They say that if you want to get a feel for a city you should talk to a cabby. Now, that’s not always the best advice depending on where you are. A Vegas taxi driver told a friend about a hot scoop in the technology industry, emails were exchanged, and eventually a 1,000 word rant arrived with some very libellous and murderous theories about the Clintons.
But you can find your sane ones too. Having talked to a small handful of cab-driving folk out here in Santa Clara, the ones who weren’t trying to stiff me for two or three dollars, you can tell people out here really do like their tech. A nice guy told me about his dad, a programmer, who first got him into Macs back in the 80s.
Another was sad to hear about Captain Cupertino’s resignation as CEO of Apple. Americans like Apple.
Aside from the nut who only repeated the words “hello” – quite unnerving – there was another common theme among the friendlier drivers. None of them trusted Google.
The Googleplex is an enormous, sprawling campus and if you don’t have the right clearance, you won’t be treated very well.
The word on the street is that even the security guards are indoctrinated Google foot soldiers who will reel off faithful rhetoric about the company which laughs in the face of law, and yes, there are armed Googlemobiles patrolling the campus. It’s not just IT journalists that don’t trust them.
Then there is Cisco, which owns a ridiculous amount of property in Santa Clara.
Everyone knows it’s there, Cisco is impossible to miss on a map of the area. No one’s got a problem with Cisco, but the cabbies were less impressed to hear about its involvement in hush-hush security and monitoring operations in China, approved in California’s high-tech back yard. “That’s not right,” said one. “It’s treason.”