Silicon Valley Greed

from the too-much dept

Joe Costello, who has always impressed me as a CEO (at both Cadence and think3) and who is one person in the valley who I can’t remember ever hearing anything bad about, has written an article for the San Jose Merc about the increasng culture of greed in Silicon Valley. This is a topic that I feel strongly about, and I agree with much of what Joe has to say. More and more I hear people wanting to start companies simply because they think they’re going to be rich. They say things like “aren’t you sick of everyone else getting rich?”. It seems fewer and fewer people are starting companies because they have a good idea, or that they love the challenge of building a company. My feeling is that many of these “greed” companies will fail (though, of course, a few will make it big) and the people involved will go on being unfulfilled. I’m not so worried about that part. Where it gets tricky is that it makes it harder for people who truly love what they’re doing to make it happen. They need to distinguish themselves from the greedy to prove that what they’re doing is for the love of building a great business that serves a real need. The best question I was ever asked in an investment pitch was “why are you doing this?” I wish more investors would ask that sort of question.

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Comments on “Silicon Valley Greed”

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Vincent W. Yin says:

Greed can be good

(coming from someone who recently took a 30% cut in pay to move to a job he liked, you may want to take this with a grain of salt )

I’m not sure that seeing more greed is necessarily bad. After all, how many times have we heard stories about promising young companies that flame out just when they start to grow because the founders were trying to change the world and didn’t have enough appreciation for business realities?

I think the bigger problem, if one exists, is that the large amounts of money surrounding Internet stocks and companies are attracting people who have no real love for or interest in technology

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Greed can be good

I don’t necessarily associate greed with good business sense and/or lack of greed with bad business sense. I agree with your final statement, though.

I think that it is possible to really enjoy what you’re doing, and to bring in good experienced business people who get a thrill from the idea, and aren’t doing it simply for the greed factor. What scares me are the number of people who start companies simply for the greed factor…

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