What do Hampton Creek, Theranos, Zenefits, Lending Club, WrkRiot, ScoreBig, Rothenberg Ventures have in common?
They all channeled the “fake it ‘til you make it” ethos of Silicon Valley.
Only they didn’t make it.
Previous well-known cheats include MiniScribe, WorldCom and Enron and they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
Cheating is the getting of a reward for ability or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation by dishonest means. It is generally used for the breaking of rules to gain unfair advantage in a competitive situation. — Wikipedia
Yesterday’s post focused on the prevalence of cheating at all school levels and its acceptance as a laissez-faire, “everyone does it” attitude.
Of course, cheating isn’t new, but the more ubiquitous it’s become the more it’s been shrugged off.
And it’s this cheating mindset that has shaped Silicon Valley over the last decade or so.
Along with faking it is the “do whatever it takes to win” form of cheating as exemplified by Uber’s Travis Kalanick.
Cheating on ideas, such as meritocracy and fairness, has certainly contributed to the rise of the bro culture, also exemplified by Uber and recently documented by Susan Fowler. However, as Uber engineer Aimee Lucido points out, Uber is far from being alone.
It does seem that a large percentage of the egos that drive, and aspire to drive, innovation, along with the egos that fund that drive, have lost touch with the society they claim to serve and, instead, bought into an attitude espoused by Donald Trump.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
We would be better off if they would channel Sophocles, instead.
Image credit: Sean MacEntee