Illustration: Shira Inbar

Into the Valley

Silicon Valley Destroyed Everything. Or Maybe Not.

Ambivalence.com

OneZero
Published in
6 min readFeb 28, 2020

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This article is part of Into the Valley, a feature series from OneZero about Silicon Valley, the people who live there, and the technology they create.

InIn one of my final interviews for a job at Google, I was asked why I wanted to join the company. It was a softball question after a bunch of harder ones, the kind of thing you prep an answer for and sail right through.

It was a particularly easy question to answer back then. It was 2006, and the media was in rapture over Silicon Valley. It seemed that every week there was a new, fawning profile of a startup founder or pictures of colorful workplaces with ping pong and foosball tables.

The correct answer would have been to parrot the company’s mission statement, invoke the democratization of information, and admire our increasing ability to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time. I could have cited de Tocqueville, or talked about the electric rush that coursed through my body the first time I coded something — a mock Martha Stewart e-commerce site that, at the point of check-out, sent you to a pastel-hued “hell” from which all the site navigation buttons intentionally disappeared.

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Jessica Powell
OneZero

Technophile, technophobe. Music software start-up founder. Former Google VP. Author, The Big Disruption. Fan of shochu, chocolate, and the absurd.