Silicon Valley’s Misguided Love Affair With An “App” For Everything

The knee jerk joke of “There’s an app for that!” isn’t really that funny.

As an experienced Silicon Valley veteran, I am very familiar with many of its leading companies, luminaries and eccentric personalities.  Having spent most of my career in the midst of it, I believe that I am entitled to offer the following  criticism.   It is also not unique coming from me.

Many experienced Silicon Valley veterans have complained loudly about the current malaise of misplaced infatuation with mobile apps, as the apparent end all and be all of Silicon Valley. Vinod Khosla, Marc Andreeson, Max Marmer and a laundry list of others have asked rhetorically how Silicon Valley could have lost its way so badly? Silicon Valley was founded on Big Ideas.

It seems that our local tech community is living in a time warp, or at least is dramatically behind the curve in understanding how public opinion and the investment climate has changed for this fantasy world.  One might see this dilemma as predictable, as our local tech community is so far from the center of the tech universe, and therefore seriously behind and out of step.  A severe reckoning is nigh.

On November 18th of last year I wrote a post mirroring a NY Times article, “App Development’s Depressing Underbelly,”  about the depressing reality of those devoted to mobile and Web application development, losing their entire life savings and living like paupers. These people drank the proverbial Koolaid of the app development rainbow, and found out that it was a Ponzi scheme.

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The same question keeps being raised, over and over again, “Where are the BIG IDEAS that are going to make big impacts?”.  So far there doesn’t seem to be much of an answer.

Yet again this morning, the New York Times published another well-considered opinion piece on this topic, by Evgeny Morozov,  the author of “To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.”

I was personally attracted to Mr. Morozov’s article, because of his reference to Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialism. Mr. Morozov’s point is that Sartre epitomized the human angst of having to make decisions.

SartreJean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

Silicon Valley has recently seemed to say that “there is an app for that too!”   NOT!

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