The Bay Area experienced two tectonic shifts in recent months: both of which were extreme yet similar. One motivated by human weakness and the other marked by human achievement.
The first was the Silicon Valley Bank failure, which almost knocked the life out of several thousand startups. The energy of community collaboration and commitment saved the day not just locally but absorbed the impact only to let minor ripples pass out thru to the world. Despite ongoing turbulence, Silicon Valley will rise again stronger and always emerge more robust. This is the idiosyncratic nature of the forces at play in the Valley.
The second is marked by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. As a technology it has for the first time, demonstrated the true potential of AI. This is where the tectonic shift occurs! If the world runs with the buzz then we’re in for another Y2K moment, perhaps exponentially more catastrophic. Given that our data and past decisions are flawed, the outcomes of AI will be equally unpredictable. The innovation highway in the Valley has too many skeletons in its rearview mirror (and a healthy dose of sad homelessness), but the future is still bright. We should be wary of hasty investment doomsday predictions, as well as any AI scenarios involving mass-employee-extinctions or Jetson-style predictions.
During times of tectonic change, what we need most is patience, deliberate thinking, and a focus on the facts. During a recent long-haul flight, I experienced several turbulences, but one that was extremely unsettling. Had the pilots reacted like doomsday pundits or acted complacently, the outcome could have been disastrous. Leaders should act like good pilots and not encourage mass hysteria bank-runs or make billion dollar bets mid-flight!