Is anyone else disappointed in Silicon Valley?

See original post and follow up discussion on /r/slatestarcodex here

I know, I know – Silicon Valley is just some vague concept, not a united collective of organizations working towards some societal goal, but still… given how profitable some SV companies are and the types of people who hold power in SV, I find it quite surprising and sad how little positive change SV was able to bring about.

A few specific points:

  • The geographic home of SV (SF specifically and the valley more broadly) is located in poorly run municipalities. Ignoring all the social issues in cities like SF – the housing costs alone make SV a sub-optimal home for the tech industry. Expensive housing makes it harder for people to move to SV and leads to an indirect tax on the cost of start-ups/tech companies by increasing the cost of labour and reducing supply. The housing costs in SV leads to there being less successful tech companies and products being more expensive globally. Given how many people move to SV annually and the power many of the leading SV companies have – I find it surprising and disappointing there were never any serious efforts made to either 1) improve the housing supply in SV or 2) move offices to better run/more accessible cities.
  • College degrees and signalling still reign supreme. One would think software/programming type jobs would be some of the easiest to evaluate based on objective testing. There are lots of wonderful free online resources to learn programming/tech/start-up skills yet the industry has not accepted, adapted or endorsed anything as a viable alternative to the traditional university system. If ever there was going to be an industry that did not need to rely on Harvard, one would think it would be the tech industry. Frankly, I don’t understand why more SV companies don’t come together and create their own alternative education/hiring framework that avoids the pitfalls of the traditional university/hiring processes.
  • VC may be inefficient (see: ) It seems much of VC (and especially programs like YC) are not actually about funding or providing knowledge but signals used for marketing purposes. To the extent this is true, it means there may be lots of funding opportunities being missed (both in terms of companies not being funded/being undervalued) due to VC being inefficient and arguably, not a competitive market.

I’m not arguing that SV is uniquely bad or even that it’s worse than other industries like finance, insurance or law. I’m just expressing that given the types of people who make up the “tech” industry and the amount of power they hold, I find it surprising and disappointing they didn’t improve upon such obvious problems.

I am curious if anyone else on here is broadly disappointed in SV and if so, what other areas they particularly find frustrating.