If you are in silicon valley and you need to read one book then I would say that it has to be this one. De-BUG – Voices from the underside of Silicon Valley. It is important because this is about the place you live and stories you might not have heard and were not published in tech magazines and investment journals. A collation of stories from the underbelly of the Valley. Edited by Raj Jayadev and Jean Melesaine De-BUG will keep bugging you in your mind when you step out of the house next time. Your stroll across the valley will be (and should be) different then on. You need to be De-Bugged Today.
Now for some personal memories that came out as I read and as it bugs my mind frequently after I read it. When I moved to the valley 15 years back from Virginia, during my initial months the question often asked in gatherings was where I was in the Green Card process and I always had to tell them I did not apply and to that some would frown and some would say do it fast and others would just smile. But after waiting a few years I applied for my green card and then in another 6 years I got it.
After a few months of living in the valley the Green Card question was converted into stocks and investments and there too I failed miserably to please many as I had never done stock and do not do it even now after 15 years in the valley.
When the stocks questions dried out and my family joined me the question was which school are you sending your kid, what is the rating and why not private school. I again said I am not sure, but was not planning for private schools anyways and I am not sure about the ratings, will send to the neighborhood public school. The fact was I never really looked at schools that seriously. Disappointed by my answer some people suggested that I move to Cupertino or find an apartment on the borderline of Cupertino and Santa Clara where rent was less but school district was Cupertino. But I remained in San Jose.
Then as time went by we bought a small house when the market was going down. The question again was how was the schools in the area and I said our main considerations were affordability and livability and luckily the schools are good or at least have been for us as I see my 16 year old growing up with a very strong liberal approach to life and our 9 year old growing up knowing the importance of education by reading the story of Malala.
Why am I saying this now? well I have seen especially in many Indian American circles the topics are schools, houses, investment, startups, money and nowadays in some places it is vaasthu, astrology and similar crap. With no temple visits and practice of religion at home kids have grown up to be a blend of Agnosticism and Atheism and a strong secular humanist tendency. Kids understand and acknowledge the fact that some people believe in santa claus even after they grow up while some decide to leave it. They are perfectly ok with perspectives co-existing.
Many Indians who moved to the valley have made it big, some still dream while some fear to talk about their dream, some has succumbed to fate. I too have my share of losses and regrets to speak of. Valley is a place where dreams are made, it is something you feel when you land here.
But what this book did to me is remind me of the time I used to strike conversations with people I did not know like the guy who did valet parking once while in DC and was thrilled hearing the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan music playing in the car and was so happy when I gave him the CD and he said he was also a DJ and would like to play it that weekend.
The book reminds us of a world that always exists but the stories are never told. Do you know about the guy you see at starbucks well groomed and well dressed but lives in his car? How about the guy who works multiple jobs and you often meet in the porn shop. What about the guy who operates the elevator in the morning and drives Lyft at night. And then how about the guy riding a rickshaw in san jose. And the people buying items in yard sales, the girl who served you your drink and the elderly guy who helped you unload the stuff from Home depot.
Not many of these come up during the little room discussions where the brand of scotch and perils of market fluctuations are more discussed. Or the latest phone and gadget in the market. I am definitely not pointing that there is a problem discussing these. I am just saying that this book will tell you stories you should read and know about.
Get your copy today and Read it and get De-BUGGED……..