In my mind’s eye, I see University Avenue in Palo Alto littered with Philz coffee cups, rogue boba pearls, and strewn hover boards. A Stanford undergraduate computer science student weeps into their MacBook as their code loops endlessly. Batman-style doors lift up; a tech exec tumbles out of his Model X car and crawls frantically to the nearest electric charging port. Two VC-bros poke their chopsticks at toro at the Palo Alto Nobu and discuss seed funding the Uber-of-vegan-soft-serve that Elon Musk will, most definitely, franchise on Mars. Mark Zuckerberg peers out from a manhole on the street while Jack Dorsey directs traffic around him and recites his tweets from 2006.
I lived in Palo Alto for a handful of years, and San Francisco for a stint. My memories now converge as a tableau of farce, like the above.
In such a historically fertile incubator — where you can succeed beyond known measure or fail spectacularly — the air is fraught. But actually being stressed is taboo, so techies throw themselves at the pseudo-spiritual in the flashiest way possible. Silicon Valley is also one of the hungriest places — for innovation, success, domination, fame — I’ve ever lived. And it’s also run by bonafide geeks.
Silicon Valley’s existence is, at once, an almost-improbable mash-up of contradictions and the obvious twenty-first century step of American innovation. Its absurdity necessitates a healthy dose of skepticism, and heavy satire.
Here are 29 memes roasting Silicon Valley.
Will Fischer contributed to the meme-harvesting you see below.