"A few weeks ago, a programmer friend and I were talking about unhappiness, in particular the kind of unhappiness that arises when you are 21 and lavishly educated with the world at your feet. In the valley, it’s generally brought on by one of two causes: coming to the realization either that your start-up is completely trivial or that there are people your own age so knowledgeable and skilled that you may never catch up." [Via]
"Across America," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes in today's Washington Post, "creative, hardworking people in coffee shops, dorm rooms and garages are creating the next era of growth."
But they don't always have good programming degrees, especially if they're Americans, so Zuckerberg hopes to change the nation's immigration laws so that his company can more easily hire cheaper programmers from other countries. It's a win-win situation, for Zuckerburg and his billionaire pals in Silicon Valley.
Ha ha it is really more complicated than all of that, certainly! But this is the great political movement launched by the Web Billionaire generation: something that directly affects the hiring practices and profits [...]
Like many people who moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s, I did it because San Francisco was cheap. It didn't have the lowest rents—in the California of three recessions ago, a Silver Lake bungalow or blocks-from-the-beach Santa Monica apartment were even more affordable than the chilly city by the bay—but it was the only West Coast town you could survive in without a car. With a $35 Fast Pass, all the smelly buses and dinky Muni trains and even the cable cars were there for the riding to and from work, whether you were a bartender or a waiter or (like me) a very fast typist irregularly [...]
Here is a tweet that Gawker writer Max Read retweeted a few days ago.
— max read (@max_read) May 23, 2012
So, sort of a backstory, to begin. Last week brought us two Internet rumpuses regarding and/or demonstrating an especially privileged kind of blindness/obliviousness/ridiculousness. One was TED curator Chris Anderson's flabbergasting decision to withdraw a TED speech about wealth inequality on the grounds that it was "too political." The other, John Scalzi's head-patting essays on Kotaku, comparing [...]
Part one of a short series on a new film about Facebook-perhaps you've heard of it?
The Social Network is full of fibs, as everyone knows. The film is based on Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires, which tells a colorfully embellished version of the story from the point of view of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, which tale, as it was written, was then adapted into the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. The resulting account of the founding of Facebook amounts to a Hollywoodized game of Telephone. But the movie's lies aren't limited to those that blame Mark Zuckerberg for his rapacious and unscrupulous ambition (indeed, much of that stuff is [...]
"2013 may be the year San Francisco turned on Silicon Valley and may be the year the world did too."
When I asked him whether he regretted going public—whether he thought he could have accomplished more without the market pressure—he became incensed. "I feel like the only reason you could be asking me that question is because you think I’m stupid or because you’re trying to see if I’m going to lie to you."
—Say what you will about fired Groupon (current share price: 4.53) CEO Andrew Mason—he's a slob, he made terrible choices, his company was pretty close to being a scam for desperate businesses of the recession era—but at least he always makes sure to give a entertainingly terrible interview. I do look forward to [...]
David Ebersman, Facebook's CFO, and the man who planned its wealth-annihilating IPO, "recently came to New York to meet with big investors, including hedge funds and institutional investors. Some invitations for meetings were oddly, and somewhat imperiously, sent out on Thursday night for meetings on Friday. Given that it was summer, some investors sent their junior analysts." Oh honey. Okay, Palo Alto nerds, Labor Day has passed. We are now largely returned to our offices, although really you shouldn't try to schedule a Friday meeting until October, because the ocean is still warm and no one's really closed down the summer house yet. Good grief, we live in [...]
Everybody's spending his Facebook IPO money before it's converted to cash! The Bay Area is going to hell in an Hermes handbasket! Real estate agent Jeff Appenrodt said a client of his recently was among 51 bidders on a three-bedroom, one-bath Edwardian-style home built in 1903 that was showing its age. The client, a tech entrepreneur, made an all-cash offer 50% over the $849,000 asking price — and got thumped. The house sold for $1.4 million to a rival bidder.
Here's your other damning quote, from a real-estate-broker-to-the-rich: "Everyone feels confident again." Muh ha ha, you know what that means. (Comeuppance.)
Lost in the maelstrom of sadness, confusion and malaise that marks our annual observance of September 11th was a Medium post by Udacity's new Director of Mobile Engineering, one Oliver Cameron.
Here's the opening paragraph of Cameron's post, "The Story of Building an Education Startup".
Most revolutionary companies aren’t born with the intent to change the world, yet there I was trying to do exactly that. I was on the verge of starting my third company, and I wanted to do something truly special. I listed all of the industries I thought I could have an impact in, and quickly became fixated on education. It’s a market that [...]
Patch.com was launched in 2007 when Tim Armstrong, the man who turned Google into an advertising company, noticed his very wealthy Connecticut bedroom community lacked a local paper with an events calendar. When Armstrong became head of AOL in 2009 with the mission of transforming the company from a fading dial-up service to a media brand, he sold Patch to his new employers. There are 850 Patch sites, supposedly hyperlocal news operations run by modestly paid newspaper journalists and supposedly supported by neighborhood advertising.
Because the Internet is mostly a garbage factory and AOL produces a great deal of Internet content, it stands to reason that much of AOL's content [...]
When Prince William and Kate Middleton were married last year, reporters fawned over menu items like quails eggs and Scottish langoustine canapés. The summer before, anticipation about Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinsky's customized $5-million reception hit a fever pitch: would it be vegan? (Answer: no. Beef short ribs were served alongside risotto.)
But at the Zuckerberg–Chan wedding the other weekend, reporters could only note, as did the LA Times, that the food at the reception came from “budget friendly” restaurants like Fuki Sushi and Palo Alto Sol. Well, at least he wasn’t wearing that damn hoodie.
Depending on how you look at it, the Facebook IPO [...]
Tmrrw I'll write about my favorite ice cream flavor & then spend three days dealing with press attacks about how unethical I am.
— Michael Arrington (@arrington) February 14, 2012
If you love Internet drama—and why wouldn't you? It's so spiritually refreshing and intellectually fulfilling!—don't miss the current "Silicon Valley tech reporter/investor" throw-down happening at multiple showcases near you. Here's a pretty good entry point: "This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point [...]