As many readers know, I spent 13 years living and working in Silicon Valley before partnering up with Chris to start Peak Prosperity.
I got my MBA at Stanford in 1999 when the dot-com bubble was at its zenith, and worked for both a VC-funded start-up as well as one of the biggest Internet juggernauts (Yahoo!). I lived in Palo Alto, the central core of the tech scene.
As a result, I have a pretty good read on how Silicon Valley works. Many of the folks I worked and went to school with are now in leadership positions at the big operating companies, VC firms and hedge funds in that ecosystem — so I have personal knowledge of who’s making the decisions.
And it’s no secret that I think things have degenerated into a steaming pile of hucksterism.
The “engine of our economy”, the “cradle of innovation”, the “land of tomorrow” — whatever breathless hyperbole the fawning media is using this week — is a sham. Silicon Valley has become a factory of hype, funneling gobs of early-stage capital into whatever half-credible concepts it can think of, and then pimping the artificially-inflated initial results of those tarted-up ventures to whichever “greater fool” is willing to acquire it or buy its IPO. Let that idiot figure out if it will ever turn a profit…
Like the too-cozy relationship between DC and Wall Street, I see a similar one between Wall Street and the Tech sector. They collude to pump out as many opportunities as they can — private placements, acquisitions, IPOs, secondary offerings — to cash out the insiders and foist the long-term financial risk onto the “dumb money” (pension funds, foreign capital, retail investors, corporations desperate to enter the “digital age”).
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