More on Silicon Valley from Evelyn

If I were really smart and a really good writer I'd be Evelyn Rodriguez who writes more about what makes Silicon Valley, well, um, Silicon Valley.

I've been thinking about that Silicon Valley post all week. A few of my readers challenged my assumptions. I'm receptive to that right now cause my mom's death caused me to look at all the assumptions I have about life.

That's what Sanjay Parthasarathy did with me with today too (he's my boss's boss's boss's boss and we had a little lunch date to get back in touch after my taking a few weeks off). Could I use my audience to help improve the standard of living in developing nations?

He said something like "what was the difference between Hitler, Stalin, and Kennedy? How they used their audiences."

That's called a smackdown. Leaders make you think about what you're doing. Make you take on big challenges. Make you dream.

That conversation is going to weigh heavily on me this weekend.

Do you have a dream for what you'd like the world to be like? Is it just to copy Silicon Valley and make everyone rich enough to drive a Mercedes SLR like I saw rolling down University Ave. in Palo Alto last week? Or is it to get a billion people off of the $2 a day living conditions that more than half of the world's people live under?

I've seen how to change a big company. How about change the world?

What about network neutrality? Isn't that an important principle to support as it comes to making an Internet usable by all? I guess if businesses had their way they'd charge us all a bunch of fees, particularly if we start distributing content and/or getting popular. I told Sanjay that the thing that makes this so interesting is that every blogger now has the power that only the New York Times or CNN had 15 years ago.

I love how Rick Segal and Shel Israel will travel around the world in August trying to find a way to change the world of investing and entrepreneurship.

What's your dream for the kind of world you want to leave to the next generation? How can we work together on that?

18 thoughts on “More on Silicon Valley from Evelyn

  1. I may not have an exact dream of what I’d like this world to be like fifty years or more from now. More food, more green space, less pollution, more reaching out to each other…less of all that is going on in this world at this very moment.

    I certainly know what I don’t want it to be like. Orwell’s 1984? margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
    Or my own unfinished Cannibal Nation.

  2. I may not have an exact dream of what I’d like this world to be like fifty years or more from now. More food, more green space, less pollution, more reaching out to each other…less of all that is going on in this world at this very moment.

    I certainly know what I don’t want it to be like. Orwell’s 1984? margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
    Or my own unfinished Cannibal Nation.

  3. On the three leaders – has anyone contested Chomsky’s allegation that Ronald Reagan was up with Pol Pot in the sheer number of people who he indirectly slaughtered? (In Cambodia for Pol Pot; in Meso-America and the Caribbean for Reagan.)

    Perhaps joining Hitler and Stalin to Kennedy isn’t so far-fetched after all.

  4. On the three leaders – has anyone contested Chomsky’s allegation that Ronald Reagan was up with Pol Pot in the sheer number of people who he indirectly slaughtered? (In Cambodia for Pol Pot; in Meso-America and the Caribbean for Reagan.)

    Perhaps joining Hitler and Stalin to Kennedy isn’t so far-fetched after all.

  5. Hmmm, my dream for the world I’d like to leave for the next generation?

    A saner world would be the first thing I’d want to see. A world where there’s a somewhat more equitable distribution of property and health. A world where a half-wit can’t get hold of the button controlling weapons that could wipe out humanity. Or access to a military machine that ignores the civilian casualties of its mistakes or chalks them up as “collateral damage”.

    A world where the possibility of everyone benefitting equally from scientific and technological advance, is the central reality. (And I do have specific places in mind – Ambunti, Telefomin, Eritei, Coober Pedi – just for starters. ;)

    And of course, a world where outer space is no longer the sole preserve of territorially-rabid military officers. I once started an SF novel on the basis of outer space being the preserve of rabid military; I intend to revive and rewrite it one of these days.

  6. Hmmm, my dream for the world I’d like to leave for the next generation?

    A saner world would be the first thing I’d want to see. A world where there’s a somewhat more equitable distribution of property and health. A world where a half-wit can’t get hold of the button controlling weapons that could wipe out humanity. Or access to a military machine that ignores the civilian casualties of its mistakes or chalks them up as “collateral damage”.

    A world where the possibility of everyone benefitting equally from scientific and technological advance, is the central reality. (And I do have specific places in mind – Ambunti, Telefomin, Eritei, Coober Pedi – just for starters. ;)

    And of course, a world where outer space is no longer the sole preserve of territorially-rabid military officers. I once started an SF novel on the basis of outer space being the preserve of rabid military; I intend to revive and rewrite it one of these days.

