12/3/13
Posted at 0:12h, 03 Dec 2013 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Kool-Aid is so 90s, and since soylent is the Drink of the Future, we’ll play.

We’re getting to that time again – end of the year, when everyone comes out with their Top Ten This and Best of That. We personally believe it’s the perfect time to take a hard, cold look at the past year, and be honest about the state of the industry.

This is one of the best articles we’ve seen in a long time: Silicon Valley Isn’t a Meritocracy. And It’s Dangerous to Hero-Worship Entrepreneurs. It gets even better, when you consider that “the big names in tech might be awash in capital and might have made their founders billionaires (New Economy founders typically retain large blocks of their own stock), but they employ surprisingly small numbers of U.S. workers. Google, the valley’s largest employer, has 46,000 people on its payroll. Facebook employs only 4,600, and Twitter, in San Francisco, fewer than 2,000. Apple claims 400,000 people,” yet only roughly 1/10th are employed in the US. As for the shortage of programmers and again, the billionaire founders putting $25 million into FWD, to import more tech talent, “only one out of every two U.S. college graduates with a degree in engineering or computer and information science is hired into those fields, despite a doubling of the number of homegrown computer-science graduates between 1998 and 2004. Others argue that employers mostly don’t use H-1B workers to fill “best and brightest” jobs, but, rather, relatively low-paying routine programming positions, and that the most avid users of the visas are India-based outsourcing companies that use the visas to provide a few months of U.S. training for their employees, who then return to India.” And then become outsourced talent, of course. These are neither modern-day folk heroes the press would have you believe, nor do they even rise to the level of the robber barons of the last industrial age: the robber barons didn’t outsource the future. Or turn over our information to the NSA. It also seems that there’s no end in sight.

Are these people such visionaries, or are they the tech equivalent of what we’ve seen before? A digital upgrade. Facebook is little more than the online equivalent to the phonebook, with elements of the party lines of the days of yore thrown in.  Remember landlines? Twitter is the town crier.

Nor is Soylent the first drink of its kind, by any means, despite the fact that it is getting a lot of press. It came out of Silicon Valley-based Y-Combinator, and Paul Graham called it the ‘Pivot of the Century’. Yes, you save time buy and preparing food, and cleaning up afterwards, but according to Smithsonian, “Cooking may be more than just a part of your daily routine, it may be what made your brain as powerful as it is.” And ‘economical,’ at $7.60 a day, per person? Um, we personally shop and cook for two, and don’t spend $15+ daily on food – at New York City prices, mind you. Someone’s been drinking the soylent. And selling us far too much Silicon snakeoil for far too long. It may be one reason why companies aren’t so hot to sell out to the behemoths, as they once were. Why tech hubs have sprung up globally- and Silicon Valley investors have opened offices outside of the Valley. Maybe we’ve all had enough and we’re just not buying – or selling – like we used to. Onward and forward.