Even Silicon Valley, with its pressure-cooker, sprint-to-the-future, take-no-prisoners mojo, pauses a beat at Christmastime. There is a certain calm in the carol-filled air; a certain focus on what I can do for my fellow man and woman, rather than what I can do to them.
Sure, the Apple (AAPL) store is bustling, but you're less likely to be trampled by fellow shoppers in front of the elegant iPad Air display. The Google (GOOG) buses are less menacing on 101 -- I actually saw one cut off only one car, rather than two or three, as it made its way from the fast lane to the exit lane. It's enough to keep you warm in the face of daily wood-burning bans.
My own thoughts have turned to others this holiday season, others like the valley's hot spots -- the people who you figure have it all. But really nobody has it all. Everybody could use something. And so I've come up with a list of holiday wishes for Silicon Valley's royalty:
For Apple CEO Tim Cook, an idea. I mean, any idea for God's sake. Apple has been hammered for months for not innovating anymore. Coming up with a pink iPhone just doesn't cut it after years of Steve Jobs wowing fan boys and girls with dent-in-the-universe ideas that had people reaching for their wallets before the lights dimmed at Yerba Buena. It doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe even the iWatch. Or I know: How about iGlasses?
For Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, a chance to take a deep breath. You probably read that the husband and wife -- he of Google, she of 23andMe -- are on the outs. Now, it's not as if it's Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom (and Matt Kemp) living out their relationship on the cover of People, but the two pass for famous in these parts and so their private lives are public. I wish the couple well and they seemed friendly enough at the big Breakthrough Prize award show this month at Moffett Field (think Oscars for scientists). Wojcicki gently needled Brin for wearing a hoodie and backpack to a black-tie event. So yeah, a chance for a deep breath. And maybe a tux for Brin.
For Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, how about another woman or two to serve on the newly public company's board? The appointment of Marjorie Scardino was a start -- particularly for a company that just a couple of months ago was hinting that there weren't enough good female candidates to go around. So another woman or two on the board would be great. Oh that, and a plan that will actually make some money.
For Mark Zuckerberg, a life-sized Monopoly game. Oh wait a minute. He's already got one. Remember how he dropped $30 million in October to buy four of his neighbors' houses so he wouldn't have to worry about how some stranger might redevelop his neighborhood? Let's just say Zuck doesn't live on the equivalent of the board game's Baltic Avenue.
For Marissa Mayer, another young, hip company to gobble up to supplement what I'm calling Yahoo's (YHOO) hip replacement. As one of the Internet era's first success stories, old Yahoo was getting fusty as giants like Google and Facebook were on the rise. No doubt that's one reason Mayer fell for Tumblr and bought up the buzzy social media site for a cool $1 billion. Between the purchase, passing out employee smartphones and instituting a free food policy (Who says there is no free lunch?), Yahoo recaptured a certain cool factor -- almost enough cool factor, in fact, to negate Mayer's move to ban her troops from working from home.
For Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, co-founders of Snapchat -- speaking of young, hip companies -- some better M&A advisers. I mean, dudes, Facebook was going to give you $3 billion to basically retire. Look, I get it. You don't want to be a sellout. You start a company at Stanford and build it up; you don't want to flip it when the first pair of deep pockets comes along. But wait! Yes, you do! This is Snapchat, an app that let's people send short-lived silly, embarrassing or pornographic photos to each other. It's not a cure for pancreatic cancer. Sell it. You can always launch some other frivolous company. Not only that, you can launch it from Tahiti.
But alas, it's back to work for Spiegel, Murphy and Snapchat. But not too much work. Not this week. Instead, it's time to take a little break from the hustle and bustle to contemplate all that we have -- and a few things we could really use.
Contact Mike Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5536. Follow him at Twitter.com/mikecassidy.