In the southern part of San Francisco, facing the Pacific Bay area, there is a region nestled among the hills.
In this once hidden corner of the world we'll find a city of love and freedom, an open space that stands between the sea and the mountains, and where the thousands of fruit trees blossom every spring as a living legacy of the main economic activity that prevailed until the Second World War. From that dark moment onwards, this city became the ideal hotspot for the great industries, and the manufacturing of military weapons, ship decks, and power engines.
At the start of the 1950s, technological companies began to flourish and their growth was supported by the presence of local universities. This perfect cocktail of talented human capital and settled industries
positioned this region as an unprecedented center for technological development.
In the midst of the twenty-first century, the land known as Silicon Valley began to be seen world-wide as the Mecca of technological innovations. Articles, movies, series, and books depict Silicon Valley as a space where anything can happen with a little bit of effort, a great idea, a pinch of rebelliousness that characterizes any entrepreneur, and enough creative genius to build a giant with multimillion dollar revenues like Apple, Google, or Facebook.
He was already a legend even before his passing in 2011. The products he spearheaded began to be known for their elegance, simplicity, and overall superiority to what was already available in the market. It made Jobs a household name, and his success story was touted across Silicon Valley. His accomplishments gave way to the creation of "garage myths," stories that idealize an entrepreneur's brilliant ideas and their humble origins.
Are these stories true and how much of them are glossed over with cotton candy idealism? As we look closer, Silicon's Valley facade of success and admirable values begins to crack. This region is staged as a paradise for young dreamers who, in compliance with current economic systems, acquire vast amounts of wealth thanks to an innovative product. If you look closer at the shared stories of these creative geniuses, we see the following common factors: strong relationships with investors, influential connections inside the industry, and access to elite universities.
Jobs developed the first Mac computer after an internship at HP and Atari –and with it, the secrets of his rival, Microsoft– and by deceiving Apple's cofounder, Stephen Wozniak. Zuckerberg established the biggest social network in the world along with some of the richest young men in the United States. YouTube founders, Hurley and Steven, were partners with PayPal, and Hurley's father-in-law was founder of the Netscape Navigator. As for Google's creators, they confessed that when they rented their famous garage, the company was already backed-up by nearly a million dollars.
What keeps alive all those garage myths? Its actually a matter of paradigms that reinforce Western cultural values: free market and the illusion that anything is possible if you're ambitious, hard working, and have complete and utter faith in your goal. The path that is suddenly conjured up leaves out all the pesky little details that take away that magical sheen.
The logic behind the garage myth matches the American dream perfectly. These myths reinforce the ideal of social mobility and the illusory nature of capitalism, which can easily be summed up with: "anyone can get as far as they wish, regardless of their race or social class, with determination and a little bit of effort." Capitalism hides the fact that knowledge is tied to social constructs, and if you want to develop any of these technological breakthroughs, then you need access to higher levels. In no way are we turning our noses up at the accomplishment of these creative geniuses. We are simply accepting the fact that more is at stake on the road to technological nirvana.
Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia
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