'It's basically a bunch of autistic people wandering around' -- Michael Lewis on Silicon Valley

Silicon valleyHBO‘Silicon Valley’ as depicted by HBO

Michael Lewis is not a huge fan of Silicon Valley, America’s capital of high-tech. At least, he’s not into the culture of Silicon Valley.

“It’s basically a bunch of autistic people wandering around,” Lewis said on Bloomberg TV.

He was asked whether he would ever write another book about technology. He wrote The New New Thing, which covered the tech industry in the late nineties. Since then, his books have veered towards business or sports.

“I find it’s such a hard place to write about,” said Lewis of Silicon Valley. “The New New Thing was the single hardest book I wrote. It’s a hard place to write about because there’s a lack of emotional content. It’s a cold place.”

Lewis says he needs to feel some sort of emotional connection to write. And it’s just not there for the tech business. He said people in the Valley get artificially excited about technology, “it doesn’t feel warm or hot.”

He also took at shot at Palo Alto, which is in the heart of the Valley.

“It’s a nice place to visit, the streets are clean, and everybody’s rich — it’s hard to find something you love there.”

Lewis lives in Berkeley which is near there, but he says Berkeley is funky. If all he knew was Palo Alto, he probably would have left California.

For what it’s worth, he’s not totally negative on the industry! He says Silicon Valley has always lived in its own tech bubble, and it’s “fantastic” because we get all sorts of great companies.

He also has this great anecdote: “At the end of The New New Thing, Jim Clark, who has made a fortune out of the internet bubble, says he’s getting out because he’s scared. Why’s he scared? Kleiner Perkins, the VC firm, has given $US25 million to this startup called Google, which he thinks is outrageous. Why would anyone give $US25 million to Google? A search engine is just a commodity, everybody knows that, it’s a silly name.”

Watch the full clip:

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