Leading US venture investor Chris Sacca is calling on Silicon Valley to stand up and defend the technology industry from President-elect Donald Trump, or risk an unpleasant future where technology no longer provides solutions, but instead hurts people and spies on them, as well as potentially destroying the planet.
"The hypocrisy is really risking what America stands for. I think the tech sector has to acknowledge that we're making this problem worse. We can't just be open source and say use [software, products and services] for whatever you want," Sacca, an early seed investor in Twitter, Uber, Instragram, Twilio and Kickstarter told the audience at the Slush 2016 tech conference in Helsinki, Finland.
"There's a real libertarian streak going on that's not good, and in the lead-up to the election when we were campaigning, many tech companies wanted to stay neutral. Being neutral is fine when [the election] was between Obama and Mitt Romney. But not with Donald Trump. He's a monster. I think he's a real threat to our freedoms... and wanting to build a f***ing wall. We depend upon technology for our economy. We need to remain an open and welcoming country to keep our leadership in tech."
Sacca criticised Silicon Valley for being an "insular community" too bogged down with its own issues to care about the outside world and the impact that technology has on everyone else.
America could lose its leadership in tech due to Trump
"I moved out of Silicon Valley to the mountains just to get out of the conversation and live around normal people again. Finland has a real advantage and you've been busting out lots of great companies. You have a perspective on Africa and the Middle East that as an insular community, we [in the US] don't have," he said.
"After Donald Trump was elected, the former repressive republic of China came out saying that now they're a better place to build your company. That's what our world has come to, folks."
As for what it takes to be create a successful startup and be a great developer, Sacca emphasised that young people need to spend time away from the computer and engage in character-building exercises, like getting a "real job" outside technology, travelling abroad and visiting developing countries in order to gain life experiences, because this is what makes a person "interesting", and that is what is needed to identify solutions to problems and to attract the best talent to work for you.
But try as he might, it was clear that the key issue on Sacca's mind was still Trump and how his influence could transform Silicon Valley in a bad way, and eventually filter down to the rest of the world.
"I think, being a human being, our collective humanity and compassion, it's all been written out of the algorithms. That's leading to the rise of despotic leaders. I think we've lost track of how important being present is – we're too distracted by the constant buzzing that's going on in our daily lives," he stressed.
"If we don't wake up to the absolute dearth of who we're hiring, how we're hiring, what we're building, why we're building it, then our products and the entire planet will suffer as a result."