To actually change the world, Big Tech needs to grow up

Yung Wu
Contributor

Yung Wu is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a Toronto-based innovation hub.

“Fierce competitor” is one of the biggest, and most culturally ingrained, compliments that exists in sports. The same is true in the technology world. However, as competitors originating from outside of Silicon Valley rise, so do the stakes for previously unchallenged tech firms, like Uber, Facebook and Google, to enter new markets responsibly. Companies that were once earnest startups helmed by say-anything, hoodie-wearing twenty-somethings are now big corporations with boards, stakeholders and tremendous impacts on society.

They need to start acting like it.

Amid mounting government and public pressures, tech firms famous for pushing far beyond boundaries now need to play by the rules when they enter new cities and towns. They now have to embrace more humble methods of conducting business and admit defeat when younger upstarts create better, faster innovations. Freshly relocated tech companies need to respect the indigenous innovation scene in a chosen location — not simply conduct headquarter operations somewhere else. They need to bring to every new market entrepreneurial thinking, jobs and a willingness to develop strong connections with public and private sector leaders.

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