Silicon Valley needs a D.C. lobby, Hoffman says
It’s easy to ignore the concerns of newer companies, according to Hoffman, a partner at Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm in California.
“Some folks are trying to [help] but people are like, ‘OK, I can deal with that later; I don’t really care,'” he said.
Stimulus funding is a key example of startups getting government short shrift, according to Hoffman.
“The way this is described is ‘shovel-ready jobs,'” he said, arguing that kind of funding would not benefit new companies who are “key to our future.”
“It’s much easier when you’re embedded in the political infrastructure to respond to immediate things” such as the stimulus package, he said.
High-tech immigration is another issue in which the government is overlooking Silicon Valley’s interests, he said: “Certain trends, such as immigration, strike as going 180 degrees in the wrong direction fast.”
The solution to the East-West disconnect isn’t clear, Hoffman said, with Washington’s best efforts to address startups sounding mostly like “lip service.”
And some means of redress are decidedly bad, he said.
“Could you imagine creating a ‘bureau of entrepreneurship?'” he said. “Oh God.”
Hoffman added that Silicon Valley rarely looks to Washington for help.
“One of the metaphors I’ve heard is, Silicon Valley is like a teenager,” he said. “It likes the government to be out of its hair until it needs it.”
The result is a West Coast culture of Washington-avoidance, according to Hoffman.
“We mostly steer clear of Washington and run around it,” he said. “Silicon Valley is so intensely ‘run-in-terror’ from D.C.'”