SPECIAL REPORT:

The Silicon Valley Fix?

Silicon Valley may be #winning, but can it really fix big societal problems?

It’s clear that Silicon Valley is #winning. Jobs and innovation are booming. VC money is flowing along with champagne celebrating an uptick in IPOs. But with an aging infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, gender and diversity problems, local officials and pundits ask how the region can leverage its technological know-how to fix big societal problems?

California, Silicon Valley turning ‘sustainability’ from buzzword to reality

By Ariha Setalvad and Alex Hicks

Civic and industry leaders this week made a plea for technology companies to expand their footprint in the civic sphere, while noting that Silicon Valley had made strides in at least one area: energy innovation.

Companies need to reimagine themselves as what they should be: a public utility that serves the civic good.

-Benjamin Barber, a political theorist at the City University of New York, and author of “If Mayors Ruled the World”

 
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Big gender pay gap persists in Silicon Valley despite booming economy

By Farida Jhabvala Romero

Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher continue to earn much less than men, and Silicon Valley’s pay gap is larger than the rest of the state or nationwide.

Persistent stereotypes about who belongs in engineering and technology and who belongs in leadership leads to unconscious bias embedding itself in people processes.

-Caroline Simard, research director at Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research

 
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Are regulatory agencies friends of Silicon Valley startups?

By Laura Forman, Yuqing Pan and Jay Lee

Forget disruption. Today’s Silicon Valley startups are literally reinventing the way we live. And they’re doing it by taking the “enemy” in hand. So said a panel of startup executives discussing the new realities facing Silicon Valley new ventures.

… If you can engage with them on goals, on what you’re trying to do … then regulation can be your friend.

-Ben Nelson, founder and CEO of the Minerva Project

 
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Income disparity prompts need for public-private sector collaboration

By Katharine Schwab

The income gap in Silicon Valley is now the widest in the nation, prompting the growing need for collaboration between private companies and the public sector.

…Things are going to be getting more unequal in society before they become less so … It’s going to take more than government, to fix these things.

-Rana Foroohar, assistant managing editor of Time Magazine

 
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John Hennessy calls for universal preschool, education reform

By Liam Kane-Grade, Allison McCartney and Sean Senters

In a fireside chat, Stanford President John Hennessy discussed issues surrounding education reform in Silicon Valley and the broader country.

Maybe we have to think about universal pre-K with some kind of needs testing, so if your income is below the median income in the U.S., you would get it for free, and otherwise, you’d be asked to contribute something to it.

-John Hennessy, Stanford University President

 
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The Silicon Valley Fix?