Waking up from the Valley's Dreams

I’ve spent way too much time thinking about what is now known as “The Valley”. The particular geological depression depends on the context, but in the internet, technology rah-rah-rah context, it of course means Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, or more correctly, what actually comes out of the greater San Francisco area, is as one would read it, a magical fairy land full of free money for wacky ideas and eager beaver smart kids fresh out of school ready to disrupt and innovate their little faces into the future. You get your series this and series that of money from a flashy guy just like Michael Cera did and then you of course “change the game”.

The truth is as always more insidious and the percent chance that your startup is going to strike gold is basically as good as you winning the lottery. Of all places, this was greatly illustrated in a recent article in Wired, where the brutal reality of capitalism at its most Randian extreme and the withering in front of teary eyes of what isn’t just the Valley’s Dream, but what is actually a more metastasised version of the American Dream. That dream where you essentially hit the technology lottery through half baked ideas, life breaking hard work and schmoozing.

All of this is about stories really. Any tech journal and about 30.56% of the entire internet is dedicated to these stories of gold rush and seemingly instantaneous and effortless success, which of course perpetuates the entire system and sweeps more and more of those fresh faced tech dreamers into the grind mill. The stories that you read about Jack Dorsey or whoever are, however, complete anomalies. This is exactly why they are news. They don’t happen often if ever. But the volume of the stories makes us think that it's in fact reality that it happens often when it almost never does.

So no kids, the dream is just that and no, ain't nuthin in this life for free.