From Venture Beat:
Presidential candidates like to treat Silicon Valley like an ATM, simply a money machine to support their massive national campaign expenses. They tour company headquarters with stump speeches, praising the tech industry as an engine of growth, and hope to be showered with the discretionary riches of the Valley’s many multi-millionaire activists.
While Silicon Valley has money, so does Hollywood and Wall Street, each which gives generously to both parties. Silicon Valley’s true superpower is its engineering talent — and they are extraordinarily fickle about who they support.
In 2007, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had more money and establishment fans than any one of her opponents. Yet Obama beat her handily, thanks to a crack team of top Facebookers and Googlers who left their jobs to join his campaign. They took a pay cut and career detour to join something that inspired them more than anything Google or Facebook was building at the time.
For Obama, they built pioneering social media technologies that today have become a staple of modern campaigning. Whether Obama ended up fulfilling his promises is open to debate, but he had an extraordinarily high Silicon Valley IQ. His message of optimism and changing the political system inspired countless people to officially join the campaign or use their free time building cutting-edge tech.
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