Silicon Valley Is In DC's Crosshairs… And Silicon Valley Still Hasn't Realized It

from the time-to-wake-up dept

I didn’t cover last week’s “net neutrality” vote in the Senate, because the whole thing was silly showmanship. You had a totally toothless FCC rule that was designed by the telcos to benefit the telcos, and the actual Congressional debate was merely a partisan food fight that had absolutely no parallel to reality or actual network technology. The whole thing was a farce, no matter what happened. But, as Stacey Higginbotham writes over at GigaOm, the whole net neutrality food fight is just one example of many of how Washington DC has decided to turn its regulatory eye towards Silicon Valley. Between this, the spectrum fight, SOPA and a few other ideas smoldering through Congress, as Stacey notes, it’s:

a frightening reminder of how easily the folks in Washington, D.C. can throw a wrench in the gears of innovation

Of course, as Silicon Valley has done for years, we mostly ignore this kind of stuff. In general, the tech world tends to believe that innovation happens best when politicians stay away, and we’ve tried to accomplish that by ignoring politicians. However, the politicians aren’t ignoring us. The cynical viewpoint on this is that the tech and internet sectors are basically the only real bright spot in today’s economy… and with the way DC corruption works, they need to tap into that market for campaign donations. What’s the best way to do that? Well, propose a bunch of awful regulations that will massively hinder innovation and the startup economy. In the hive mind of DC, that’s how you wake up folks to start contributing to campaigns.

Whether or not that’s the actual thinking behind this rash of bad legislation, all aimed at the innovation sector, one thing has become clear: cynical or not, the startup world can’t continue to ignore DC. Stacey notes:

While people in the Valley are playing at building companies and technology, the folks in D.C. are playing at politics, and when those worlds collide, its likely technologists that will lose.

That’s only true if we let DC play the politics game as usual. But we have an advantage. While we tend to dislike the entire DC/political circus, we are innovative and we are disruptive. It seems like it’s about time to turn that innovative and disruptive spirit towards DC, rather than pretending we can continue to ignore what’s happening there.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Silicon Valley Is In DC's Crosshairs… And Silicon Valley Still Hasn't Realized It”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Science party?

Crowdsourced law making, if Washington start making to much fuzz Silicon Valley will just have to make them redundant.

Imagine every citizen has his own GIT of US laws and can make changes and submit them to the wider audience where it gets revised by others.

Code is just text like laws and programmers actually found a way to work in a decentralized fashion that works pretty well and it is robust.

Then we take some pages from Japan(i.e. Koizumi children) and the Tea Party and elect officials just to pass those laws, it gets all done in the public eyes and there is no stopping people from doing except the will to do it.

anonymous says:

Re: Let's

that’s the most sensible idea i’ve seen here in a long while! couple that with censoring ALL websites owned by, run by, rented by, have anything whatsoever to do with the entertainment industries, then perhaps things will carry on working as they should. they think it’s perfectly ok for them to force sites, companies and individuals to be banned from using the ‘net’, let them have a taste of that treatment! if not, just be prepared for the monmental f**k up that is fast approaching!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Let's

Ahh…but it’s all a part of helping sink those greedy #$$%@. They are not getting my money, at all.

10 million people play WoW. They all pay for all of the expansions (800 mil?) then subscription of $15 per month….$150,000,000?

I have 2 accounts, so I personally pay $30 subscription fees per month.

Not counting all the pets ($10 ea), mounts ($25 ea) that I bought for myself, and friends…trading card game…

Guess what? I don’t have Blizzard coming down on me with DCMA and ‘omg copyright’ when I make a machinima and stick it on youtube. They even hold contests during Blizzcon for the best machinima.

Better entertainment than anything I have seen out of Hollywood lately.

I quit giving my money to the evil greedy ones.

rubberpants says:

Just follow these tips, the industry and their shills here have mastered them.

1. If opponents of your bill say nothing, accuse them of quitting.
2. If opponents of your bill speak up, accuse them of whining.
3. If opponents of your bill continue speaking up, accuse them of grandstanding.
4. If opponents of your bill point out technical flaws in it, accuse them of nitpicking.
5. If opponents of your bill point out how ineffective it will be, accuse them of malice.
6. If opponents of your bill point out how it could be abused, accuse them of over-reacting.
7. If opponents of your bill talk to their representatives, accuse them of lobbying.
8. If opponents of your bill try alternative approaches, attack them.
9. If opponents of your bill catch you in a contradiction, mock them.
10. If opponents of your bill criticize it eloquently, ignore them.
11. If opponents of your bill criticize it poorly, address them.
12. If opponents of your bill start a letter-writing campaign, discourage them.
13. If opponents of your bill read it, accuse them of over-earnestness.
14. If opponents of your bill question your good faith, accuse them of stubbornness.
15. If opponents of your bill win, personally insult them.
16. If opponents of your bill lose, gloat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just follow these tips, the industry and their shills here have mastered them.

As for you, if you can’t come up with anything new to add to the discussion, you can just try to discredit the other side by attacking their opinions as a whole.

You don’t think that Mike’s SOPA-thon over the last 10 days or so hasn’t been exactly all of this, from personal attacks on the bills’ sponsors to accusations or suggestions of malice, regulatory capture, and bribery?

Thankfully, what Mike and a few others here want isn’t what the public really wants, no matter how much you all bring the “public interest” thing into the game.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Just follow these tips, the industry and their shills here have mastered them.

“When proven wrong, just keep piling it on.”

I think that applies to people like yourself more so than anyone else. As has been evidenced by “this ONLY applies to foreign sites”. That alone is proof enough of “when proven wrong, just keep piling it on”. At that point, giving up won’t be seen as a bad thing. It just means you acknowledge that you were wrong and can be dignified about admitting defeat. Rather than continuing to lie or spread FUD.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:


the startup world can’t continue to ignore DC

I don’t really see how a bunch of startups, who’s company may only last a few months to five years can have the foresight to think/organize/plan a cohesive lobbying effort. When lobbying is led by industries that have existed for half-centuries or more they have the time to pull together and gain clout in political circles. The tech world is fast-paced and ever changing…DC works at a snails pace. If the federal government would do away with 3/4 of it’s laws and regulations and hand those responsibilities off to local governments (who can respond and interact within rapidly changing economic/technological climates) then you would see a government more adept to handling advancement, innovation, and progress. The only problem is you are asking the lumbering dinosaur and all the industries that fight rapid change to give up its power and authority.

Vlas porter says:


What’s happening in DC is simply a continued march towards taking away our rights and away from the free market. Its just reached the internet now. This trend is a long time coming. I don’t think its about lobbying money opportunity.

We need to vote with our feet and put libertarians and Libertarians in office. That’s the only way it will change.

Ron Paul 2012

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...