cultures@siliconvalley by J. A. English-Lueck

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Most of the books on Silicon Valley are history of earning obscene riches, outrageous egos or technological daring-do. More recent books document that bad behaviour of the tech community. Sociopathy, racism and even sexual assault.

Instead cultures@siliconvalley looks at the people who make up Silicon Valley, their cultural differences and how this global cocktail makes a small strip of Northern California so special. It is as much about ethnographic study as it is about technology.

It gives good insight into how technology clients think and the kind of pressures that they are under.

Probably the handiest part of the  cultures@siliconvalley is understanding the Silicon Valley residents motivations around their use of technology. Since Silicon Valley is partly about living in the future, so the residents reactions are a useful guide for helping to understand audiences interaction with social media.

The second edition of the book explores the new perceptions of scarcity, risk, and shortage. Modern day Silicon Valley has moved beyond the ‘badge snobbery’ of Microserfs. Where vested permanent employees were a higher caste system than temporary contractors.

The latest crop of startups are far darker and more exploitative.  Uber, AirBnB et al, stand in marked contrast to the ‘plentiful’ thinking of previous generations of startups like LinkedIn, Twitter or Salesforce. More book reviews here.