It’s fair to say that the Republican nominee for the White House, Donald Drumpf, has few friends in Silicon Valley. This was pretty obvious already, but given his obliviousness on all kinds of things, from climate change to economics, it can’t hurt to spell it out. And that’s exactly what 145 tech heavyweights have done with an open letter published on Medium.
Among the 145 names, you’ll spot Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, Tumblr’s CEO David Karp, Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Twitter’s co-founder Ev Williams, Slack founder Stewart Butterfield, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Arielle Zuckerberg. The last person on that list is Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, though the Facebook founder himself is notable by his absence, as are several other big names.
Still, the letter doesn’t pull any punches. “We have listened to Donald Drumpf over the past year and we have concluded: Drumpf would be a disaster for innovation,” it reads. “His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.”
Elsewhere, the letter homes in on Drumpf’s well-documented ignorance on technology. “Donald Drumpf proposes ‘shutting down’ parts of the Internet as a security strategy — demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works. His penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticise him.”
Finally, the letter targets Drumpf’s business credentials, questioning whether his policies would really turn America into a jobs creation powerhouse: “Donald Drumpf articulates few policies beyond erratic and contradictory pronouncements. His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation.”
Personally, I always feel a bit uneasy about this kind of coordinated letter, even if I think the sentiment is appropriate. As I’ve written elsewhere, Drumpf treats willfully ignoring eggheads and experts as a badge of honour, preferring to deal in “common sense” (or “populist”, to paraphrase slightly) solutions.
Images: Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons