Can Silicon Valley Be Fixed — Or Should We Burn It All Down?

Alex Kantrowitz and Wendy Liu, the authors of ‘Always Day One’ and ‘Abolish Silicon Valley,’ square off in an exclusive debate about the future of tech

Brian Merchant
OneZero
Published in
14 min readJul 2, 2020

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Silicon Valley is defined by contradiction: It’s at once a massive economic engine, a wellspring of popular technology that promises to unite the world — and a powerful driver of discord and inequality. Last spring, two books that take very different approaches to address this paradox were published within weeks of one another.

In Abolish Silicon Valley, startup founder Wendy Liu excoriated the tech industry’s relentless drive toward profit. Her book argues that nothing short of a total rethinking of how innovation is undertaken — and an overhaul of capitalism itself — can set things right in the era of Facebook disinformation, labor abuses at Amazon, and exploitation at gig companies like Uber. Meanwhile, Always Day One, by former BuzzFeed News senior tech reporter Alex Kantrowitz championed the tech industry’s culture of innovation — the book’s title derives from Amazon’s slogan that urges employees to treat each day as if it were the company’s first. Kantrowitz argues we need to give other companies the tools to compete with the giants and reimagine how we approach…

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Brian Merchant
OneZero

Senior editor, OneZero, books, futures, fiction. Author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, founder of Terraform @ Motherboard @ VICE.