Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance
Ross Baird

People address the problems they see. The extent to which people live in a bubble of their own friends and acquaintances who are like them is the extent to which the solutions they propose are limited. Some of this can be accidental. For example, WhatsApp was in part a response to the challenges that far flung friends of the founders in other countries had with then current messaging and voice connectivity. But can monocrop cultures like the Valley rely upon accidental engagement with problems in the broader world to continue to drive innovation? Or will innovation in markets much larger than represented in the Valley begin to surpass and supplant it? One lens that provides a counter-view to our American-centric definition of innovation can be found in Clay Shirky’s recent book Little Rice. That book talks about how the Chinese mobile phone company Xiaomi has grown up to become one of the most valuable startups ever. The organization Village Capital, founded by Ross Baird the co-author of this post, offers another lens into global innovation and problem solving — Village Capital probably has a broader global reach into the problems being addressed by entrepreneurs around the world than any other accelerator program or investment fund. (Full disclosure: I’m currently a paid advisor to Village Capital.)

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