The technology industry should be powerful

The technology industry should be the most powerful political coalition in the history of man. 

Great founders are some of the most relentless, intelligent, talented people in the world, and they’ve built institutions faster than anyone in human history. 

Meta has tens of thousands of employees, Alphabet has hundreds of thousands, and Amazon has millions. However, their wins in the political arena are limited to DoD contracts and lowering EU fines. 

I think this has to do with the psychographics of our industry. Tech founders are sigmas. We do things our own way. We get mad at incumbents and build startups. We don’t immerse ourselves in powerful institutions; we get frustrated with them and leave. There are virtues to this orientation, but it results in a lack of understanding of bureaucracy, particular institutions, and ultimately power itself. 

Libertarians are often the worst offenders. After axiomatically refuting the morality of government, they content themselves with writing essays, hosting debates, and giving speeches. Seriousness about theory necessitates praxis, which is itself knowledge-generating. 

The Thiel Fellowship is not a replacement for Harvard. It’s a genius PR play — communicating a world view by making a contrarian prediction about an institution’s demise, concretized through charismatic example after example after example of people making life-altering decisions that undeniably convey their commitment to that world view. But ultimately, it does not displace Harvard as a source of institutional power. It’s a sigma move. 

Firing Claudine Gay was Alpha. Finance understands power, immerses itself in it, and occasionally takes radical action when profitable. 

Substack does not obviate the need for NYT's value prop. New business models could collapse the NYT, but there is still a need for an institution that tells elites what the Truth is. Reframing Exit vs. Voice, we should consider Startup vs. Acquisition. 

To change the world, tech needs to understand institutional power, and get it. 

I’m working on a few projects along these lines. Reach out if interested.