[...] Tech writer Jon Evans wrote a eulogy for the Silicon Valley of yesteryear, in which he lamented that:
The tech industry used to be home to a disproportionate number of misfits and weirdos. Geeks. Nerds. People who needed to know how machines worked; needed to take them apart, make them better, and put them back together again. People who existed a little apart from society's established hierarchy ... and often saw that hierarchy as another machine to be deconstructed and improved ...
That is no longer the case. Now that technology is the dominant cultural and economic force of our time, and startup execs have become rock stars, the establishment is flocking to the tech industry. Rap stars and movie stars want to be tech investors ... Tech is becoming the finishing school and springboard for the upper-middle-class, the way law and finance were a decade ago. Now that the tech industry is cool, the pretty people are taking over, flooding out of top-tier universities with MBAs and social graces and carefully-coiffed hair, shouldering the misfits and weirdos out of the way.
ok i take some umbrage with this perspective. the problem is not "pretty people" (which has obvious sexist implications) but capital. and yes, sure, the stereotype of geeks etc is meant to invoke some sort of shelter from capital (people motivated by the technical challenge as opposed to the money) but to suppose a dichotomy between the two is silly. what is mark zuckerberg, then? larry and sergey? are we supposed to root for some of the wealthiest companies on the planet simply because their geek founders are still in control?
he's right that the rise of the "pretty people" marks a shift in the demographic most attracted to tech, as a result of the money flooding into tech. but the problem is capital. "pretty people" are only one symptom of the problem, and in any case geeks can be corrupted by capital, too, not to mention other social forces (cf my 'revenge of the nerds' fragment). the point is not to blame pretty people (as much as they can be easy to blame) because it's not their fault - they're following systemic incentives.
plus, implying that social graces & carefully-coiffed hair is a bad thing gives me very bad vibes (extremely gendered...)