"Backing another startup is a status symbol, the #1 splurge." -- Claire Cain Miller
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Silicon Valley!
Claire Cain Miller has an obnoxious NYT piece on we the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of 2011: Silicon Valley Booms But Worries About a New Bust
Her agenda is to expose the excesses of AirBnB's new office, Foursquare's parties, Groupon's unprofitability, Yuri Milner's house, and Dave McClure's investing on-the-fly as an indictment of the way Silicon Valley startups work.
She fails to describe how it's hard to start a company, even in 2011. It's hard to have a great idea, it's hard to fundraise, it's hard to hire, and it's hard to build a sustainable, scalable business.
Rather than view Silicon Valley with a skeptical sneer and cynical tone, I would have appreciated a New York Times article on how Silicon Valley's model could actually contain the keys to driving economic growth in America in the future.
Entrepreneurs who succeed and then invest their success and money into new startups aren't to be mocked as splurging. They should be celebrated as wanting to create new delightful products and new jobs by backing new companies.
Claire Cain Miller would say I have that point of view because I believe in Silicon Valley. At least I believe in something. I truly wonder what she believes in.
I think it's legitimately hard for people outside Silicon Valley to separate the more ostentatious lifestyle stuff -- like those three douches standing on chairs looking super pleased with themselves -- from local customs that might be annoying but aren't reprehensible (I don't think those dudes are doing that much kiteboarding, from the look of them). But you know what: every industry has spending items that are customary and normal FOR THAT INDUSTRY AND LOCALE but would seem horribly extravagant to outsiders. Like I've personally never taken a town car home from the office in my life... but I'll bet Ms Miller has.
I always laugh at these schadenfreude-laden lifestyle pieces though... because come on! Foursquare is from New York! Groupon is from Chicago! Yuri is from Russia! The AirBnB guys went to RISD! Meanwhile, our local boy Dave McClure is BUMMING A RIDE because he didn't drive. Not to mention that Zuck is in there for buying a house that is WAY WAY WAY less expensive and ostentatious than he could afford. That's all you got?
You make some excellent points, but the big one is that nearly everyone comes to Silicon Valley from somewhere else.
We are a culture of immigrants.
It's almost as if Silicon Valley isn't a place, it's a state of mind.
A state of mind where the software developers disrupt everything: http://pandawhale.com/convo/202/software-companies-are-poised-to-take-over-large-swathes-of-the-economy