, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The wealthy don’t need more apps 4289

The wealthy don’t need more apps

“Whatever happened to the tech industry’s grand, democratic visions of the future?” asked Farhad Manjoo. When Microsoft, Apple, and other tech giants first launched, their founders dreamed big. They didn’t simply target “the rich, or Americans or Westerners”; they wanted to change the world. Google’s founders gave themselves the audacious challenge of organizing every piece of data on the planet and making it available for free, even “when it was far from clear that they would ever make a penny” from the effort. By contrast, today’s tech startups seem entirely focused on churning out lifestyle apps designed to help “the lowest rungs of the 1 percent live like their betters in the 0.1 percent.”

The best minds of Silicon Valley now cater to well-off Americans who want to order up “cooks, cleaners, drivers, personal assistants” and other trappings of wealth directly from their phones. Tech entrepreneurs defend this narrow focus by arguing that it’s how innovation works: The rich subsidize early efforts, and companies grow in a way that reduces prices for everyone, eventually “radically altering how even ordinary people conduct their lives.” It is a plausible vision, “but an unlikely one.” And so our modern tech boom will carry on, “focusing only on the wealthy.”

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