From its almost unknown military past, to the apricot orchards, to the dot com bust to the here and now, the story here in Silicon Valley is an amazing one. The DNA of this area makes it what it is. Others may try and replicate but the DNA – the infrastructure that includes Stanford, the government, and many innovators in one place, interacts with the ever changing and fluid environment. Today the diversity of ethnicity and culture is huge – never seen before. (Nor has the traffic, I want a jetpack, please dear inventors. )
What’s the most talked about story this past year in Silicon Valley? It was about fraud and a con artist in our midst: Elizabeth Holmes.
I wrote a post called Blood Money about Theranos long ago, but John Carreyrou of The Wall Journal investigated and wrote an in depth analysis and thriller of Theranos’ con. This is a must read, a cautionary tale, a shocking window into willingness to listen to BS, greed and maybe a sociopath – and if he leaves out the CIA connection, forgive him! Don’t forget James Mattis was on the Board.
Many moons later we now know about the Theranos trials of Elizabeth Holmes and her partner, Sunny. Both are going to prison. Sunny Balwani gets a 13-year fraud sentence and Elizabeth Holmes gets 11 years.
FRAUD v 2.0
FTX. I am quite angry at Sam Bankman-Fried for the huge fraud, deception, betrayal of so many with his crypto theft. Of course I am not as angry as those who lost everything or even lost anything In this theft. It is staggering what he has done. I hope Bitcoin comes out unscathed in this but I am afraid it will just bring CBDC (central bank digital currency) to us faster and faster. I hear about the tracking it involves and wonder, “Are we sure we want this much surveillance? ”
Everyone is talking ChatGTP so I asked it:
In Silicon Valley, chatbots are a popular tool used by many companies to improve customer service and support. Chatbots are computer programs that use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to simulate conversation with human users. They can be integrated into websites and messaging apps, allowing customers to ask questions and receive answers in real time. Many businesses use chatbots to automate routine tasks and improve the efficiency of their customer service operations. For example, a chatbot might be able to answer frequently asked questions, process orders, or provide information about a company’s products and services. Some chatbots are even able to handle more complex tasks, such as booking a hotel room or scheduling an appointment. Overall, the use of chatbots in Silicon Valley has helped many companies improve the customer experience and streamline their operations.
This is a special culture in action, but what really makes up “special” is you – the user, the reader, the opinion maker, the entrepreneur, the engineer, the observer and the participant.
The excitement of Silicon Valley showcases the Valley and what makes it special: entrepreneurs, deals, venture capital, hackers, rockets, failures, cost of living, Hacker Dojo, weather, work/live houses, Stanford University, Homebrew Computer, and more. The Story is embedded in every day living from the newly arrived to the always been here – it is fluid as well as historical. Put your spin on the story and join the conversation. Spicy mocha at Coupa (bought with bitcoin) and Cafe Venetia denizens are just as much a part of the story as anything else. I first heard an excited founder describing his company to someone while sitting outside at Coupa. Later, I rented a room to his co-founder and then CEO of the company. Today you know it as Pinterest. Back then, Paul was worried he wouldn’t have enough traffic to interest the venture capitalists. I offered to tell my list about Pinterest to increase traffic. Back in the day….things were different.
It is fast paced here. Acceleration, as Alvin Toffler said in Future Shock, is the least understood aspect of technology. 4 years ago there were only 10 or 15 people at a Bitcoin meetup. Now, 50 attending is small, sometimes 200. Self driving cars were far, far away. Now, they are here, soon to be everywhere. Waymo is all over the streets (Google’s self driving car). We will teleport information and use biometrics and my neurons and yours will be an interconnected search engine. I get ahead of myself. .but isn’t that what the future is – today merging into tomorrow…making the present the past and moving, moving, moving.