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Things Investors Say When Really What They Mean is, “No”

  • “have you considered joining an accelerator?”
  • “Who else is in your round?”
  • “Let me talk with the MP’s at our next partner meeting and get back to you.”
  • “We’re at the tail end of our current fund, which we’re using for follow-on investments, but we’ll be looking at new investments with our next fund.”
  • “I’m a fan of what you’re doing, I just don’t know anything about the space, so I couldn’t bring any value to you.”
  • “We like to follow a lead. Let me know when you’re about to close your round.”
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