- Silicon Valley has undergone many changes since it first became the hub of the tech world decades ago.
- Minal Hasan, the co-founder of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has lived in the region her whole life.
- The biggest change she’s seen is that Silicon Valley residents today are more materialistic and more likely to show off their wealth than in the old days.
Silicon Valley has been the center of the computing world for decades.
But the region is a lot different today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, says one native who’s witnessed the changes firsthand.
Minal Hasan is the 35-year-old cofounder of the venture capital firm K2 Global. Her parents emigrated from India to Cupertino, California, where Hasan was born and raised. Her mother founded a semiconductor company and her father was an angel investor.
“I really kind of grew up in the startup space, where I was a baby crawling around under the board table at board meetings,” Hasan told Business Insider.
Hasan’s resume includes stints as a lawyer for notable Silicon Valley startups including Twitter, Square, and Uber. She even spent a year as a columnist for her local paper, the San Jose Mercury News.
For Hasan, the biggest change she’s noticed in her years in Silicon Valley is that people are much more public about their spending than they were in the old days.
“There’s definitely a lot more wealth on display than there was in the past,” she told Business Insider. “I feel like Silicon Valley is becoming more culturally like New York or Los Angeles, not that that’s a bad thing, just in terms of the displays of wealth.”
Although Silicon Valley had its fair share of ultra-rich residents in the ’80s and ’90s, when Hasan was growing up, she said it was harder to tell who was wealthy and who wasn’t. And more importantly, she said, money wasn’t the only goal for the early pioneers.
“They would live in normal houses and drive normal cars and you couldn’t really distinguish them from anyone else on the street. There was a lot of humility and money wasn’t really something to strive for,” she said. “The goal was to innovate and create something new and interesting in the world, to improve society.”
“I feel like there’s definitely some of that in Silicon Valley, but to some extent it has become a little bit more materialistic and showy.”
But some aspects of Silicon Valley have changed for the better in the same time frame, she said. Her mother, for example, faced discrimination early in her career, when women and minorities were a rare sight in the tech industry.
“Since women and minorities were rarely seen starting companies, it was harder to be taken seriously, particularly when fundraising from venture capitalists,” Hasan said. “Back then, women had to have a thick skin. The same continues to be true today for women and minorities, however it’s probably gotten somewhat easier as the numbers improve.”
“I think there is more diversity now. It’s nice that there are so many more transplants in Silicon Valley and a wider range of people who are coming to Silicon Valley starting companies than there were historically.”
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