Silicon Valley Is Under Attack. Here’s Why We Deserve It.
Ankur Jain

Attacks on Silicon Valley are justified, you proudly claim.

Then you go on to lay out presumably another approach that focuses on the real problem, that is, the people that need solutions most (including the middle class) because, you see, they are being squeezed and SV really does not care to put any money into these people. Naturally, you propose new models to be built by creative entrepreneurs, and conveniently provide direction by wrapping up people’s every day challenges into a number of life-spanning categories. How altruistic, one would say. Perhaps it is true, to an extent though. Because your main goal was to promote this:

launching a fund to support these efforts and help shift more of the $160bn in annual venture investments to these types of problems.

Funds work by generating returns to investors and partners. A reminder, you are presumably one of the latter. In a nutshell, you create an investment vehicle for your own benefit wrapped up in a more attractive gift paper. Rather than having 1% of the $160bln go to real problems, now we will increase that to 5%. Is it admirable? Maybe. Is it significant? Maybe not. Is what’s beneath that more attractive cover the same SV investment-return model? Absolutely.

Allow me to show you what categories I can create based on your story:

  1. People.
  2. Entrepreneurs.
  3. The rest.

You mention people 11 times:

  • Silicon Valley has forgotten to solve problems for everyday people
  • forgetting about the people that need solutions most
  • people are sick of being forgotten
  • bigger impact on people’s livelihoods
  • even fewer people have basic work benefits
  • leave everyday people financially strapped.
  • the major life stages people go through
  • make sure people land on their feet
  • People today can’t afford to retire and grow old
  • people either end up in the hospital
  • squeezing our young people

Poor people. They are really doomed. They definitely do need saviors. Point made — pain identified.

In contrast, entrepreneur is mentioned only 3 times:

  • But our communities need entrepreneurs
  • these challenges are best solved by entrepreneurs in the private sector
  • focus entrepreneurs on these challenges

I guess the saviors were obvious, so no need to reiterate. What a relief.

What about the rest? Well, it is implicit. It is you and alike, and “this same group of leaders”. In other words, it is those who have the greatest incentive and will eventually get the largest slice of the pie.

Silicon Valley is under attack, you say. Here is actually why you deserve it:

Because you show again and again a condescending and patronizing behavior towards the people, and intentionally detach yourself from that undesirable group of creatures.

Because you clearly separate what you call entrepreneurs from that people group, like these entrepreneurs are some alien life form and will come from Mars to save us.

Because you display characteristics of a SV separatism — conveniently divide human beings into subgroups based on economic/social/career status, and particularly classify yourselves as superior, e.g. the leaders, the power, the commanders.

Because you assume the people are your employees and they are in a desperate need of jobs, and that’s why you emphasize that you “can we make sure people land on their feet and have a clear path to re-employment”. No people, no workforce, no entrepreneurs, no fund, no ROI, no benefits for you — right?

People are not your commodity. People are not to be presented as victims in an empathetic marketing effort to support a sort of an investment fund. People are not your consumable tool for high financial returns. People do not need jobs per se.

Entrepreneurs are not a privileged fragment of society. Entrepreneurs are not your middle layer managers of the people, and they do not have higher abilities than the latter (look specifically how separatist and condescending your 5th paragraph is).

People, entrepreneurs and the rest, that is, you, are the same group of human beings. You should think of all of them as one segment, write for them as a whole, and seek solutions that make them indistinguishable.

You should create only one category: Turning people into entrepreneurs and me. How can you create models to enable this for everyone, regardless of race, religion, cultural, economic and personal status? It is easy to become an entrepreneur when you are privileged and when you have a safety net and strong support system.

The real problem is not the people’s problems of today. The real problem is the barrier you put between the people of today and you, your families and your high-end SV social circles. The real problem is that you don’t provide, and do not seem to have much of an interest in providing, a liquid upward social & economic mobility of people.

When you have invested in a startup led by a random entrepreneur who has been able to freely take risks without jeopardizing his and his family’s life and has grown it to say 100 employees, and you go and intentionally shut the start up down by knowing that the only downside will be you losing your investment, but at the same time you know that 99% of these jobless employees will be enabled to have the freedom and resources to become empowered rather than financially stressed and 99% of them will take risks and easily transform themselves into successful entrepreneurs, then you will have created a new functional model of a problem worth solving.

Otherwise, you will just change your coat but not your character.

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