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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. 硅谷的技术人员身处繁荣的泡泡之中。乐观的情绪自有其优势,但硅谷可能会因此与外界脱节则不免令人有些担心。
    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. 一个时代的某个瞬间,有时可以由最好的一个派对来代表。回想一下1966年杜鲁门•卡波特举办的黑白舞会,1999年蒂娜•布朗在自由岛为其命运多外的《谈话》杂志创刊时举行的名流云集的派对,以及2007年私募高手史蒂芬•A.施瓦茨曼举行的由罗德•斯图尔特担纲的60岁生日庆典,都可谓是大手笔的事件。2011年9月22日,肖恩•帕克在旧金山为其流媒体音乐服务软件Spotify举行的狂欢派对应该可以与之相媲美。
    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. 作为贾斯廷•廷伯莱克在电影《社交网络》中塑造的趾高气扬的酒鬼,这名“.脸谱”的亿万富翁将波特雷罗区一个废弃的仓库变成了到处摆放着沙发的享乐宫。侍者端来成堆的龙虾、寿司和烤猪,而每个记者都获赠一瓶300美元的DeIxdn龙舌兰酒。马克•扎克伯格、苹果设计师约尼•伊韦和作家丹尼埃尔•斯蒂尔与众多宾客献筹交错,搭乘私人飞机前来的艺人—包括史奴比狗狗、珍的耽溺合唱团和杀手乐团—为这群酩配大醉者表演。“这些音乐人如果知道我以前是个只知道玩电脑的人,他们也许就不来了”,神采奕奕的帕克在台上说。

    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年世界的风云动荡就如板球世界杯一样与硅谷毫不相关。高失业率?使经济严重受损的债务?这些硅谷都没有。中午的阳光将雾霆驱散,硅谷是个励志故事: 才华横溢、努力工作的技术人员能够改变世界,并在这个过程中收获难以想象的财富。“我们生活在一个泡泡中。我说的不是高科技泡沫或估值泡沫。我指的是我们自己这个小世界的泡泡,”谷歌董事长埃里克•施密特说,“这是一个怎样的世界啊:公司能以最快的速度招到人。年轻人只要努力工作就能赚大钱。房屋价值坚挺。‘占领华尔街’运动不是我们日常谈论的话题,因为他们面临的问题在我们这儿不成问题。”
    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. 从没有像2011年这样明显,硅谷处在一种另类的现实,即繁荣的泡泡之中。餐馆预订一空,高速公路车满为患,公司现金充裕。繁荣泡泡不只是一种心态:这个时代和最近记忆中的一样美好。根据全国风险资本协会的数据,该地区得到全国风险投资的40 %,较10年前的31%有所上升。美国劳工统计局近日发布报告,该地区的就业市场增长在全国居首,跃增3.2 %,是全国平均水平的3倍。即使是房地产,在其他地区是绝望的泥淖,在硅谷也是踏歌而行。周末的晚上几乎不可能订到Menlol Park酒店ROSPWOOfl餐厅的桌位。沙山路上的技术金融家是这家餐厅的主顾,其橄榄油清炖虹鳍卖到36美元。我们与“占领库比蒂诺”行动最相似的是10月份为抢购iPhone 4S在苹果商店外排的长队。
    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.) 人们不禁以怀疑态度审视这一最新的黄金时代,就如20世纪90年代末的网络泡沫破灭之前,那令人失望的昙花一现的繁荣。但这次硅谷的乐观情绪背后的优势显得更加坚实。谷歌、“脸谱”和推特在世界各地拥有不计其数的用户,并且至少给谷歌和“脸谱”带来稳定的收益。硅谷今年上市的公司如Linkedln和潘多拉媒体都有实际利润,Zynga在12月16日首次上市公开发行股票,虽然早盘股价略有下降,但仍然是雷鸣般的句子结束的惊叹号。这笔融资又为硅谷地区的亿万富翁俱乐部增加了一名新成员:创始人马克.•平卡斯,其身价现在在13亿美元上下波动。即使如思科和英特尔等蓝筹股因错失股市大调整良机而受损,其收人仍创下新高。末日感并不是硅谷迫近的威胁,它只是挂在办公室的艺术品:蘑菇云的照片装点着快速上升的风险投资公司Andreessen Horowitz的大堂。(拥有《彭博商业周刊》的彭博社是Andreessen Horowitz的投资者之一。)
    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."*世界其他地区的动荡可能实际上有助于硅谷,俄罗斯和中国的富人把孩子送到这里来上学,争相将财富投放到该地区最有前途的创业公司。“这里的人们总是感觉风暴是发生在别人的世界,”保罗•萨福说,他是一名未来学者和资深硅谷观察家。“没人仅仅因为发生叛乱就停止购买智能手机”
    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.
