Silicon Valley Is For Winners Only
Though I live in the richest area of the country – and during the richest epoch in humanity – whenever I spot a Powerball billboard and the number is over $100 million, I nonetheless fantasize about winning the jackpot.
This sets my mind to wondering. Even in my daydreams, I’ll assume there may be other winners. I know that taxes will take a mighty toll. I suspect that taking a lump sum will also bring the total amount I receive to something more Earth-bound. Say, $50 million.
From there, I quickly start divvying up the pot.
$10 million to parents, siblings, and in-laws.
$20 million to my children – in a trust, obviously: say, $200,000 every year forever.
$10 million goes to charity. I am a good and magnanimous winner, after all.
That leaves $10 million for my wife and I. Which breaks down like this:
- $4 million for 2 houses – one of which will be a lovely $3 million Victorian in San Francisco
- The remaining $6 million is doled out in monthly increments of $10,000 – each – till we die.
Pretty damn good.
Silicon Valley is like that. This is the land of the Powerball – and we are all winners here.
Yes, as with the taxman, we must pay the tolls. Our commutes are the stuff of dark comedy. Home prices are so high as to be literally inexplicable to our parents. There is a rather shocking and joyfully overt intolerance for diversity of thought: we gloriously present to the world our progressive, hard-driving, world-changing values like as if it’s that baby cub in The Lion King, yet anyone even dare suggest that, just perhaps, Marissa Mayer should not be on so many boards, or maybe, just maybe, Obamacare should be shuttered, and they are quickly cut off from the innermost of the in crowd.
A rather small price to pay, really.
After all, here we live better than, say, 99.3% of the entire planet. Ever. We are the ultimate winners of a culture that has done more to transform the world than any other over the past millennia. Ok, over the last 100 years. But, hell, it’s not even close: Silicon Valley >> California >> USA >> The West.
The rest of the world lags far, far behind.
This place did not happen by mistake. So why are so many in Silicon Valley not positively reveling in their success? We created – and sustain – something that the rest of the world has failed to achieve, repeatedly.
Our choices won. We have been proven right, over and over. Celebrate!
Have you given one second’s thought lately as to how unbelievably thin the new iPod Touch is – that thing you recently bought for your youngest daughter? It’s actually better than that “illustrated primer” tablet contraption in the popular sci-fi novel, The Diamond Age. Oh, and there’s not only two of these in all the world, as there was in that fictional tale. No, at least hundreds of millions. Because they only cost $200.
Read nearly any book, watch nearly any show, listen to any song, visit any site, connect with the world, video chat, all on this amazing, affordable device that nearly anyone on the planet can have. Oh, and it’s super-small and light as a feather.
It is right that we have more, eat better, live longer, can travel farther. The reason we spend so much time focusing on ourselves, on our work, our region, is because we continue to do it right. Why be afraid to admit this?
Is the marked hesitance to utterly bask in our blessings some perverted penance? Some odd notion of guilt yet to be disrupted by our collective big brains?
We stand at the top of the mountain. Think big and enjoy the view!
Let the world see that we have done it right, done it better, and that they are doing it wrong. Yes, we work much longer hours. We abhor unions. We demand super-intelligence. We glorify technology. We bask in disruption as much as creation. We swim in real-time. Because it’s right. Don’t like it, you’re wrong. The results are proof positive.
For our views, our choices, we have risen to the top. Party like it’s 1999. The rest of the world will eventually come to their senses.
But, should you think your success is undeserved, that the sacrifices of your parents, the brains you were born with, the luck of the time and place of your birth, the serendipitous confluence of money, talent and microprocessors are all more responsible for your good fortune, such that the largesse you have is little different than winning the lottery, then you are probably in the wrong place.
You can’t disrupt if you believe yourself unworthy. A master of the universe may suffer the slings and arrows of self-doubt, but never doubt their superiority.
This is your home now – the home of Apple and Google, Genentech and Twitter, Facebook and Paypal; the land of crowd funding, kick starting, globe-spanning, market destroying transformation. These are no accidents.
Embrace it. If you cannot, you should probably just leave. It will reduce the commutes for the rest of us.