Bits: Daily Report: Divide Grows Between Silicon Valley and Trump

Bits: Daily Report: Divide Grows Between Silicon Valley and Trump

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It turns out that finding common ground with Donald J. Trump isn’t going to be that easy for Silicon Valley after all.

Last month, a group of tech executives marched to the Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with the president-elect, his advisers and his children. The message Mr. Trump delivered to the tech bosses was friendly: “I’m here to help.”

This weekend, a string of tech executives — prodded by their employees — criticized Mr. Trump’s executive order temporarily blocking all refugees while also denying entry to citizens of Iran, Iraq and five other predominantly Muslim countries.

In short, Mr. Trump had an answer to his offer, and it sounded like “no thanks.”

While at least some of those executives spoke out because their employees demanded it, the standoff was inevitable. Aside from the venture capitalist and noted contrarian Peter Thiel, few in tech openly supported Mr. Trump.

It is not difficult to understand why.

While the tech industry might appreciate the lower taxes and less regulation that Mr. Trump has promised, the industry is globalist to the core. If you want to be an internet company, you’d be better be willing to operate all over the world. And if you want to compete with the likes of Google and Apple, you’d better be willing to hire engineers and salespeople from all over the planet.

That’s a worldview in direct conflict with Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics (though his own company certainly operates in many countries).

What’s more, despite their many faults — from comical self-regard to a habit of ignoring regulations found to be inconvenient — tech executives are an optimistic bunch. They often see possibilities where others see problems. That’s probably why they’re so rich.

That world full of possibilities doesn’t jibe with Mr. Trump’s world full of danger.

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