The view from shell-shocked Silicon Valley
- 9 November 2016
- From the section Technology
If you can’t beat ‘em, leave ‘em.
Remarkably, that seemed to be the knee-jerk reaction of at least some of Silicon Valley’s elite in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president-elect on Tuesday.
"I am announcing and funding a legitimate campaign for California to become its own nation,” wrote Shervin Pishevar, a major investor in companies like Uber, AirBnB and Slack.
"I'm in and will partner with you on it,” replied Dave Morin, another major tech investor.
It’s been agreed, the new promised land should be called New California.
"It's the most patriotic thing we can do,” Mr Pishevar said.
The proposal - one that, let’s face it, is faintly ridiculous - represents peak panic in the wake of an election that has left much of Silicon Valley stunned and grasping for answers.
There are two bubbles in this part of the world - one is about money, the other is about its world view.
On her disastrous night, Clinton got more votes in California than in any other part of the country. Here, the prospect of a Trump presidency wasn’t just unlikely, it was unthinkable.
Before the vote, openly supporting Mr Trump was seen by many as a crime worthy of losing your job.
When it emerged that Facebook board member and major investor Peter Thiel was donating more than $1m to the Trump campaign, many called for him to be sacked.
But just a few weeks on, Mr Thiel, a person who has made his vast fortune over long-term bets, proved to be the most astute man in the Valley once again.
“He has an awesomely difficult task, since it is long past time for us to face up to our country’s problems,” he said in a statement after Mr Trump’s win.
"We’re going to need all hands on deck.”
Coming to terms
Mr Thiel remains an outlier here. What we’ll likely see over the next few days is an industry and community slowly contemplating what life in Silicon Valley will mean under President Trump.
Chris Sacca, an early investor in Twitter, said technology companies should be open to the new leader.
"We in the tech community are willing to work with President-Elect Trump to help those Americans who need it most,” he tweeted.
"The door is open.
"Very few people were as vocal in their opposition to Donald Trump as I was. But sitting on our hands for four years is a bad option."
As I type, we’re yet to hear from the real key players: Apple, Facebook and Google.
Their message will be instrumental in setting the collective mood here.
Meanwhile, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey may be enjoying one silver lining: shares in the struggling network, still by far the best platform on a day like Tuesday, jumped 4% to its best pricing since October.