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It's Always Sunny In Silicon Valley

     The Valley's techies‘live in a bubble of prosperity. Optimism has its advantages, but some worry the region may lose touch with the rest of the world. 硅谷的技術人員身處繁榮的泡泡之中。樂觀的情緒自有其優勢,但硅谷可能會因此與外界脫節則不免令人有些擔心。
    Every so often, the best parties come to representmoments in time. Think of *Truman Capote''s Black and White Ball in 1966, the celeb一studded Liberty Island launch of *Tina Brown's ill-fated Talk magazine in 1999, and private equity maven *Stephen A. Schwarzman's 60th birthday bash in 2007, which featured *Rod Stewart}. *Sean Parker's bacchanal for the streaming music service Spotify on Sept. 22 in San Francisco may well join the ranks of these epic affairs. 一個時代的某個瞬間,有時可以由最好的一個派對來代表。回想一下1966年杜魯門•卡波特舉辦的黑白舞會,1999年蒂娜•布朗在自由島為其命運多外的《談話》雜志創刊時舉行的名流云集的派對,以及2007年私募高手史蒂芬•A.施瓦茨曼舉行的由羅德•斯圖爾特擔綱的60歲生日慶典,都可謂是大手筆的事件。2011年9月22日,肖恩•帕克在舊金山為其流媒體音樂服務軟件Spotify舉行的狂歡派對應該可以與之相媲美。
    The Facebook billionaire-portrayed by Justin Timberlake as a swaggering" lush in The Social Network-turned an abandoned warehouse in them city's Potrero District into a couch-filled pleasure palace. Waiters served piles of lobster, sushi, and roast pig, while journalists each were presented their own $300 bottles of DeLeon Tequila. As Mark Zuekerberg, Apple designer Jony Ive, author Danielle Steel, and other guests mingled'4, acts including Snoop Dogg, Jane's Addiction, and the Killers- flown in on private jets-performed for the well-lubricated crowd. "All the recording artists here might not have shown up if they knew I was a nerd," said an exuberant"
Parker from the stage. 作為賈斯廷•廷伯萊克在電影《社交網絡》中塑造的趾高氣揚的酒鬼,這名“.臉譜”的億萬富翁將波特雷羅區一個廢棄的倉庫變成了到處擺放著沙發的享樂宮。侍者端來成堆的龍蝦、壽司和烤豬,而每個記者都獲贈一瓶300美元的DeIxdn龍舌蘭酒。馬克•扎克伯格、蘋果設計師約尼•伊韋和作家丹尼埃爾•斯蒂爾與眾多賓客獻籌交錯,搭乘私人飛機前來的藝人—包括史奴比狗狗、珍的耽溺合唱團和殺手樂團—為這群酩配大醉者表演。“這些音樂人如果知道我以前是個只知道玩電腦的人,他們也許就不來了”,神采奕奕的帕克在臺上說。

    In Silicon Valley, all the *Sturm and Drang of 2011 seemed as relevant as the Cricket World Cup. High unemployment? Crippling debt? Not in Silicon Valley, where the fog burns off by noon and it's an article of faith that talented, hard-working techies can change the world and reap unimaginable wealth in the process. "We live in a bubble, and I don't mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world," says Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. "And what a world it is: Companies can't hire people fast enough. Young people can work hard and make a fortune. Homes hold their value. Occupy Wall Street isn't really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality."
 2011年世界的風云動蕩就如板球世界杯一樣與硅谷毫不相關。高失業率?使經濟嚴重受損的債務?這些硅谷都沒有。中午的陽光將霧霆驅散,硅谷是個勵志故事: 才華橫溢、努力工作的技術人員能夠改變世界,并在這個過程中收獲難以想象的財富。“我們生活在一個泡泡中。我說的不是高科技泡沫或估值泡沫。我指的是我們自己這個小世界的泡泡,”谷歌董事長埃里克•施密特說,“這是一個怎樣的世界啊:公司能以最快的速度招到人。年輕人只要努力工作就能賺大錢。房屋價值堅挺。‘占領華爾街’運動不是我們日常談論的話題,因為他們面臨的問題在我們這兒不成問題。”
    It was never clearer than in 2011 that Silicon Valley exists in an alternat reality-a bubble of prosperity. Restaurants are booked, freeways are packed, and companies are flush with cash. The prosperity bubble isn't just a state of mind: Times are as good as they've been in recent memory. The region gets 40 percent of the country's *venture capital haul, up from 31 percent a decade ago, according to the National Venture Capital Assn. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that growth of the area's job market led the nation, jumping 3.2 percent, triple the national
