Silicon Valley isn't just braggart V.C.s on Twitter. And the tech industry is far from perfect, but it remains essential to the future of Mankind.

AFTER ALL - FOR ALL ITS FAULTS - SILICON VALLEY HAS for decades been among America's most valuable economic assets - along with research funding and other subsidies by the government, it's one of the primary reasons the United States maintains global technology supremacy.

It has also produced genuine advances that have improved our lives; from Zoom to Slack and even to gig-economy companies like DoorDash, the entire work-at-home apparatus that held up much of the economy through the pandemic was built on the back of venture capital.

And while Americans and even the world might be burned out on technology, they can't shuck off the need for new things. To address some of humanity's biggest challenges - climate change most pressingly - we will need venture capitalists to fund the best and riskiest ideas.

It is V.C. firms that are financing research into next-generation batteries, new forms of energy and other ways to mitigate the worst effects of global warming.

Among Valley investors, Twitter addled V.C.s like Sacks and the angel investor Jason Calacanis are far from the biggest names in town.

Though they have a large presence online, they mostly invest millions or tens of millions of dollars at the earliest stages of companies; they are hardly emblematic of the Valley's largest venture firms, which have raised and invested tens of billions of dollars over the years. 

Nabeel Hyatt, a partner at Spark Capital who is one of the Valley's most thoughtful V.C.s, told me that inferring the attitudes of the venture capital industry from its presence on Twitter '' is like watching ' The Real Housewives of Orange County ' and declaring that that's how wives in Orange County act.''

Many top VCs did not spend the days after S.V.Bs [ Silicon Valley Bank] collapse tweeting furiously.  Some in the industry instead circulated a more sober and substantive letter to officials outlining the risks and contagion following S.V.B's collapse.

Hyatt and other V.C.s spoke with were also doing what V.C.s are supposed to do - guiding lots of young, fragile companies through sudden crisis that they were unprepared for.

You could call this clubby and herdlike, but you could also call it the secret to Silicon Valley's success. One reason Silicon Valley works is that it collects expertise and institutional knowledge, learns from failures, and feeds those insights to succeeding generations of companies.

That sort of guidance is exactly why many start-ups are likely to survive their bank's blowup.

Jessica Lessin, the founder and chief executive of  The Information - a publication that covers the start-up world that is itself a start-up whose money was tied up in S.V.B.pointed to something that many have noticed :

Silicon Valley now faces more serious scrutiny than it used to, and it does seem to be learning from its mistakes.

I've been struck by how much more careful Sam Altman, the chief executive of the ChatGPT inventor OpenAI, is when talking about artificial intelligence than Mark Zuckerberg was when talking about social networking at the dawn of Facebook.

Zuckerberg peddled his invention as indisputably good for humanity. Altman, meanwhile, says that while A.I.can be transformative, he's a ''little bit scared'' of how it could be misused by authoritarian governments and how it might affect politics and the economy, and his company keeps that fear at the forefront when building its tech.

'' There was a period about 10 years ago when tech wasn't getting any scrutiny - it was all hype,'' Lessin said.

But we're now well ''beyond the days of celebrating every new thing that has an app,'' she added, noting that what's important now is focusing on the right problems.

And V.C.s might help solve them.

The World Students Society thanks author Farhad Manjoo.


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