Empathizing with tech worker immigration in the Valley requires a broad perspective.
(A longer version of my Silicon Valley Letter, published in the Irish Times of September 4, 2014)
Emigrants Leave Ireland by Henry Doyle 1868. Public domain image sourced from WikiPedia.
After an event at Facebook HQ’s appropriately addressed 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park, I caught a corporate shuttle bus to Palo Alto train station.
I found myself in the company of 11 Facebook passengers. Each was about half my age, 6 were white, 5 were Asian, and one was female. A telling snapshot into the diversity of the tech industry in Silicon Valley, what struck me was the studied silence throughout our 15-minute journey.
All were heads down in amazing free food from the Facebook campus, busy coding on Apple laptops, or swiping through social media on iPhones. No eye contact was made. Not an unusual experience when in proximity to younger Silicon Valley tech workers, but a marked contrast to the friendly, garrulous nature of Americans on the street.