2017/12/16: Will anyone ever write another positive story about a tech startup? Probably not.
The issue is bigger than any single scandal, I told him. As headlines have exposed the troubling inner workings of company after company, startup culture no longer feels like fodder for gentle parodies about ping pong and hoodies.
Talking to tech founders every day, it’s clear how little their lives have changed in the last year, even as the world around them has shifted. Even top bosses who’ve noticed the change in public opinion aren’t willing to adjust.
Y Combinator president Sam Altman argued that political correctness was damaging the tech industry. “This is uncomfortable, but it’s possible we have to allow people to say disparaging things about gay people if we want them to be able to say novel things about physics,”
After Skedaddle, an “Uber for Buses” startup, was featured on Business Insider, a screenshot of the four young male cofounders, smiling atop an article describing an unsavory-sounding mission, ricocheted across Twitter. “What a nightmare,” the writer Lisa McIntire tweeted, adding, “Silicon Valley is run by complete sociopaths.”
venture investors are increasingly passing on deals—including hot ones they’d normally fight to get a piece of—because of negative character references.
Evidence is mounting that that the world is no longer fascinated with Silicon Valley: It’s disturbed by its callous behavior. But it will take a massive shift to introduce self-awareness to an industry that has always assumed it was changing the world for the better. Cynics would argue it doesn’t matter.