This is a really hard post to sit down and write but things have reached a boiling point around here and it’s really been bugging me, so here we are.
I used to be gushingly proud of my career in the tech industry. Not so much anymore. I’m sort of disgusted with the behavior of the tech elite these days.
The industry’s political, cultural and politically correct echo chamber passed the point of being annoying long ago. Now it’s deafening, and having a chilling effect on freedom of speech, diversity of ideas and open and honest debate.
Don’t even get me started on all the pandering. The rank hypocrisy. The sanctimonious self-righteousness. The way everyone just assumes that everyone else shares their narrow-minded mindset since, well, what intelligent person could possibly see it any other way?
Even the hint that you’re not a card-carrying progressive who thinks Donald Trump is the devil incarnate and the only reason Hillary Clinton isn’t President is because of Russians advertising on Facebook can get you fired or run out of town.
The same is true of questioning whether the powerful diversity and inclusion bureaucracy and the resultant backlash against white guys has maybe gone a little overboard and become racist in its own right.
Or questioning the hysteria over the imminent destruction of the planet due to manmade global climate change.
And don’t even think about suggesting that people are constantly conflating legal and illegal immigration to score political points. Or that hate speech and free speech are one and the same. Heresy.
Look at what happened to Peter Thiel. Ostracized doesn’t even begin to describe how his peers treated him for supporting Trump. Or Google engineer James Damore, who was literally fired for suggesting that what I just wrote might be true.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think tech is a fantastic industry to build a career around. And I have great respect for all the entrepreneurs, VCs, executives and employees who’ve risked so much to build companies, many of which have truly changed the way we live and work, some even for the better.
The great irony is that the current backlash against Big Tech is for all the wrong reasons.
The left thinks Facebook is the reason Trump got elected. VC Roger McNamee actually wrote a book about how Mark Zuckerberg and company are destroying our democracy, if you can believe that. Of course social media is the end of civilization but that’s neither here nor there.
The right is angry because Google’s execs were caught on video practically in tears over Clinton losing. Google really is evil, but that’s another story for another day.
And everyone is pissed off at Twitter for banning or not banning hate speech, depending on which side of the debate they’re on.
Never mind all the handwringing over privacy. Nearly 20 years ago Sun Micro’s Scott McNealy said, “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it.” Prescient statement.
The real tragedy is that an industry that once stood for challenging the status quo, being open to controversial ideas and constructive conflict somehow managed to fall into its own inertia trap. I guess we all know how enticing success can be and how power can corrupt but, to be honest, I never saw this coming.
The question is, how does the story end?