繁荣泡泡的缺点是硅谷可能会与外界脱节。这种危险在今年一个名为“色彩实验室”的创业公司那得以展现。该公司得到Sequoia Capital和贝恩资本那样慷慨投资者献4100万美元资金,而在这之前它甚至还没有一款有实际用户的产品。要是对清洁能源或先进人工智能新一轮研究进行资助,这笔资金都已经足够了。相反,该公司在2月份发布了一个iPhone应用程序,可以让用户与近距离的陌生人共享照片。一经推出,这款应用程序就遭到了扑面
    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." 但像色彩实验室这样的公司虽然表现非常差劲,但仍能存活。该公司甚至没有表现出特别惭愧的意思。在随后的8个月中,该公司最大的变化无非是帕洛阿尔托办公室内,从人行道上可以看见的不停转换的装修风格。最初,人造草皮铺在地板上,做成一个人造花园,员工可以坐下来,喝咖啡,遐想。然后,房间演变成瑜伽室,赤脚的教练让几十名员工舒展筋骨。现在,公司似乎演变成一个共用的工作空间。这家创业公司没有完全松懈。它推出了一个应用程序,允许用户将iPhone的视频直播给他们的“脸谱”朋友。“像这样的公司在游戏中还能有第二、第三或第四次机会,因为这是一个大的游戏,”色彩公司首席执行官比尔•源说。“回报会非常巨大。因为‘脸谱’和移动设备的出现,信息的传递发生了根本性变化。”
    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. 技术机构不愿直面一些重大问题,觉察到这一现象的一些硅谷人深感忧虑。创立贝宝的杰出企业家皮特•蒂尔和马克斯•列夫奇在过去的一年开始兜售这样一种理念,目前重大的创新已经止步不前,有才华的技术人员应该做犹如前辈奔向月球那样有意义、甚至是史诗般的工程设计。他们就这一话题的新著减蓝图洲冬于3月面世。资深风险投资家、私募股权公司Elevation Partners董事总经理罗杰•麦克纳米也在质疑硅谷的技术人员变得日益狭隘。“太多的创业公司只为像他们一样的人制造产品,而这些产品既不会带给人们惊喜,也不多么有趣,”他说。
    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." 尽管如此,硅谷压倒性的乐观情绪仍然是其最大的的资本之一。约翰•西利•布朗,名声显赫的施乐公司帕洛阿尔托研发中心的前主任,认为我们正在经历一个“寒武纪时刻”的技术变革,使创立公司,租用超级计算机,获得先进科学工具的机会异常容易。随着这些先进工具置于企业家和研究人员的掌控之下,他说,未来极光明。“所以,看到他人的消极态度令人震惊,”他说。“那些人是通过后视镜观察世界,试图维持过去,而不是抓住机遇并以更富想象力的方式前进。”
    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." 也许硅谷挣到了能提供私人摇滚音乐会和300美元一瓶的龙舌兰酒的钱。即使处于华盛顿和加利福尼亚政府完全不能行使职能并陷人僵局的状态,硅谷仍在向前迈进。身处这种独一无二的,有时可以说是神奇的环境之中,技术人员面临的挑战是避开自恋,向繁荣泡泡之外看看,以谦逊之心弄清楚可以如何帮助外部世界。“如果不能与他人共鸣,”约翰•西利•布朗说,“就很难解决他们的问题。”
    Stone is a senior writer. for Bloomber Businessweek..
    (谢秀栋译自Bloomberg Businessweek Dec.22, 2011)

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