The Gen X dogma of the Reagan era has no place in Silicon Valley

As the core As a member of Gen X, I am usually content to sit down and watch baby boomers and millennials bombard each other with rhetorical bombs. My partner and I quietly eliminated the underestimated impact on society, especially the modern technology industry; although we occasionally complain about being forgotten, many of us still like to work in the cultural spotlight. But recently I have come to realize that in the squeezing and divisive model advocated by the Silicon Valley venture capital class, my generation has the worst pathology. This makes sense: many of them are Gen X, especially Gen X men.

Generation X workers were the ground forces that flourished on the Internet in the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, many people who got rich then used their newly acquired wealth to invest in more software. If you consider us and our cultural close relatives, these people are technically part of the baby boom in the middle of this century, but born after 1960, you will find that a large number of people actually pull strings or distribute in Silicon Valley Money, this is equivalent to the same thing. The values ​​and mentality of millennial CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Neumann have received a lot of media attention, but Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Mark Benioff , Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Paul Graham, Alfred Lin, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel? All of them were born between 1964 and 1973. These Gen X men run Silicon Valley, and their short-term, disruptive focus shows the twisted side of our habit of quietly completing tasks.

in The most recent interview, Venture capitalist and software engineer Marc Andreessen (like me, born in 1971) regarded “declining national capacity” as an inevitable event, and then went on to discuss in detail his belief in the power of software for life on earth. He denounced the historic sweep of collective social efforts as “a systemic failure of almost all public sector entities in the world.” When he said this, he was probably sitting in a publicly maintained network of safe transportation, water and power infrastructure, communicating through a publicly developed Internet connection, and being protected by his publicly funded and publicly distributed Covid vaccine. . Anderson went on to talk about only private companies, especially software companies, that can solve the problems we face as a country and the world. I realized that Anderson was selling the Reagan teachings of our shared childhood.

We, Generation X, entered the network industry just after the extreme uncertainty and impact of our growth period shaped and consolidated our worldview.Unlike the baby boomers, we did not grow up Concealed drilling rig; By the time we were in elementary school, both the United States and the Soviet Union had enough nuclear weapons to make any full-scale war impossible to survive. acquired It was broadcast on national television in 1982. Just as children have been discussing terrible fairy tales, we realistically discussed that it is better to die quickly in the center of the explosion zone than to experience painful radiation poisoning on the fringe.

In 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, tensions between the first Bush administration and Saddam Hussein intensified and they worked hard to decline. Generation X, who are looking for a job after graduating from high school or college, find that corporate predators are everywhere, factory unions are declining, and public institutions are either layoffs or offshore outsourcing, making it almost impossible to hire us. Although many private industries have recovered, tax cuts mean that state and local government recruitment has never returned to the level of the 1980s. It’s hard to believe—in fact, most of us don’t have—we will get the kind of institutional support that has been enjoyed by previous generations. The reality is really a bit.

Then I don’t know where it came from (except for a few people who have been following the development of Darpa and UIUC), a new industry, we can not only live a good life, but also leave our mark in the world. For those of us lucky enough to participate, this seems to be a reprieve for all our expectations of doom. More importantly, the rapid wealth and easy entry points seem to confirm that the generational stability that we have missed in terms of institutional support can be found through private enterprises, and only by private enterprises.

In the 1980s, American morning chauvinism, the AIDS crisis, and the strange replenishment of repressive interest rates revived the axioms of government failure. For our generation, the message is even clearer: it won’t work, and when we grow up, it will certainly not appear around us. We know that if the bomb did not strike us first, then by the time we retire, social security payments would have ceased to exist. It turned out that it was nonsense, but it was universal nonsense advocated by politicians and was eagerly reported by the media. It’s hard to get rid of the basic assumptions set early in life. Many of our Generation X investors still seem to think like neglected 20-year-olds, which damages our imagination and creativity.

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