Silicon Valley has a reputation for being a sexy place to work, even though the day-to-day products of the tech industry are not, by any conventional standards, sexy. Many of the biggest tech companies make their money harvesting and selling consumer data — a damnable enterprise if they ever were one, and a great contrast to the quirky startup office culture (kegs, ball pits, the game rooms) that suggests that the industry is a “fun” place to work.
It is hard to pinpoint precisely when consumers became the main commodity in Silicon Valley, though the transition to web 2.0 seems to have spurred it. Prior to the 2000s, the biggest tech companies — Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard — made their billions selling software and hardware. During the 2000s, the names that got added to this list — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter — reaped partly or all of their revenue from search and social (read: spying on people for profit).
Author: Nicole Karlis