The Pariah of Silicon Valley

We asked 101 tech entrepreneurs, thinkers, and executives who they’d banish from their industry and region if they could.

Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic

Hearing from the leaders of the tech world is always revealing, and very often surprising. In our second annual Silicon Valley Insiders Poll, a panel of 101 executives, innovators, and thinkers weigh in on some of the biggest technological, political, and cultural questions of the moment.

Silicon Valley isn’t exactly known for being inclusive.

The tech industry’s clubbiness is a defining characteristic. But, no surprise here, even the insiders aren’t necessarily adored.

That much is clear when you ask leaders in Silicon Valley who they’d banish from their ranks if they could.

The three names that got mentioned most: Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber; Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle; and Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla. (Incidentally, Musk was also a favorite candidate for president of Silicon Valley.) The Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos got one mention. So did Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current Republican presidential hopeful.

Others considered the question in more general terms, choosing to banish trolls, landlords, and “anyone who drives 55 mph in the left lane on I-280.” (That last one comes from Bryan Lamkin, a senior vice president at Adobe.)

But most of those who responded to our poll answered the question in a way that said more about Silicon Valley culture than the individuals who live there. “Anybody not willing to live within the dream machine,” said Marty Beard, the chief operating officer of Blackberry. “The valley likes new ideas and the people crazy enough to pursue them. If you’re not willing to dream big, you may need to move.”

“I’ve only been here three years,” wrote Jeremy Howard, the CEO of Enlitic. “I can’t afford to make enemies like this just yet… Ask me again in a couple of years!”

“No one,” wrote Kiki Schirr, a co-founder of Fittr. “The Valley is super inclusive. *cough* *cough.*”

“Ellen Pao,” said Kentaro Toyama, the writer and computer scientist, referring to the ousted Reddit CEO who lost a high-profile discrimination lawsuit against the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. “Oh, sorry, they already did that.”

And finally, from Nick Halstead, the founder and CEO of DataSift: “The great thing about the Internet and social is I can just filter out who I don’t want to listen to.”