As Trumplethinskin lets down his hair for tech, shame on Silicon Valley for climbing the Tower in silence – Recode
2016/12/14 Leave a comment
Quite an amazing take-down by Kara Swisher:
When I call these top leaders — of course, it has to be off the record — I get a running dialogue in dulcet tones about needing to cooperate and needing to engage and needing to be seen as willing to work together. Also that Trump means very little of what he says out loud — which I will now officially dub the Peter Thiel take-it-seriously-not-literally defense. And they assure me that they will say what they really think behind closed doors where no one can hear it but each other.
This, even though it will be a certainty that Trump will tweet the whole thing with his doubtlessly warped take of the proceedings. My only hope is that often-erupting Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk — who is also now attending — will also erupt when he realizes the farce he has agreed to be part of.
Or maybe I don’t get it because I am of the old school that when something smells fishy, there is probably a dead fish somewhere to be found. But to my ear, it’s a symphony of compromise, where only now and then a sour note sounds from someone who breaks from the platitudes they are spewing.
Like one tech leader who suddenly stopped mid-sentence about how to really make deals, Kara, because the truth just had to be out. “Trump is just awful, isn’t he? It makes me sick to my stomach,” the leader agonized, as a real thinking person would. “What are we going to do?”
Well, to start, realize again that you have the smarts and invention and the innovative spirit to do whatever you like. Realize you have untold money and power and influence and massive platforms to do what you think is right. Realize that you are inventing the frigging future.
Instead, you’re opting to sit in that gilded room at Trump Tower to be told fake news is a matter of opinion and that smart people aren’t so smart and that you need to sit still and do what they say and take that giant pile of repatriated income with a smile.
Or you can say no — loudly and in public. You can resist the forces that are against immigrants, because it is immigrants who built America and immigrants who most definitely built tech. You can defend science that says climate change is a big threat and that tech can be a part of fixing it. You can insist we invest in critical technologies that point the way to things like new digital health inventions and transportation revolutions. You can do what made Silicon Valley great again and again.
When I could get no really substantive on-the-record statements from the tech leaders, I pinged investor Chris Sacca, because I knew he would not let me down.
“It’s funny, in every tech deal I’ve ever done, the photo op comes after you’ve signed the papers,” he said. “If Trump publicly commits to embrace science, stops threatening censorship of the internet, rejects fake news and denounces hate against our diverse employees, only then it would make sense for tech leaders to visit Trump Tower.”
He added: “Short of that, they are being used to legitimize a fascist.”
The fascist line is vintage Sacca, who always likes to kick up a shitstorm. But thank god someone is willing to do it, because that is what I thought Silicon Valley was all about.
Not any longer, it seems. Welcome to the brave new world, which is neither brave nor new. But it’s now the world we live in, in which it’s Trump who is the disrupter and tech the disrupted.