Just desserts? Too late for that.
The Silicon Valley Way was effective only at the very beginning. It did create a few very strong companies that have since defined our tech and international business landscapes.
But the perpetuation of it has created one of the biggest myths in modern economic history. It has not improved innovation and job-creation nearly as much as it could have. And, it's destroyed so many great ideas, individuals, organizations and even whole economies. Boom-bust cycles are not particularly healthy ways to grow economies.
The tone here suggests the VCs will get their just desserts. If one hasn't noticed, they are rather flush with cash. Their unholy marriage with Wall Street has created truly sickening wealth for not the 1%, but the .01% (an admittedly frustrated estimate). When a company goes public like FB or Twitter, the money is made the instant shares are released, but *only* by the chums who set the deal up: the VCs, the investment banks and a few more-than-well-informed brokers. The Big-Bang moment immediately after the bell is rung is a ride into financial hell for the rest of us.
Institutionalized pillage. These self-made billionaires are today's real mafia.
We can't afford to go through another major cycle. I've been in the tech business since 1980, and in the Bay Area since 1986. I've experienced three of them, and they are truly devastating...but not to the VC community. Never to the VC community. They make their real money up-front.
All you armchair tech experts can throw stones at Andreessen. After all, he was one of the most famous wunderkind poster boys; essentially hand-picked by the VCs to represent Netscape's rise: good on camera, fairly articulate, even-keeled. But, he's one of the very few who has not only learned what kind of reality The Way has spawned, but put serious effort into restructuring his own approach. Andreessen Horowitz is one of a handful of major funding sources that looks hard at all the fundamentals. They actually spend time understanding the projects and the people in them. They are not perfect, but they *are* different.
New business failure rates have not changed over the past - at least - 15 years. How is that possible with all the resources and attention available to start-ups today? If 90%-plus of all new ventures shutter within five years (that number includes ventures in garages, dorms, basements and apartments *never* registered), it can't possibly be natural selection, as is espoused by the VC community. With that kind of inherent ineptness, we, as a species, would have perished a long time ago (though, we seem to be hell-bent on doing it at some point in the near future...).
We need to stop feeding the animal. Stop letting the popular media make stars out of the one-hit wonders. Most importantly, we need to focus on getting *prepared* to actually go into business with these great ideas we all have.
Great ideas are not hard to come by, but are worthless without a business behind them. The great idea *is not* the business. *We* are not the business. Money will *not* solve all the problems. We have to actually create the structure - the business - that will provide the sustainable mechanism that will help create the value of the idea and allow it to get to the people who need it the most.
Probably five people will read this, but after doing this for 30-plus years, the simple message of "plan first" still needs to be heard everywhere. It's not happening in schools, it's not happening in the industry, the VCs don't seem to want it (they think it'll screw up their current cash-generating system...but they're wrong) and the complicit popular media is ignorant.
Success can be defined in any way you wish; a very individual thing. It is ridiculous to think if you don't make a billion dollars you've failed. The foundation of any economy is the millions of SMEs that provide steady jobs and income, and contribute every day to local and national economies. If someone finds happiness in a ten-person company and that's all they need, then it's a success. Tired of tech and want to open a coffee shop? Do it. If it makes you and your customers happy, do it.
Going into business is not easy. It can take over your life. But if it's done right, it can be incredibly rewarding and endlessly interesting (what more can you ask of modern life?). Plan, structure and build your business a day at a time. Don't even think about starting something without a real business model that can sustain your efforts with an absolute minimum of outside assistance. That's the only way to stop these increasingly damaging cycles.