Pinterest, the digital scrapbooking site, has became the latest Silicon Valley “unicorn” to publish details of its plans to go public. The company’s initial regulatory filing would value the company at around $9bn, significantly less than previous valuations but a figure that could change if investors get behind the initial public offering (IPO).
Pinterest is the second of a herd of unicorns – private companies valued at over $1bn – now stampeding to list on the US stock markets.
In Silicon Valley, an open house can be more than an open house. At a six-bedroom, seven-bath home in the town of Menlo Park, a flamenco dancer swirled and a guitarist fingerpicked in a kitchen alcove. Outside, pesto pizza was pulled from the pizza oven. A face painter splotched unicorns on pudgy cheeks. A barista whipped up lattes. There were squishy toys for kids and videos of the house for potential homebuyers, who could keep the video-players.
Several big-name tech companies are set to enter the public market, and the speculation over the effects of a crush of overnight millionaires overwhelming the region has reached fever pitch.
The Transport Workers Union of Australia has condemned the federal government’s plans to crack down on Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts who avoid paying tax.
The “gig” economy was supposed to be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to be their own boss. Everyone from Uber to Postmates, Lyft, Airbnb, Turo and Parklee have all sold themselves as platforms for freelancers and would-be entrepreneurs to work for themselves.
Of all the ideologies spawned by Silicon Valley, that of techno-populism – the making of empty promises on the basis of seismic digital disruption – is the strangest. Promising a world of immediate and painless personal empowerment, techno-populism is ambiguous enough to unite big tech firms, startups, cryptocurrency aficionados and even some political parties.