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.
San Diego is the top-ranked metro on the updated Tolerance Index, followed by Napa, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ithaca, New York; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks, California; Cape Coral, Florida; Boulder, and Ann Arbor round out the top 10. Miami, Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco, and Boston all rank in the top 20. Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Orlando, and greater Washington, D.C. all make the top 30.
Read more. [Image: Martin Prosperity Institute]
Is Facebook’s IPO the next chapter in the greatest company of our time, or are Friday’s buyers total suckers?
The only intelligent, honest, and true thing to say about this inevitable question is that nobody has any clue. In 1992, a company called America Online had a $70 million valuation after its IPO. A decade later, it was worth $150 billion. A decade after that peak, it is now worth only $1 billion. Online fortunes are built on hyper-active tectonic plates. Mountains of wealth accumulate from flat nothingness, rumble, push up toward the sky, and with alarming frequency, blow themselves up. The Internet is a super-seismic place. […]
It is freakin’ crazy. If Facebook were merely the widest social network by number of users,dayenu. If it were the deepest social network by the quality of engagement and the quantity of personal detail, dayenu. But it’s the widest and the deepest! That sort of thing has to be worth $100 billion, right?
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]
Many people say you can’t. They’re ignorant. But it was true that we didn’t know how to teach entrepreneurship for decades, because we didn’t understand how start-ups were different from large companies.
Large companies execute. Start-ups in their early stage don’t execute. They search. And for a long time, we had no tools for search. But in the last few years, we’ve started to build the equivalent of an execution plan for start-ups. We’ve cracked the code for early stage ventures. We can say that we know how to make start-ups fail less."
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