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A Slice of Silicon Valley – Season 1, Episode 10

by Dave Toole

Over the last several of years, we have been pressure-testing democracy as technology has been available to the masses and weaponized by many. Most share an understanding that our government’s job is to ensure that its policies make us competitive without interfering in our lives.

This week’s episode tries to make sense for the next generation how to regain our competitiveness and how this impacts our free market.


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Transcript
Welcome to a Slice of Silicon Valley, Episode 10.

A number of folks came back to me about the term I used in my last post. Over the last several of years, we have been pressure-testing democracy as technology has been available to the masses and has been weaponized by many. I don’t like to spend a lot of time on this topic as our lives should be filled with family, friends and sustaining a living.

Over the last few years, we’ve accepted politics entering our daily influence. In the early days it was there, but in the background, it was understood that our government was there to cover our backs. Their job was to make sense of the policies that help make us competitive without interfering in our lives. That drove the middle and yes, with a strong middle class, democracy thrives. By the way, our middle class has declined significantly over the last 50 years.

Silicon Valley is known for solving complex problems. We spoke earlier about customer innovation. We’re taxpayers. We should hold our government accountable to better serve our needs. We are their customer. They need to do a better job of making sure that we are competitive and they’re covering our back.

In the last ten years, there have been budgets approved over $10 trillion. It’s not just our vote that holds them accountable. It needs to be something that becomes more active than what we do to get this out of our daily lives so they can go apply that more effectively and we have confidence that’s being done. How will we craft our policies in action that better serve us? The pandemic didn’t help, but we should consider three branches of government are out of balance.

We need to focus on getting them back into balance, not just with our vote, but with our voice. We pay these people out of our taxes and they’re spending time on other things than doing their job. What causes that is one thing, but is we any longer know what it looks like when it’s working? It’s hard for us to really measure that, now that communications are so easy, part of Silicon Valley’s contribution. We have applied it in ways that take us away from getting what’s important done. And our systems have been challenged. Our institutions have been challenged. Yes, they need to be improved. They don’t need to be torn down.

What is a reasonable expectation of how much legislation for what issues are tackled, how much emphasis, how much priority? Do we know how to measure the Senate and finding agreement between individual state rights? Does our Supreme Court recognize our Constitution was considered a living document? As society changes, technology changes, and the interpretation of our laws need to change as well. What about Congress? How are they making sense out of this, so they’re establishing new legislation that’s going to help us be more competitive. This is what we need to be considering. Not who has a shiny light in media. Not how much traffic something gets, but how the quality of our lives can be improved.

We need to make sense for the next generation to have their backs covered so they can regain our competitiveness. How does this impact a slice of Silicon Valley? Last week, it was announced that the Chips Act would not be moved forward because of our negotiations around pharmaceutical rates. These aren’t connected. We’re losing our competitive advantage every day that we don’t make better sense out of how to improve our competitive structure that helps us rebuild our middle class.

Maybe I have a technology vent, but those who want to take our jobs or applying it to better compete in other nations, they found ways that they can take our technology and apply it and become better competitors while we’re internally arguing about what to do and how to focus on things that hit us between the eyes on our TV networks.

How about those things that make our life better? What are the policies, actions, and efforts to stand up and do a better job in supporting the national needs to improve innovation? We need to consider this when we vote and more important, figure out how to get our government back into balance. We shouldn’t need to be attending to it. We are their customer. We are the taxpayer. We need to find a way our society can address this. In downturns serving customers is number one in all aspects of what we do. If we don’t do it well, people look elsewhere. That’s part of what’s going on right now.

We’re not being served well. People are looking elsewhere. They want to redefine how we go about doing those things we do right now. We need to make sure that democracy is serving us, that we do have discourse. Part of a competitive free market means there’s discourse. Let’s bring that back to what’s important. What is in the center?

The best thing we can do is share success stories of where it works and share those between us. Does anyone have any? Please share them.

We’ll see you next week.


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