A new Babylon and the rise of the tech tycoon

12 thoughts on “A new Babylon and the rise of the tech tycoon”

  1. I’m not sure Bezos represents Silicon Valley as much as he is a new individual industrialist. Sure his rise is tied in some ways to the valley but I think he is much more of a valley outsider by choice than he is a member of any SV club. His purchase of the Post says less about SV than it does about Bezos as a driven person with a bold vision for what he personally wants to accomplish.

      1. Tim

        As I said in my post that Silicon Valley is just a geographical manifestation of “technology revolution” not the technology revolution. I am fairly clear in understanding where Bezos and Amazon are from. 🙂

  2. This makes great sense UNLESS Bezos manages to lose a ton of money on WaPo operations. If that happens, he could be seen as a Wizard of Oz, just a gasbag who didn’t really know the business. If he profits, however, he creates a model others can follow.

  3. Having lived in the DC metro area since college (some thirty-five years ago), I’m afraid you over-estimated the power of the WP. The Post is largely the news organ for the Dems and, to a lesser extent, the in-house newspaper of the federal bureaucracy.. It has very little influence on the other side of the aisle or its influence on federal agencies largely consists of telling employees which healthcare plan is best during “open season.” The idea that Bezos can now get in the face of government officials or beat opponents with the Post is ridiculously sophomoric.

  4. I am bothered by the constant “tycoon” references…in the Gilded Age, etc. buying a newspaper was the only way to communicate with the masses so for the ultrawealthy it makes sense.

  5. I am bothered by the constant “tycoon” references…in the Gilded Age, etc. buying a newspaper was the only way to communicate with the masses so for the ultrawealthy it makes sense.

    I’d venture that Amazon reaches a lot more people than the Washington Post everyday. If Bezos just started a blog it’d probably get a lot more traffic everyday. I don’t equate traffic with influence, but the “tycoon’s buy media for influence” argument assumes a newspaper is the only way to communicate to the masses. The internet changed that…if anyone should know that well, it’s Om Malik!

  6. SV, whether a mere synecdoche or a fact on the ground, is its own little ecosystem, important and self-important in various ways that render SV types oblivious to the significance other ecosystems. The Beltway, or DC, for another two-letter synecdoche, is similarly important and self-important in ways that make DC insiders impervious to non-members. As Warren Buffett bought the Washington Monthly a generation ago, and continues to own 20% of the Post company while remaining attached to Omaha rather than Manhattan/Greenwich, so now Bezos, standing somewhat apart from his own ecosystem but wishing to have a significant voice in another ecosystem.

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