Silicon Valley: Morphing into Medieval Italy?

December 23, 2021

The historical precedents include Florence (Facebook), Genoa (Google), and Venice (a2z). Venice because it was mostly money people and secret ways of keeping track of who owed whom what, so that’s close enough to a2z for me. The city states had their own ways of ruling, punishing, and exerting influence. What’s a few skirmishes among those who speak the same language. Does this sound like the Silicon Valley we know and love and its giant technology companies? I thought about the golden age of Italian city states as I read a scribe’s retelling of a recent digital skirmish among a couple of these power houses.

Jack Dorsey’s Hot Web3 Takes Are Apparently Too Much for Marc Andreessen to Handle” reveals that two Duchies are in sharp disagreement. No catapults, just PR. The write up from a modern day Giovanni Villani states:

Marc Andreessen decided to take the step of blocking @jack, and Dorsey responded by saying he’s been “banned from Web3.” That’s not an unfair statement either, as the former Netscape co-founder and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is now a huge investor in Web3 startups, tossing money around on DeFi projects, metaverse sneakers, tokens, and anything else that catches his eye. According to its “Web3 reading list” (pdf) document from October, “a16z is the largest investor in this space.”

And other digital princes are aligning against the former guru of Twitter.

Are there other signs that the apparent coziness of the impactful environs of Silicon Valley are fraught with digital tension? Are these indicators?

    1. Google’s unhappiness with its trust score and human relations / people management department
    2. Apple’s once secret deal with a foreign power. What’s a quarter trillion dollars among friends?
    3. Intel’s apology to China issued in order to comply with US government requirements. What about those chip fabs in Arizona and the water hurdle?
    4. Amazon’s three consecutive outages and surging orders for pizza to fuel is “two pizza teams”. Isn’t it three strikes and you are out? No, this is no big deal, right Epic.
    5. Facebook’s alleged dominance of the worst US company rankings. This is unjust.

I don’t know. But unfollowing the guru of the Tweeter and the apparent fractures in a snug club house strike me as an important moment in the history of the technology revolution.

Are there coincidences? My little iTunes’ set up is playing the Beatles’ Revolution:

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

Yes, what’s the plan? Perhaps a Decoder to explain what’s happening?

Stephen E Arnold, December 23, 2021


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