rate. Even real estate, a cesspoolZS of despair in the rest of the country, is humming26 along. It's *next toz' impossible to get a table on a weekend night at the Rosewood in Menlo Park, a *watering holez$ for Sand Hill Road's technology financiers where the olive-oil-poached steelhead goes for $36. The closest we got to "Occupy: Cupertino" was the line outside
Apple stores in October for the iPhone 4S. 從沒有像2011年這樣明顯,硅谷處在一種另類的現實,即繁榮的泡泡之中。餐館預訂一空,高速公路車滿為患,公司現金充裕。繁榮泡泡不只是一種心態:這個時代和最近記憶中的一樣美好。根據全國風險資本協會的數據,該地區得到全國風險投資的40 %,較10年前的31%有所上升。美國勞工統計局近日發布報告,該地區的就業市場增長在全國居首,躍增3.2 %,是全國平均水平的3倍。即使是房地產,在其他地區是絕望的泥淖,在硅谷也是踏歌而行。周末的晚上幾乎不可能訂到Menlol Park酒店ROSPWOOfl餐廳的桌位。沙山路上的技術金融家是這家餐廳的主顧,其橄欖油清燉虹鰭賣到36美元。我們與“占領庫比蒂諾”行動最相似的是10月份為搶購iPhone 4S在蘋果商店外排的長隊。
    It's tempting to view this latest Golden Age with skepticism, a boom as fleeting and disappointing as the one in the late 1990s, before the dot-com crash. But the strengths underlying the Valley's optimism appear more solid this time around. Google, Facebook, and Twitter each have hundreds of millions of users around the world and, at least in the first two cases, solid revenues. Valley companies that went public this year, such as LinkedIn and Pandora Media (P), have actual profits, and Zynga's *initial public offering" on Dec. 16-though shares fell slightly in early trading-was the *exclamation mark at the end of a thunderous sentence. The offering added yet another Valley billionaire to the regional club: founder Mark Pincus, whose *net worth's now hovers around $1.3 billion. Even *blue chips such as Cisco and Intel, punished by the stock market for missing big market shifts, are notching record revenue. Doomsday isn't a pending threat here, it's office art: Photos of mushroom clouds adorn the lobby of fast-rising venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.(Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg Businessweek, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.) 人們不禁以懷疑態度審視這一最新的黃金時代,就如20世紀90年代末的網絡泡沫破滅之前,那令人失望的曇花一現的繁榮。但這次硅谷的樂觀情緒背后的優勢顯得更加堅實。谷歌、“臉譜”和推特在世界各地擁有不計其數的用戶,并且至少給谷歌和“臉譜”帶來穩定的收益。硅谷今年上市的公司如Linkedln和潘多拉媒體都有實際利潤,Zynga在12月16日首次上市公開發行股票,雖然早盤股價略有下降,但仍然是雷鳴般的句子結束的驚嘆號。這筆融資又為硅谷地區的億萬富翁俱樂部增加了一名新成員:創始人馬克.•平卡斯,其身價現在在13億美元上下波動。即使如思科和英特爾等藍籌股因錯失股市大調整良機而受損,其收人仍創下新高。末日感并不是硅谷迫近的威脅,它只是掛在辦公室的藝術品:蘑菇云的照片裝點著快速上升的風險投資公司Andreessen Horowitz的大堂。(擁有《彭博商業周刊》的彭博社是Andreessen Horowitz的投資者之一。)
    Turbulence in the rest of the world may actually be helping Silicon Valley, as wealthy Russians and Chinese send their kids to school here and compete to park their riches in the region's most promising startups. "There's always the sense that the storms are happening in other people's worlds," says Paul Saffo, a futurist and veteran Valley watcher. "Nobody stops buying smartphones just because they are having an insurrection."*世界其他地區的動蕩可能實際上有助于硅谷,俄羅斯和中國的富人把孩子送到這里來上學,爭相將財富投放到該地區最有前途的創業公司。“這里的人們總是感覺風暴是發生在別人的世界,”保羅•薩福說,他是一名未來學者和資深硅谷觀察家。“沒人僅僅因為發生叛亂就停止購買智能手機”
    The downside40 of the prosperity bubble is that Silicon Valley could be falling out of touch with the rest of the world. That danger was well illustrated this year by a startup called Color Labs, which was lavishly funded with $41 million from investors such as Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital even before it even had a product with actual users. That's enough to fund research into the next wave of clean energy or advanced artificial intelligence. Instead, in March the company released an iPhone application that let users share photos with strangers in close proximity.Upon its introduction, the app met with a wave of scorn-in part because hardly anyone wants to do that, in part because people are fatigued with the Valley's relentless social networking gimmicks.
