William Shockley, a scientist at Bell Labs with a Nobel Prize for physics, who co-invented the transistor, decided to live closer to his mother’s house in Palo Alto California because she was aging and often ill. He then opened The Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory for business in a small commercial lot in nearby Mountain View in 1956. This was the beginning of Silicon Valley. Shockley was so objectionably autocratic that in 1957 eight employees (the Traitorous Eight) left to found Fairchild Semiconductor. Fairchild was the incubator from which dozens of companies, including Intel, were spun off.
Initially this was hardware, but with the emergence of microprocessors in the early 1970s and then the first home computers in the late 1970s software was needed, in a market that grew to be immense, with several giant companies in Silicon Valley giving the area a powerful position. The start up costs for software companies are far lower than for hardware companies, so they proliferate. Their growth potential is far higher, so they can become enormous in a very short time.
The Silicon Valley software giants we know today, including EA, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Apple, Uber, PayPal, eBay, Yahoo, Adobe and many, many more tend to share the following characteristics.
- Founding mythology. “We were canoeing off Big Sur when a Great White attacked us, we fought it off with our paddles and the next day founded Shark, to bring robotics to fast food”.
- Charismatic Leader. You know their names.
- Altruistic social justice mission to make the world a better place. They repeat this mantra ad nauseum, but it is all lies.
- Recruitment of like minded SJW, liberal, snowflake staff who are exceptionally bright, often into the autistic spectrum, but who know absolutely nothing of the real world. But they happily mutually reinforce their distorted outlooks and seek to enforce it on others, with no tolerance of different ideas.
- Monopoly. All the household name companies have no real competition. So they are massively powerful. And power corrupts.
- Immense profitability. This stems from their monopoly and allows them to be incredibly profligate and inefficient. These companies really are not well run because they don’t need to be.
- Doing harm. By manipulating the experiences of their customers to favour their own world view and to harm anything that differs from this view they severely damage the freedom of speech they profess to adore. Your mind is being manipulated. They are real fascists. See here and here. Access to this article will definitely be throttled.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that these businesses are storing up trouble. They have been lucky to date because government legislation lags a long way behind technical advances. But it will catch up.
Government knows exactly what to do because it has been there before. The Robber Barons of the late 19th century; Mellon, Carnegie, Astor, Fisk, Morgan, Vanderbilt and Rockefeller shared most of the same exact features as the Silicon Valley monopolists. And we know what happened to them. The US government was forced to break up their monopolies and it will do so again. Already there has been some anti-trust activity but this is just playing at the edges, eventually drastic measures will need to be taken. And now, because of globalisation it is not just the US government that can do it, the EU government can too.
The current case of James Damore reveals just how intellectually and morally putrid Silicon Valley companies can be beneath their manicured, shiny exteriors. It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but at the very least any cogent individual capable of critical thought now knows that we have a huge and nasty problem.