Posted by Tom Foremski - January 16, 2014
Above, angry man about to hit me
I was punched by an angry man while I was walking home Wednesday evening around 11pm in San Francisco. He was on the other side of the street raving and hollering, and I tried to stay away but he came up to me. I snapped a photo from my hip because I knew what was coming.
My complaint is this:
My complaint is not the pain of the punch. He bounced off me like a ping-pong ball. I'm 6'2" and played rugby, and I grew up on the inner-city streets of East London.
My complaint is that I'm impatient for our local tech companies to show up and start making a difference. If you can't change the world here, on your street corner, (I'm looking at you Twitter) you should shut up about making a difference anywhere else.
I'm also calling out all the tech companies outside of San Francisco. What have you done in your neighborhoods that helps people like this poor man?
Silicon Valley's tech companies constantly talk about how they are changing the world for the better but there's a stink of halitosis wafting around, it's the nasty stink of hypocrisy. They should gargle or show up.
Our communities don't work. Our schools have 50% drop out rates. Our cities suffer from the same problems as other cities that don't have, and never had: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Brin and Larry, Larry Ellison, Marc Benioff...
What continually amazes me is not the advanced technologies we create but that Silicon Valley has an urban ghetto smack dab in the middle of it. East Palo Alto is an urban ghetto in every violent and cliched sense of the term.
Tonight, I met a couple from Atherton and they said they were continually disturbed by the sound of gun fire from East Palo Alto, when they were in their hot tub. They moved to San Francisco.
How is it possible that this divide continues? East Palo Alto is just a short walk from Stanford University, and it is right next to the beating heart of the world's engine of innovation, a mythical place called Silicon Valley.
The indifference shown by so many of our tech companies "making a difference" is astounding.
Why are our cities suffering from the same problems that every other city faces?
Why are our public schools basket cases and not showcases?
What is the benefit of tech companies in our communities if they can't improve their own street corners?
Why did an angry man punch me?
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