Is Silicon Valley an echo chamber — or does it just lose perspective?

Silicon Valley & The Scent of Money

Nick Bilton, in his Disruptions column for the New York Times, lamented the echo chamber of Silicon Valley.

Sometimes, Hollywood screenwriters create scripts filled with inside jokes that only people in Hollywood could appreciate. Sometimes, New York media writers write about other New York media writers. And sometimes, tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the south create companies best appreciated by other people who live and breathe technology.

It is hard to argue with Nick, when his testimony includes $6 million in funding for an app called Twist, which essentially allows you to alert people that you are running late for a meeting and shows your position on a map. His testimony also includes Blackjet, an affordable private jet solution. These are services solving what could be labeled Silicon Valley’s first world problems. The rest of the article has supporting arguments from experts such as my former Red Herring editor Jason Pontin, who now is the head honcho of MIT’s Technology Review.

From where I stand, this is less about an echo chamber and more about a lack of perspective. Twist seemed like an interesting idea at its genesis, except is no more than a mere feature for Google Now. The fact is that when you live in an industry town like San Francisco, you start to see things with a narrower perspective that eventually makes you oblivious to the big picture. And that is true not just of the startups but also those who back them. Like everyone else, I suffer from this lack of perspective, and often have to travel in places outside the Valley to reccaliberate my lens. I said as much in this musing yesterday about San Francisco’s alpha adoption culture.

Adding a video from our friend Sean Gourley, where in he talks about the challenges in a way only he can.


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