A leading Silicon Valley exec says Big Tech prioritized lower costs over employees’ wellbeing, and it’s created a feudalist system where workers are left to fend for themselves

a man riding on the back of a truck: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

© Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • Maëlle Gavet is a leading Silicon Valley executive, entrepreneur, investor, and most recently, the chief operating officer at real estate platform Compass.
  • The following is an excerpt from her first book, “Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It.”
  • In it, she examines how Big Tech’s failure to empathize with customers and workers has led to “digital era’s equivalent of feudalism.”
  • In her in-depth critique of the world’s largest tech corporations — including Amazon, Uber, and Google — she crafts an earnest call to action for industry leaders, board members, employees, and consumers to get tech back on track. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Right now the jury is still out on whether the tech economy is ultimately a job creator or a job destroyer. As with many of the points in this book, that topic is complex, nuanced, and polarizing.

As of today, while tech has upended some businesses, it has helped drive expansion in so many industries that the net effect is likely more jobs, even if there is disagreement over how to quantify it. Whether that will be true as automation driven by artificial intelligence expands throughout the economy is another matter. Either way, it is critical that we look deeper than simple employment numbers.

polygon: "Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech's Empathy Problem and How to Fix It," by Maëlle Gavet. Courtesy of Wiley.

© Courtesy of Wiley.
“Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It,” by Maëlle Gavet. Courtesy of Wiley.

Tech defenders argue that the information revolution is no different from others in history. One can certainly draw parallels to the industrial revolution, for example: Powered by relentless innovation, it, too, created new jobs while killing others.


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What is different is the degree to which tech companies, and unicorns in particular, have changed the nature