Silicon Valley and the world of startups in general is supposed to be a safe space for unconventional thinking and weird ideas. But spend much time reading about startups and talking to those involved in them and you quickly realize that, like every other segment of the population, VCs, entrepreneurs, and techies have their orthodoxies. 

Maybe it's that the Valley is a benevolent meritocracy. Maybe it's that there's a particular methodology that helps startups get ahead. Maybe it's a devotion to a particular technology or management fad. But some beliefs just seem to be shared by a huge percentage of startup insiders. 

Andreessen Horowitz VC Andrew Chen recently set out to explode that groupthink. On Twitter this week the well-connected investor asked his circle to be bold and share their "least popular but most deeply held opinion about tech/startups." 

His fascinating prompt kicked off a sometimes downright shocking discussion, with top names in startups contributing opinions ranging from cranky to heretical to straight-up scandalous. Chen kicked off the discussion with his own unpopular opinion: 

A host of other big names then chimed in with theirs, including this one from VC Hunter Walk, which attracted so many likes Chen suggested it might not actually be all that unpopular after all. 

Early PayPal exec turned top VC Keith Rabois shared a more shocking opinion:

Chen's fellow Andreessen Horowitz VC D'Arcy Coolican threw cold water on those searching for the "next" Silicon Valley:

Software developer Jacky Liang, on the other hand, thinks the next big startup hub is rising in Asia, and Silicon Valley is in denial. (Chen applauded his suggestion.) 

Then there was this bomb from Stanford professor and author Bob Sutton.

When VC Eric Friedman posted this opinion, he apparently got a lot of pushback over private message.

I'm not sure if nonprofit executive Eileen Gill can be called a startup insider, but her contribution to the discussion seemed to garner a lot of support.

Likewise, founder Ryan Deiss' opinion might be generally unpopular but has some pretty vocal niche support.

Finally, several comments noted that studies back up this unpopular opinion from product guy Tyler Hogge.

Intrigued? Then the entire thread, which included plenty of back and forth and many more unpopular ideas, is well worth a read. 

So how about you, what's your least popular opinion about tech and startups that you insist is completely right?

Published on: Aug 8, 2018