Steve Jobs — the former CEO and co-founder of Apple, Inc. — was a child of the sixties. His musical tastes ran towards the hard rock of that era — the Beatles and the Jefferson Airplane — and he claimed LSD was “one of the two or three most important things he’d ever done in his life.” (He felt people who hadn’t experienced acid couldn’t fully relate to him, which may help explain his chaotic social life.) Right up until the time of his death, he used pot on a daily basis. He preferred very informal attire, often times appearing at Wall Street conferences and staff meetings wearing faded jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.
Much of the modern corporate world — that is, the current culture of Silicon Valley and similar enclaves, like Redmond’s Microsoft campus — are modeled after Steve’s ambiance and philosophy. So, not surprisingly, the dress code and physical surroundings are shockingly different from the traditional business decorum of the last 150 years. The Valley buildings have no cubicles and people simply work at various open desks scattered about a spacious loft. There are few offices and the hierarchy of command is blurred and unmarked. (Instead, status is conveyed when you casually mention that you invested a hundred-thousand in Twitter twelve years ago.) Faded jeans are the prevalent fashion for male employees and most of them haven’t worn a tie since their last high school prom.
Pot is openly used everywhere and, of late, we’ve heard rumors that many employees use “micro-hits” of LSD because they believe it increases their “creative spark.” Sex is merely matter-of-fact activity that, profound as it is, should be easily consummated so it doesn’t interfere with your work which, in many cases, really isn’t work because you enjoy doing it. Thus we hear stories of sexual unions occurring spontaneously in stairwells and restrooms.
And yet, uncanny as it may seem, Silicon Valley’s undisciplined business-style produces a few new millionaires every week or so and a few new billionaires every month.
Stranger still, despite the proliferation of money, they aren’t buying houses. They prefer highrise apartments in San Francisco. Furthermore, they don’t seem to buy cars, preferring the Bay Area mass-transit system. And finally, if you haven’t already guessed, they aren’t especially fond of beer, instead preferring weed, hard booze, and wine.
In general, both employees and employers look upon government, whether local, state, or federal, as a first-class pain in the ass. They feel government is full of obsolete rules, is run by incompetent, obsolete people, and is slow and inefficient as hell. Silicon people are convinced they can improve the world, morally and physically, solely by hi-tech innovations, without the need for government programs or charitable work. Just leave them alone and they’ll solve our social problems.
Well, I might question that. But, nevertheless, I’m firmly convinced, if you want to catch a glimpse of what the future holds for all of us, pay close attention to the hi-tech people in Redmond. The innovations they’re fooling with will make the Industrial Revolution look like child’s play.
Tomorrow is knocking on the door, ready or not.