Silicon Valley correspondent Chris O'Brien is leaving the Los Angeles Times to move to France, where his wife will be a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Toulouse. He leaves this week. In a piece at Medium.com, he comes to some conclusions about the Northern California tech business, which he began covering in 1999 (only since 2012 for the LAT.) Silicon Valley, he says, "is one of the most amazing places on the planet."
My departure from Silicon Valley...will hardly make a dent in a region where tech journalists seem to be spawning faster than tribbles. I leave the U.S. knowing that while journalists and news organizations are scurrying away from covering boring, useless stuff like state legislatures, there are 1,000 people on standby to write a blog post if Jony Ive barfs out of his nose....
In many ways, it feels like I’m leaving at a moment when things have come full circle. Tech is booming. Activists are marching in the streets to protest evictions. Everyone is talking about a bubble. When things start to feel like déjà vu all over again, it may be as good a time as any to step off the carousel.
But while I’m excited about the unknown ahead, I can’t say I’m any less fascinated by this region that I leave behind than when I arrived.
Yes, there is plenty about Silicon Valley that is rightly deserving of parody and criticism. It’s not the meritocracy it imagines itself to be. The digital utopianism borders on the delusional. The lack of women, Latinos, and African-Americans in tech is an embarrassment.
And there is no denying the current hiring boom of tech workers is fueling a growing social inequality that simply can not be sustained over the long run.
More over there.