Another top Silicon Valley investor slams politically correct tech culture, praises Chinese work ethic

Key Points
  • Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital writes that Silicon Valley has become "unhinged" with discussions about the "inequity of life."
  • He contrasted Silicon Valley tech culture with the work ethic in Chinese tech companies, where employees work for 14 hours six or seven days a week.
  • Sam Altman, another top SIlicon Valley investor, said in December that Silicon Valley culture is too closed to controversial ideas and said he felt more comfortable with these discussions in China.
Michael Moritz, chairman at Sequoia Capital
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Mike Moritz, a top partner at Silicon Valley's most successful venture capital firm, says that the local tech culture has descended into "soul-sapping discussions" about "the inequity of life," and compared it unfavorably with the work ethic in the Chinese tech scene.

Moritz, a managing partner at Sequoia Capital, wrote in the Financial Times that Silicon Valley's culture is becoming "unhinged" with discussions of things like the politics of speakers at tech companies, debates over work-life balance, and "grumbling about the need for a space for musical jam sessions."

He contrasts this with China, where:

"Top managers show up for work at about 8am and frequently don't leave until 10pm. Most of them will do this six days a week — and there are plenty of examples of people who do this for seven. Engineers have slightly different habits: they will appear about 10am and leave at midnight."

He concluded, "in many respects, doing business in China is easier than doing business in California."

Moritz joined Sequoia in 1986, and the company was an early investor in many of Silicon Valley's biggest successes, including Apple and Google.

Moritz is the second VC in as many months to compare Silicon Valley's tech culture unfavorably against China's.

Sam Altman, who runs the highly regarded start-up farm Y Combinator, slammed the attitude of political correctness in Silicon Valley in a December blog post, saying that these days he felt more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in China. "I've seen credible people working on ideas like pharmaceuticals for intelligence augmentation, genetic engineering, and radical life extension leave San Francisco because they found the reaction to their work to be so toxic," he wrote.

Silicon Valley's tech culture has been under assault from many sides in recent months for faults such as making its products too addictive, tolerating and fostering sexism and excluding politically conservative viewpoints.

Now, it looks like even Silicon Valley's biggest boosters — venture capitalists — are losing patience.