Illogical truths: the paradoxes of silicon valley

The Valley’s most valuable product is the contrarian thinking that fuels its innovation culture. World-famous companies that have never turned a profit. A sprawling homeless epidemic cheek by jowl with some of the wealthiest zip codes in the world. Techies who are more likely to bond at Burning Man than at golf courses. Silicon Valley seems to make little sense from the outside. Silicon Valley start-ups have received the lion’s share of US-based venture capital funding over the past 10 years. Yet, many visiting executives struggle to find a foothold because they can’t seem to find the magic formula that makes Silicon Valley tick. Good ideas that look like good ideas are too obvious. Others are probably working on them already. Take Airbnb, a classic good idea that seemed terrible at first pass. How do you check guests’ backgrounds? How do you insure hosts against theft or damage? How do you ensure cleanliness and safety for guests? How do you confirm the accuracy of ads. All of these questions seemed like existential threats to an online marketplace for nightly sublets. There are also flat-out rules against subletting in many cities. Silicon Valley loves to shrug off perfectly good reasons why an idea won’t succeed. Now is also the best time to set foundational values aligning with sustainability, peace and justice. Read More >>

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