The Problem With Silicon Valley? Unbridled Power.

Mar 09, 2016

Why do you hate Silicon Valley?

I feel ambivalent about Silicon Valley. Some of the most brilliant businesspeople the U.S. has ever known are there. I have a profound respect for many of them. But whenever an industry achieves the sort of mythic power that Silicon Valley has, I think there’s a lot of falsehood and arrogance too. I like the light side of it like anyone else. It’s the dark side that bothers me.

What’s dark and what’s light? If you take Netflix or Amazon, for example…

I look at Netflix (nflx) as a company that’s trying to take over the world. I don’t look at them as a company that wants to be a part of an ecosystem. I look at them as a company—like many companies in Silicon Valley—that want to own the ecosystem. Why do I hate Silicon Valley? I don’t. What I hate is unbridled power.

You’ve called for transparency from companies like Netflix that don’t release audience numbers.

It has been enormously advantageous for Netflix to not release that data. I respect what they have built. If I were them, I’d do the same thing. But as their competitor, my job is to call baloney. If you think Netflix doesn’t release ratings because it wants to create a better creative environment for its employees, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

A version of this article appears in the March 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline "Q&A: John Landgraf, CEO of TV Channel FX."

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