Silicon Valley is apparently falling out of love with President Obama. Why, you ask?
Well, according to Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, the Valley is still trying to figure out why the first geek runs an administration that hasn’t delivered more than photo ops for the tech industry.
“[No], I don’t think they feel the love,” Shapiro told Politico. “There’s [obviously] great disillusionment.”
But Judy Estrin, a serial entrepreneur and author of “Closing the Innovation Gap,” defended the Obama administration’s tech record – or lack thereof.
“You can say using the bully pulpit to foster innovation and entrepreneurship doesn’t mean anything but it does mean something,” claimed Estrin.
“It’s the first step because it presents the vision that drives the policy. We may not be in a place where we can point to as many changes as we like or need, but there is energy and focus in areas that will create change.”
Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley observer, offered a third perspective, namely that geeks had overly high expectations of Obama.
“People got excited that Obama uses a BlackBerry,” he opined. “Now they understand he’s [just] a middle-aged guy who uses a BlackBerry.”
While most of the industry realizes Obama faces significant challenges as he struggles with the reality of politics and a huge congressional divide, the fact remains that most believe little progress has been made.
“[Yes], Obama has been on the right side of the issues, but we haven’t moved very far. Even if you like innovation, there is a financial angle about growing these companies,” said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association.
“You can’t have successful growth companies without a financial mechanism, which helps those emerging companies. It’s a fundamental disconnect so far in this administration.”