The Big Tech Show: The curse of the 30 under 30 list

The Big Tech Show

You've heard of the curse of Hello, but what about the curse of the Forbes 30 under 30? From Elizabeth Holmes to Sam Bankman-Fried, getting name checked as the next big thing in tech could ironically turn out to be a shortcut to notoriety, prosecution, maybe even jail. What is it about the culture in Silicon Valley, the “fake it till you make it” approach, that leads some entrepreneurs to take that one step too far?

This week on the Big Tech Show, Adrian Weckler is joined by Jon Ihle, Deputy Business Editor of the Irish Independent to discuss why being young and majorly successful in tech, mightn’t be all it seems.

“Now we have a much more tech dominated economy. So it's natural that the scandals that emerge are going to come from that area”, Jon explains.

“There's an aspect of the markets that I think we can't ignore...I think from the financial world to the tech world, we saw a lot of these very ambitious, very successful, very wealthy tech entrepreneurs, life sciences entrepreneurs, come up at a time when money was effectively cheap, it was free. In fact, you had rates at zero.

“The price of risk was nothing, which meant that money poured into all kinds of bad ideas.”

But what about the culture in tech, that can see massive investment into products or ideas that could never work?

"The distinction I would make is between the individual and the institution. As a personality trait, you can say I'm going to be larger than I really am...I'm going to put my imposter syndrome aside and I'm going to do the faking part. On an individual basis, that's more or less harmless.

“When you scale that up to the size of a company, especially a successful one, that may be taking in millions or billions of investor dollars, and then you start selling a product on the basis of faking it, [for example] ‘Oh, we're just going to fake these blood tests until we figure out how to do them correctly’, then it's something else. Then you're just into fraud.”

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