Hollywood Meets Silicon Valley

Do you remember when “geeks” were unpopular? That seems like ages ago. Now these geeks are the new rock stars.

Hollywood loves rags-to-riches stories, including its own, in which waitresses turn into movie stars. That most American of story lines has moved to Silicon Valley as it overshadows the entertainment industry as a center of power and money. Filmmakers are flocking north in search of material. When Facebook spends $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp, or the two founders of Snapchat turn down $3 billion in cash to sell their company, people pay attention—and feel ambivalent about the whole dynamic.

In movies and on television, techies long functioned as a two-dimensional plot device—socially inept computer nerds who help save the day (or wreak havoc) with a flurry of keystrokes. Now, there’s a new geek in town. The stock character with the horn-rimmed glasses and bad haircut has been replaced by the fresh-faced app designer who becomes an overnight billionaire.

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