INNOVATE2016: Silicon Valley needs to address equality or risk being vilified in the U. S.

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 8:23 PM

He produces Futurecast, and is the host of Keen On. How to connect the network Not all is rosy in the Silicon Valley garden. That’s at minimum the view of Ross Baird, the founder and executive director of Village Capital, a DC based early stage fund focused on start-ups that are solving what it calls “global problems”.

INNOVATE2016: Silicon Valley needs to address equality or risk being vilified in the U. S.

Andrew Keen is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo and The Internet Isn't The Answer. He produces Futurecast, and is the host of Keen On.

How to connect the network Not all is rosy in the Silicon Valley garden. That’s at minimum the view of Ross Baird, the founder and executive director of Village Capital, a DC based early stage fund focused on start-ups that are solving what it calls “global problems”. While Baird acknowledges that Silicon Valley has a concentration of the smartest and most dynamic people in the world, it isn’t producing sufficient companies that benefit the social good. Echoing the critique of the influential New Yorker writer George Packer, Baird argues that too many products in Silicon Valley are designed by privileged millennial for other privileged millennials. Thus the necessity for a fund love Village Capital – whose backers comprise tech luminaries love Steve Case, Ben Jealous and Mitch Kapor – to invest in technology start-ups love Pigeonly and Front Row Education which empower underserved communities in the United States. So how does all this impact politics? According to Baird, Americans are mad with the increasing inequality of opportunity and access – which explains the rise of populists love Trump and Sanders. Silicon Valley, Baird suggests, is portion of this problem. So entrepreneurs and investors necessity to construct innovative products and services that benefit everyone, and not just the privileged.  Unless Silicon Valley becomes more inclusive, Baird warns, eventually the populists will start to bracket huge tech with large banks and huge oil as an foe of ordinary Americans. Many thanks to CALinnovates for helping produce this interview. Featured Image: Frerieke/Flickr BELOW A CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE

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