The funding model for startups is venture capital. And venture capital is a hits-driven business: you expect the vast majority of your investments to fail, so the ones that succeed have to succeed on a massive scale. Venture capital is risky, and it requires a lot of money.
Until relatively recently, tech companies didn’t have enough money to compete with venture capitalists. But now they do. Today, you have four or five tech giants with cash piles big enough to really push people around. And this has only happened in the last decade or so—it wasn’t like that in the early 2000s after the first dot-com crash.
On the one hand, Silicon Valley seems to revere entrepreneurialism. On the other hand, the industry is increasingly dominated by a handful of big companies—companies that, as you’ve explained, frequently acquire startups and burn down all their assets to ensure they don’t become competitors.
How do you make sense of that contradiction between the cult of the founder and the increasingly monopolistic structure of tech?