Silicon Valley Scrooges
In this season of holiday warmth and cheer, be thankful for your friends, loved ones and maybe even your job. Above all else, however, be especially grateful that you’re not working for a Silicon Valley scrooge. (If you are, you have our deepest sympathies.)
The Silicon Valley scrooge is a species (genus: Rich Prick) worthy of blood-boiling disdain. Why? Forget that these men and women run, or have run, some of the tech industry’s hottest companies—class warfare seems to be their hobby. Their success, they seem to think, gives them the right to verbally kick the downtrodden in the ribs.
A recent article in The New York Times captures the growing backlash toward these tech titans. Below, a list of some of the Bay Area’s biggest jerks:
Who he is: AngelHack founder
What he said: The hackathon organizer Gopman returned to San Francisco from a December trip and posted this heart-warming message to his Facebook page this week: “Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts and trash I have no clue.” He probably has no clue because he’s a little bit of an elitist punk. On the bright side, he has since removed the post and apologized.
Who he is: Celery founder
What he said: Shih took his 0.5 seconds of fame (an entrance bid to Silicon Valley’s elite startup-generator, the Y Combinator) and flushed it down the toilet in a homeless-hating post on Medium in August: “San Francisco has some of the craziest homeless people I have ever seen in my life,” he wrote, adding: “Stop giving them money.” He has since taken down the post, but it’s still floating around the Interwebs here.
Who he is: Zynga former CEO
What he said: Pincus headed to UC Berkeley in 2009. His mission? Inspire a crowd of budding techies with nonsensical buzzwords. But things didn’t go exactly as planned when Pincus told his audience that he was scamming users of Zynga, his online gaming platform, for profits. “We did anything possible just to get revenues so that we could grow and be a real business,” he told the college students. The best example of “anything”? Subtly forcing customers to pay for CDs and IQ tests in exchange for in-game currency.
Who he is: Noodle developer, and celebrity coder to the homeless
What he said: Back in August, McConlogue decided he’d make a science experiment out of a homeless man by teaching him to code. “They are smart, brilliant even,” McConlogue, who helps run e-education platform Noodle, wrote in a post on Medium. He added: “This is my attempt to fix one of those lost pieces.” Turns out, McConlogue’s experiment is more of a semester-long course. He’s still teaching his test subject.
Who she is: Hewlett-Packard former CEO
What she said: This throwback scrooge headed up HP between 1999 and 2005. In the process of “inventing” computer stuff, Fiorina fired at least 18,000 people. And after nearly bringing down the tech giant, Fiorina received $42 million from HP just to walk out the door.
Who he is: Salesforce.com CEO
What he said: During a recent conference with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (one that he runs annually), cloud-computing king Benioff laughed a group of protesters from Walmart off his stage. After the underpaid protesters were escorted outside, Benioff offered them his advice: “We don’t want any more protests…but if you want to protest, No. 1, you can do it outside. No. 2, it’s better to split up when you start. Then when those people get arrested, then a second group stands up. Then a third…I’m just saying.”