繁榮泡泡的缺點是硅谷可能會與外界脫節。這種危險在今年一個名為“色彩實驗室”的創業公司那得以展現。該公司得到Sequoia Capital和貝恩資本那樣慷慨投資者獻4100萬美元資金,而在這之前它甚至還沒有一款有實際用戶的產品。要是對清潔能源或先進人工智能新一輪研究進行資助,這筆資金都已經足夠了。相反,該公司在2月份發布了一個iPhone應用程序,可以讓用戶與近距離的陌生人共享照片。一經推出,這款應用程序就遭到了撲面
    Yet an outfit like Color Labs can whiff badly and live to fight another day. The company did not even appear particularly humbled. Among the biggest signs of change at Color over the ensuing"5 eight months were the rotating decorations in the part of its Palo Alto office visible from the sidewalk. At first, patches of AstroTurf 6 lined the floor, creating faux gardens where employees could sit, drink coffee, and ponder. Then the room morphed into a yoga studio where barefoot instructors *limbered up dozens of employees at a time. Now it seems to be evolving into a communals0 work space. The startup hasn't been completely laxs'. It introduced an app that lets users broadcast iPhone videos live to their Facebook friends. "Companies like Color are being given a second, third, or fourth shot at the game because it's a big game," says Bill Nguyen, Color's chief executive officer. "The prizes are pretty darns huge. There are fundamental changes happening in information because of Facebook and mobile devices." 但像色彩實驗室這樣的公司雖然表現非常差勁,但仍能存活。該公司甚至沒有表現出特別慚愧的意思。在隨后的8個月中,該公司最大的變化無非是帕洛阿爾托辦公室內,從人行道上可以看見的不停轉換的裝修風格。最初,人造草皮鋪在地板上,做成一個人造花園,員工可以坐下來,喝咖啡,遐想。然后,房間演變成瑜伽室,赤腳的教練讓幾十名員工舒展筋骨。現在,公司似乎演變成一個共用的工作空間。這家創業公司沒有完全松懈。它推出了一個應用程序,允許用戶將iPhone的視頻直播給他們的“臉譜”朋友。“像這樣的公司在游戲中還能有第二、第三或第四次機會,因為這是一個大的游戲,”色彩公司首席執行官比爾•源說。“回報會非常巨大。因為‘臉譜’和移動設備的出現,信息的傳遞發生了根本性變化。”
    Some in Silicon Valley are alarmed by what they see as the reluctance of the technology establishment to *take on big problems. Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, two prominent entrepreneurs who created PayPal (EBAY), have in the past year started retailing the notion that serious innovation has stagnated and that talented technologists should be doing meaningful, even epic, engineering, the way an earlier generation went to the moon. Their book on the topic, The Blueprint, will be out in March. Roger McNamee, a longtime venture capitalist and *managing directors' at private equity firm Elevation Partners, also wonders if Silicon Valley techies have gown insularss. "Too many startups make products for people like them, which is predictablesb but not interesting," he says. 技術機構不愿直面一些重大問題,覺察到這一現象的一些硅谷人深感憂慮。創立貝寶的杰出企業家皮特•蒂爾和馬克斯•列夫奇在過去的一年開始兜售這樣一種理念,目前重大的創新已經止步不前,有才華的技術人員應該做猶如前輩奔向月球那樣有意義、甚至是史詩般的工程設計。他們就這一話題的新著減藍圖洲冬于3月面世。資深風險投資家、私募股權公司Elevation Partners董事總經理羅杰•麥克納米也在質疑硅谷的技術人員變得日益狹隘。“太多的創業公司只為像他們一樣的人制造產品,而這些產品既不會帶給人們驚喜,也不多么有趣,”他說。
    Still, the Valley's overwhelming bias toward optimism remains one of its greatest assets. John Seely Brown, former director of the famed Xerox PARC R&D lab, believes we are undergoing what he calls a "Cambrians' moment" of technology change that is making it exponentiallys8 easier to build companies, rent supercomputers, and get access to sophisticated scientific tools. With those tools at the disposal of entrepreneurs and researchers, he says, the future is blindinglys9 bright. "So it's stunning to see how cynical every else is," he says. "They are looking at the world through a rearview mirror, trying to preserve the past as opposed to seizing the moment and moving forward with greater imagination." 盡管如此,硅谷壓倒性的樂觀情緒仍然是其最大的的資本之一。約翰•西利•布朗,名聲顯赫的施樂公司帕洛阿爾托研發中心的前主任,認為我們正在經歷一個“寒武紀時刻”的技術變革,使創立公司,租用超級計算機,獲得先進科學工具的機會異常容易。隨著這些先進工具置于企業家和研究人員的掌控之下,他說,未來極光明。“所以,看到他人的消極態度令人震驚,”他說。“那些人是通過后視鏡觀察世界,試圖維持過去,而不是抓住機遇并以更富想象力的方式前進。”
    Perhaps Silicon Valley has earned those private rock concerts and $300 bottles of tequila. It's the one place where progress marches forward even amid the utter dysfunction and gridlockb' of governments in California and Washington, D.C. The challenge for techies in this exceptional, sometimes magical environment will be to eschew narcissismb' and to peer outside the prosperity bubble and understand with humility how they can help. "If you can't empathize with others," John Seely Brown says, "it's very hard to solve their problems." 也許硅谷掙到了能提供私人搖滾音樂會和300美元一瓶的龍舌蘭酒的錢。即使處于華盛頓和加利福尼亞政府完全不能行使職能并陷人僵局的狀態,硅谷仍在向前邁進。身處這種獨一無二的,有時可以說是神奇的環境之中,技術人員面臨的挑戰是避開自戀,向繁榮泡泡之外看看,以謙遜之心弄清楚可以如何幫助外部世界。“如果不能與他人共鳴,”約翰•西利•布朗說,“就很難解決他們的問題。”
    Stone is a senior writer. for Bloomber Businessweek..
    (謝秀棟譯自Bloomberg Businessweek Dec.22, 2011)

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