back to article The Silicon Valley mirror-tocracy

In the latest round of Silicon Valley navel-gazing, CNN's recent airing of Black in America gets technology prophet and pundit Michael Arrington on the record as not "know[ing] a single black entrepreneur." Well, maybe he doesn't. After all, for all the talk about Silicon Valley as a meritocracy, the truth is that it's more of a …

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Oddly enough

"These things aren't going to sell well in Indonesia. Or Indiana."

Funny you should say that. More traditional companies -- retail, insurance, restaurants, etc -- will often try new products and services in places like Indiana or Iowa before rolling out nationwide. So however and wherever they come up with an idea, they test before doing a big national rollout. I wonder if Silicon Valley could learn from this, though obviously a web service is a bit different.

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Outsiders

Matt, surprised you didn't mention Liferay. We're the epitomy of the non-Valley start-up: self-funded, grew out of Los Angeles of all places, and in it for the long haul due to our company's vision and purpose.

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he probably...

...hasn't heard of you. Neither have I. There are _tens of thousands_ of you, and though it all looks terribly important from the inside, almost everyone else in the world hasn't heard of you, doesn't know what you do, never will, and doesn't really mind.

sorry, but it's always worth taking a dose of perspective now and again.

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Anonymous Coward

"Asian" ... is that really a single race?

When you say that all of the tech entrepreneurs are either anglo or asian... you've included a pretty broad category of cultures, races and a fairly large portion of the world's population. Last I checked Indonesia was a part of Asia. But then again I'm in Silicon Valley and may be out of touch as you suggest. IMHO Silicon Valley has been the "Ellis Island" for the world's technology industry, whose spread has been (to your point) quite uneven even in the West. So maybe our sterotypes are as outdated as yours...?

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Anonymous Coward

Europe plus Asia plus North America equals about 5+ B of Planet of 7B

So it makes some sense that Anglo plus Asian is a pretty broad mirror. Isn't the entire plant about 7 billion? So almost 1/3 of the planet is underrepresented in tech? And this is news because... I think its more interesting why the Bay Area became a tech mecca while Boston, New York, Paris, etc didn't. It obviously wasn't race...

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Facebook's Secret to Success?

"Google and Facebook somehow managed to grow up in the crucible of Silicon Valley, without being forced to grow revenues or profits too fast."

Well, for Facebook at least, gobs and gobs of dodgy Russian investment cash from shady business interests certainly helped alleviate pressure for an early exit for investors and employees:

http://gawker.com/5427959/alisher-usmanov-the-scary-russian-oligarch-seducing-silicon-valley

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/09/380565.html

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Bit troll-baitish...

If a site is good it will get funding, if a site is horrible it might damn well still get funding. There is no correlation, pets.com and those crappy startups you mentioned are all in the same boat as facebook and google, the market takes care of the garbage. Its absurd to claim that say face book or google doesn't work as well for women or black people because they were started and probably funded by men.

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Anonymous Coward

navel-gazing indeed

"Open ... And Shut In the latest round of Silicon Valley navel-gazing" oh the irony...

anyway, SV failing to come up with things that do well in Indiana or Indonesia is only a problem for SV - capitalism and entrepreneurship dictate that others possibly from other places will fill the gap. I for one don't look to SV to solve all my problems and fulfil all my needs - technological or otherwise. My car is German, my tv Danish (soon to be Korean), my OS is global etc etc...

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Silver badge

Name a company outside the valley that does do a ton of business in Indonesia or Indiana?

IBM? Nope

Dell? Nope

Texas Instruments? Nope

Digital Equipment or Compaq? Nope, and they got bought out by HP, that standard-bearer for the Valley.

It would be great if more African-Americans and Latinos were in tech, but they tend not to get the college degrees you need to work in technology. Also, you talk about whites and Asians ruling the Valley, which is true. However, you will be hard-pressed to find a more diverse group of whites and Asians working in one place than you find in the Valley. Silicon Valley has historically pulled in (and still largely pulls in) a truly impressive amount of engineering and scientific talent from Germany, the UK, Taiwan, Egypt, mainland China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Italy, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, France, Russia, Romania, Spain, etc.

The Valley has its problems, and it can certainly be clubby, however, name any major business center for any industry where breaking into the club is not a problem.

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