JPMorgan pays CEO Jamie Dimon $20 million, and it’s instantly the subject of widespread angst—online, in newspapers, and all over cable news. Then, this week, Google announces a $106 million payday for Chairman Eric Schmidt, and the reaction is relatively mute.
This was the subject of a Steven Davidoff’s column (that notably left out the word “bailout.”) People have every reason to be mad at JPMorgan and Dimon, given the way the last seven years have gone, not just for the bailout but also for all the lawbreaking that has characterized Dimon’s watch (nepotism in China, LIBOR, money laundering, and the list goes on.). While there are reasons to be mad at Google, they don’t involve blowing up the world economy, consuming billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and then whining about being treated unfairly.
That’s why people are upset about Dimon’s paltry $20 million rather than Schmidt’s princely $106 million. But it doesn’t make Silicon Valley’s huge payouts right.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
What Silicon Valley might look like if all of its employees actually lived there.
[Images: First Cultural Industries]
Imagine an energy company which manages a pipeline through Canada’s taiga. The company’s charged with maintaining that pipeline, with making sure it isn’t leaking and hasn’t been compromised. So, every day, the company pays a local to get in a plane and fly over the otherwise inert, massive metal tube, looking for objects, organic or otherwise, that shouldn’t be there.
Or that’s what they’ve done for many years. Five years from now, that pilot might be out of a job. Tiny satellites, whizzing over head in low Earth orbit, could photograph every meter of the pipeline. It won’t seem like anyone’s nearby, but, should a truck or stain appear on the ice, a system administrator in Houston would get a text message warning of a problem.
Humans began photographing their home planet from space in a scientifically useful way about a half-century ago. Now the images are ubiquitous: On a web search, in a phone app, on the news, we see the browns and blues that denote pictures taken from the sky. They have rollicked around the culture, spawning both the techno-hippie Whole Earth Catalog and the $3 billion military contractor Digital Globe.
Read more. [Image: NASA]
The story of Silicon Valley start-ups like Google, Facebook, and Snapchat have earned a mythical status in the business world. Terms from west coast tech culture—disrupt, innovate, hack—have been exported to companies that want to re-create start-up success in areas that have nothing to do with technology. But what’s difficult is pinpointing exactly what “a culture of innovation” looks like. It’s easy to repeat catch-phrases like “move fast, break things” or “ask forgiveness, not permission,” but it’s much harder to figure out how to bring that to your company’s office.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]
In aughty four, so goes the tale,
Mark Zuck’berg sat, and drinking ale,
He chose just how his site would look.
(That site, of course, is now Facebook.)
Alas, Mark felt a tad confined
Because he was red colorblind,
So now he picked a special hue,
Not maroon or taupe: No, a dark blue.
Last week, the New York Times detailed the personal, political, and financial connections between Newark mayor Cory Booker and a who’s who of Silicon Valley: Eric Schmidt, Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, Sean Parker, and more. Some of them backed his 2011 startup, Waywire. Others raised nearly $700 million for his bid in the race for New Jersey’s open senate seat, the primary for which Booker won on Tuesday. One donated straight to Newark: In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to improve the city’s schools.
Why would a bunch of entrepreneurs and executives in California donate money to a guy running for senate in New Jersey? Broadly speaking, these donations could be counted in the uptick in lobbying efforts by Silicon Valley companies. Google is on the list of top overall spenders in Washington thus far in 2013, at $7.8 million; it spent 2.5 times that amount in 2012, $18.2 million. Mark Zuckerberg caused a media hubbub when he started his own lobbying organization, FWD.us, this spring, which has had mixed success in supporting politicians who want immigration reform. The organization’s website lists many of the contributors who have also given money to Booker, as well as notables like Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom.
As Silicon Valley’s increase in official lobbying shows, the days when the tech world was seen as and tried to behave as an apolitical force are over.
Read more. [Image: Stephen Lam/Reuters]
You may not know this, but Chuck E. Cheese’s — yes, the pizza place — has its origins as firmly planted in the soil of Silicon Valley as Apple, HP, or Intel. In fact, it sprang from Nolan Bushnell’s Atari like Athena to the videogame company’s Zeus.
Which is to say two things: one, if you grew up in the 1980s, the same guy — Bushnell — is basically responsible for a good portion of your childhood longings; and two, WHAT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THAT’S CRAZY.
This connection got me thinking wild thoughts. I got very excited about the hypothetical secret history of Chuck E. Cheese’s. Perhaps Bushnell used an early computer to calculate precisely how to burrow Chuck E. Cheese’s brand into the very soul of every 7-year-old in America! And did he imagine that the animatronic rat mascot and his friends were going to be the leading edge of a personality-infused robotic future? (iChuckECheese!)
NEW MAP! The locations of 102 San Jose marijuana dispensaries and their happy tech neighbors.
By: Allison McCann/Jennifer Daniel
[Images: Megan Garber]
“Some people seem to think that getting acquired should be the highest aspiration for an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley,” ur-investor Vinod Khosla recently wrote. With “some people,” though, he was being generous: Most people, it seems, seem to think that the end point of starting up is acquisition — ideally, by Facebook, by Apple, by Google. The acquisition assumption means that there’s a Valley full of incredibly smart, driven people who are founding things simply to sell them to giants. And though that may not be the most inspiring reason to start a company, it may well be the most practical. This little Wikipedia page — “List of acquisitions by Google" — is a testament to the ongoing enticement that the dream of acquisition represents.
Now, though, there’s another page that speaks to the same idea: the “We’ve Been Acquired!" Tumblr. The site, launched this afternoon, ingeniously aggregates the many acquisition announcements — posted to Twitter, to Tumblr, to websites — that drive tech culture from its roots.