The Dumbing Down of Silicon Valley

By Francisco Dao , written on April 4, 2012

From The News Desk

I just watched the preview for Bravo’s new show "Silicon Valley," which doesn’t appear to contain any silicon (chips), nor to be shot in the Valley. Instead, it mostly looks like a glamorization of San Francisco tech groupies, some of whom are no more technical than bloggers.

Since when did being able to post to Wordpress qualify you as a good representation of Silicon Valley? Much like the women on Bravo’s "Real Housewives" shows seem to be terrible at actually keeping their homes in order, this one seems to have selected a group of people based far more on their ability to look good on camera and create drama than their ability to build the next generation of technology.

Where will this dumbing down of Silicon Valley end? First the word “Entrepreneur” got hijacked when everyone who managed to put up a website started calling themselves an entrepreneur.  Next came the hijacking of “CEO.” I’ve actually seen people call themselves the CEO of their name, as in “I’m John Smith CEO of” Riiiiiiiiight.

Now “angel investor” is on the hijacked list. Apparently creating an AngelList profile and giving a couple of grand to your buddy makes you an angel investor. Perhaps the ultimate hijacking was San Francisco hijacking the name "Silicon Valley," when nobody in SF does anything that actually involves silicon chips.

Now Bravo is going to put this new breed of hipster-turned-wannabe-entrepreneur on TV and hold them out as an example of Silicon Valley? The preview shows one of the cast members proclaiming, “Silicon Valley is high school.” Personally, I fail to see how claiming to behave like 16 year old kids is something in which to be proud, and I’d like to think they can find better representations of all the hard working people who’ve built this industry.

On behalf of all the entrepreneurs who’ve risked it all to build something, I am offended. On behalf of all of the engineers who believed technical skills were more important than looking good on TV, I am offended. On behalf of Steve Jobs, Gordon Moore, John Morgridge, Ampex, Cisco, Xerox, Intel, and all the people who work in the real Silicon Valley, I am offended.

I’m not anti-TV, and the show may even be entertaining, but it’s time we called a spade, a spade. Tech groupies are not representative of the actual technology industry and as long as we continue to ignore this, we will continue to see the dumbing down of Silicon Valley.