B J ARUN-TiE Silicon Valley President-
Silicon Valley is enthusiastic overall about the Biden-Harris victory and despite concerns around increased taxation and antitrust legislation, is looking forward to the new administration thanks to some of the reasons listed below:
Anti-mask and anti-social distancing have created a political issue out of a life and death virus, resulting in over 10 million cases and costing the U.S. close to 250K deaths. Under the new administration, we can be more assured of a scientific approach to combating the pandemic.
While there may be short-term economic impact due to potential nationwide shutdowns (particularly if the case count continues to rise), in the long run, we will hopefully control the virus better and see the return of normalcy of life and a rebound of the economy.
It is very encouraging to note that the very first action of the Biden transition team is to set up a 13 member COVID-19 task force chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler, and Yale physician & researcher Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Their combined knowledge and experience will bring a much-needed competent leadership towards combatting the virus.
UC Berkeley Dean Professor AnnaLee Saxanian’s studies have shown that the success of Silicon Valley is due to its decentralized industrial and social structures that facilitate rapid information exchange and innovation. The ability for companies to recruit top talent from across the world has clearly contributed to the success of the most iconic companies in the valley.
Data indicates that one in three startups has either an immigrant founder or co-founder. Some of the most successful tech companies have leaders that are foreign-born. Not only did the Trump administration’s ban on H1-B visas stifle innovation, it aided the overall anti-immigrant sentiment that has prevailed over the last four years, making the US a less welcoming place for valuable global talent.
President-Elect Biden has already announced that he will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create an unacceptably long backlog. He is however clear that high skilled temporary visas should not be used to disincentivize recruiting workers already in the U.S. for in-demand occupations.
Regaining Global Leadership
President-Elect Biden has served 36 years as a senator and 8 years as Vice President. In his long career, he has served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee twice and, having met with close to 150 foreign leaders from over 60 countries, is extremely well versed in the art of international diplomacy. Allies and adversaries will both be relieved to be able to bank on established diplomatic channels vs. learning about US foreign policy positions via twitter.
Biden has already announced that he wants to bring an end to a foreign policy that represents building walls and making cooperation with allies an afterthought. This is a big change from the current administration’s ‘America First’ approach, which has not always kept in mind the mutual interest of our global partners.
Leaders from around the world have started congratulating the Biden-Harris team and seem hopeful to enjoy better relations with the US. With his policy of ‘building bridges and not walls’, Biden may currently be more popular in Europe and Asia than in his own very polarized nation.
The new administration’s foreign policy will also bring a return to the alliance-centered international order that the US had so carefully cultivated since the end of the second world war.
Global warming is of much concern to the world. President-Elect Biden has indicated that he intends to partner with other nations to address it. Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.
One of the first things Biden plans to do is rejoin the Paris climate agreement which the US withdrew from in 2017. He has also promised to reverse some of the deregulatory actions of the previous administration to help combat climate change.
President-Elect Biden is proposing to make the US electricity production carbon-free by 2035, as well as have the country achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He intends to reduce CO2 emissions by encouraging electric vehicle purchases by extending car buyer’s incentives to switch over from gasoline powered internal combustion engines to cleaner vehicles. Biden’s plan includes investing in charging points nationwide as well as spending heavily on public transportation.
There are also plans to invest upward of $2 trillion over the next four years to drive down emissions by upgrading four million buildings and making them more energy efficient. The Biden administration’s plan will also require public companies to disclose climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.
Overall, Silicon Valley views the new leadership in the White House as a welcome change and is looking forward to the unification and healing of a very polarized nation. We hope to work together with the new administration to recreate the ‘golden era’ for tech enjoyed under the Obama presidency.
[B.J. Arun is presently TiE Silicon Valley president, a successful serial entrepreneur who was till most recently CEO of July Systems, a mobile internet company acquired by Cisco in August 2018. He was the founder and CEO of California Digital, one of the market leaders in High-Performance Computing. In addition to various awards and recognitions, Arun was awarded the prestigious Karnataka Rajyotsava Day Award by the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Nov. 1, 2004.]