I’m obviously not getting invited to the right parties, because the Silicon Valley I know and love bears no resemblance to the “obscene” picture painted by the NY Times’ Nick Bilton in his article earlier today.
The money here is obscene. The newly minted rich are obsessed with outperforming their rivals. One industry party I attended had a jungle theme. This included a real, 600-pound tiger in a cage and a monkey that would pose for Instagram photos. A prominent Googler’s Christmas party in Palo Alto had mounds of snow in the yard to round out the festive spirit. It was 70 degrees outside. Sean Parker, a founder of Airtime, threw a lavish, $1 million party that included models he hired to roam the room and a performance by Snoop Dogg.
There is an obscene amount of money here. But it’s the only place in the world where most rich people don’t really flaunt it.
I know a billionaire that drove an old Honda until recently, for example. Another that lived in a small apartment so he didn’t have to bother with the hassle of a home.
None of the people I hang out with talk about their private jets or wear “handcrafted jeans” (whatever that is).
And unlike New York, LA or Washington DC, the conversations here are rarely about money. They’re usually about ideas.
No doubt, there are countless people who consider themselves part of the startup scene who do little else than hop from one trendy party to the next.
But these parties, and these people, are not the ones doing anything interesting. As a blogger I learned long ago to shun those events. The real stuff happens at the events that don’t have caged tigers. Or NY Times reporters.
Because this isn’t a Hangover movie.
Perhaps that article speaks more of Nick Bilton’s social life than the Silicon Valley he’s trying to describe. Or maybe he’s watching too many Bravo shows.
Because, young Nick, the stupid shit people do in Silicon Valley these days is preciously innocent compared to the late 90s. That was a time that even the serious people started to lose the plot.
There’s a pattern with reporters and bloggers that come to Silicon Valley and experience it all for the first time.
They write stories about how all the startups now are building useless stuff and wax nostalgic for the recent past when people had bigger dreams and ambitions.
And then they talk about the excess at all the parties.
My advice is this. Stop going to parties. Then use all that free time to start spending time with the serious people, doing serious things. They aren’t at those ridiculous parties. So, why are you?
PS – One thing Nick got right though, are the endless pitches. Like Nick I was also pitched in a bathroom at a urinal. That’s not something you soon forget.