  7. It is offensive because it wilfully ignores the moral and ethical dimensions of the differences between Hitler and Stalin, on the one hand, and Kennedy on the other, and reduces the distinction to mere differences of rhetoric. Mel’s formulation is more reasonable because it restores the moral dimension (which simply can’t be ignored in the presence of such horrific crimes), but that’s not what Sanjay’s original statement said (at least, as reported by Robert).

  8. It is offensive because it wilfully ignores the moral and ethical dimensions of the differences between Hitler and Stalin, on the one hand, and Kennedy on the other, and reduces the distinction to mere differences of rhetoric. Mel’s formulation is more reasonable because it restores the moral dimension (which simply can’t be ignored in the presence of such horrific crimes), but that’s not what Sanjay’s original statement said (at least, as reported by Robert).

  9. Wayne, Hitler and Stalin did indeed “use their audiences” … to commit horrific acts. I believe the transposition with Kennedy is to make the point that one can inspire an audience towards very positive goals … or very, very bad ones.

  10. Wayne, Hitler and Stalin did indeed “use their audiences” … to commit horrific acts. I believe the transposition with Kennedy is to make the point that one can inspire an audience towards very positive goals … or very, very bad ones.

  11. Wayne, I’m curious to know why you thought what Sanjay said was offensive. And if it was, is that a bad thing? Seems to me that if you want to change the world, you’re going to offend most of it.

    Speaking of offending, here’s my best shot:

    I’d like to see the world become a place where character (i.e. what you do when nobody’s looking and you can get away with anything) and the capacity of one’s heart to love are the measure of a person, not the coolness of your Mercedes or the elegance of your C# or your ability to say the right thing (diplomacy) or your knowledge of holy scriptures of your net worth or the degrees somebody has conferred upon you or the power of your technology.

    Did I offend everybody?

    If so, let me go on to say that by those measures, I’m a very, very small man, even though I do have fairly elegant C# code. I stole most of it from the CodeProject.com though, so I’m not sure that counts.

  12. Wayne, I’m curious to know why you thought what Sanjay said was offensive. And if it was, is that a bad thing? Seems to me that if you want to change the world, you’re going to offend most of it.

    Speaking of offending, here’s my best shot:

    I’d like to see the world become a place where character (i.e. what you do when nobody’s looking and you can get away with anything) and the capacity of one’s heart to love are the measure of a person, not the coolness of your Mercedes or the elegance of your C# or your ability to say the right thing (diplomacy) or your knowledge of holy scriptures of your net worth or the degrees somebody has conferred upon you or the power of your technology.

    Did I offend everybody?

    If so, let me go on to say that by those measures, I’m a very, very small man, even though I do have fairly elegant C# code. I stole most of it from the CodeProject.com though, so I’m not sure that counts.

  13. “He said something like ‘what was the difference between Hitler, Stalin, and Kennedy? How they used their audiences.’”

    Did he really say that? Did you call him on it? That’s pretty offensive.

  14. “He said something like ‘what was the difference between Hitler, Stalin, and Kennedy? How they used their audiences.’”

    Did he really say that? Did you call him on it? That’s pretty offensive.

  15. Guess I’ll skip the usual things I could say and go directly to the one item in our world today that bothers me most.

    Political dialog.

    It seems to me that we need to be able to actually honestly discuss the issues facing our country and the world we could make a difference.

    Instead the topics are trivial at best, and the media & government institutions act more like lawyers in corporate IP battles, never wanting to loose face or give an inch.

    Guess that’s why I enjoy blogging – there is an attempt for everyone to take part in the conversation.

  16. Guess I’ll skip the usual things I could say and go directly to the one item in our world today that bothers me most.

    Political dialog.

    It seems to me that we need to be able to actually honestly discuss the issues facing our country and the world we could make a difference.

    Instead the topics are trivial at best, and the media & government institutions act more like lawyers in corporate IP battles, never wanting to loose face or give an inch.

    Guess that’s why I enjoy blogging – there is an attempt for everyone to take part in the conversation.

  17. “What’s your dream for the kind of world you want to leave to the next generation? How can we work together on that?”

    I think we need to start getting kids interested in computer science and engineering at a younger age. We need kids thinking about how to create things that can feed people, save the environment, improve medicine and generally change the world. Services are a great but we have to MAKE THINGS to really make a long term difference.

  18. “What’s your dream for the kind of world you want to leave to the next generation? How can we work together on that?”

    I think we need to start getting kids interested in computer science and engineering at a younger age. We need kids thinking about how to create things that can feed people, save the environment, improve medicine and generally change the world. Services are a great but we have to MAKE THINGS to really make a long term difference.

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