Over 140 of Silicon Valley’s entrepeneurs and executives have signed an open letter condemning Donald Trump as a potential “disaster for innovation,” praising government involvement in the economy, and claiming “diversity is our strength.”
The letter’s signatures includes several high-profile names in tech like Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.
Executives from companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, Slack, Snapchat and Yelp also signed the open letter, as well as Arielle Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Ev Williams, founder and CEO of Medium and co-founder of Twitter also signed the open letter.
The letter, which can be read in full here, condemned Trump’s stances on immigration and “insults to women” as obstacles to innovation.
Let’s start with the human talent that drives innovation forward. We believe that America’s diversity is our strength. Great ideas come from all parts of society, and we should champion that broad-based creative potential. We also believe that progressive immigration policies help us attract and retain some of the brightest minds on earth — scientists, entrepreneurs, and creators. In fact, 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Donald Trump, meanwhile, traffics in ethnic and racial stereotypes, repeatedly insults women, and is openly hostile to immigration. He has promised a wall, mass deportations, and profiling.
We also believe in the free and open exchange of ideas, including over the Internet, as a seed from which innovation springs. Donald Trump proposes “shutting down” parts of the Internet as a security strategy — demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works. His penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticize him.
Finally, we believe that government plays an important role in the technology economy by investing in infrastructure, education and scientific research. Donald Trump articulates few policies beyond erratic and contradictory pronouncements. His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation.
Although Silicon Valley developed a reputation as an island of prosperity in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, many of the companies that became household names in the noughties and early 2010s are now in financial trouble. Twitter’s value has plummeted, while Reddit is reportedly considering shuttering areas of its site as revenues continue to underwhelm. Silicon Valley no longer has the reputation for economic miracle-making it once did — although its reputation for ardent progressivism remains.