tale of two valleys
Bad news if you’re still clinging to the idea that Silicon Valley is some sort of marvelous Horatio Alger LARP. Reuters has done a deep dive on the question, and surprise, surprise: they found that you’re more likely to become an entrepreneur if you grew up in a household with wealthy, educated parents, and Silicon Valley investors tend to default to connected founders who fit a very particular mold.
We are simply shocked.
Old-money types love to hate on the nouveau riche–duh, we’ve all seen Titanic–but in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, one highfalutin lady throws major shade at Silicon Valley to hilarious effect.
Denise Hale is a Serbian-born San Francisco society staple who was once married to legendary director Vincente Minnelli. She channels everyone’s favorite cranky great-aunt when she tells contributing editor Evgenia Peretz that the Bay Area’s techies “bore the hell out of” her in a piece about the culture clash between WASPy elites and the region’s tech VIPs.
Alley vs. Valley
You know what really makes Silicon Alley special? Bloomberg News has a theory: Broadway. Well, that, and the fact that this city is basically swarming with people who weren’t quite talented enough to make it onto the stage professionally but are perfectly capable of killing “Hello, Dolly!” at karaoke night.
Hey, if you felt a faint disturbance in the force this morning, here’s why: Lucas Duplan, a kid barely old enough to drink, just raised a $25 million seed round for his stealth payments startup, which is called “Clinkle.” According to AllThingsD, the company is telling everyone it’s the largest seed round in Silicon Valley history.
Pay no attention to the ghost of Color Labs hovering in the corner of the conference room.
The name, according to Business Insider, ”comes from the sound change makes and its ability to turn into a verb (‘Clink this!’).” When will someone launch a startup dedicated to finding better startup names?
Hulu’s up for sale, and depending on the buyer, it could mean big, big changes for the site. [New York Times]
After reports that Edward Snowden would be fleeing from Moscow to Havana today via Aereoflot, several reporters bought tickets and showed up–only too discover, too late, that Mr. Snowden wasn’t on the plane. They’re still stuck on the flight for Cuba. We’re guessing they no longer find Carmen Sandiego jokes very funny. [Gawker]
Kevin Systrom says Instagram will come to Windows Phone and Blackberry before Google Glass. And it took them a veritable eternity just to get to Android. [Fast Company]
“Are we embracing a soft xenophobia applied to a sector rather than a race, to some cohesive elite tech class that doesn’t exist outside of our own minds?” [SF Gate]
The Bitcoin Foundation has gotten a cease and desist from the state of California. [Forbes]
Shut Up and Take My Money
Looks like we found yet another place to spend those ever-escalating engineering salaries: chichi Christie’s just announced ”First Bytes: Iconic Technology From the Twentieth Century.” It’s an online-only auction of rare tech gadgets, including an Apple-1 made by the Woz himself in 1976, long before his days of kicking it with Kimye.
Silicon Valley Dispatches
Vine might end up on App Death Row thanks to Instagram’s new video feature, but don’t feel too bad for the folks at parent company Twitter. If @twentitled is any indication, the biggest problem on their plates is too much steak and caviar.
The @twentitled account is allegedly run by a real-life Twitter staffer. In the same vein as @GSElevator and @CondeElevator, it chronicles overheard complaints and first-world problems of Twitter staffers.
Meanwhile Back at the Valley
Do you ever look at a centuries-old spiritual practice and think, “Huh, how can I use this to make myself a better employee of Google?” Apparently someone does: Wired reports that meditation and mindfulness are the hottest thing going in Silicon Valley.
Googlers are signing up in droves for “Search Inside Yourself” training, and the company has instituted “mindfulness lunches.” Facebook and Twitter apparently have “regular in-office meditation sessions and arranging for work routines that maximize mindfulness.”
America may be the land of the free (relatively, like compared to North Korea), but it’s also apparently the home of the lazy.
Big Silicon Valley tech companies are stepping up lobbying efforts for immigration reform — not because their hearts bleed for the impoverished, but because we Yanks just aren’t cutting it vis-a-vis tech savvy. According to Reuters:
Sex and the Valley
In news of the complete and total bummer variety, new numbers show that founders of California tech companies are still overwhelmingly white guys. But hey, it’s not a total monoculture: Asian men fare well in Silicon Valley, too.
The stats come courtesy of Catherine Bracy, who spoke yesterday at the Personal Democracy tech conference. She moved to San Francisco to run Team Obama’s technology field office in 2012, Mother Jones reports. When she arrived, she was struck by the “jarring inequality visible everywhere in Silicon Valley — between rich and poor, between men and women, between white people and, well, everyone else.”