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The Tech Industry Faces a New Reality

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump react during election night at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 8, 2016.JIM WATSON — AFP/Getty Images

I turned off the TV early last night and went to bed. Did I miss anything?

I did notice as I was shutting down that stock market futures were plunging at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. These types of exogenous-variable market shocks typically don’t last as they aren’t tied to fundamentals. The markets judge this to be a disaster, like a terrorist attack or a major natural calamity. Typically only events like weak earnings or lost business truly affect stock market fundamentals.

And yet, the picture global investors are painting for U.S. markets is bleak, and Silicon Valley won’t be immune.

Plunging equity values would put a damper on all the M&A that has been remaking the tech landscape. A U.S. trade war with China would hit technology companies hard, given how they have outsourced their manufacturing to China and have begun to count on it as a major end market. A protectionist country with an unpredictable president is no place to do serious business. Obama-loving Silicon Valley, a region replete with rags-to-riches stories of immigrants who parlayed their brains into great fortunes, will find no friend in the new White House.

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At Fortune, we’ve been busy this week wrapping up an issue of the magazine that will anoint a different leader, our Businessperson of the Year. The election for our annual honor was contested overwhelmingly by data, that is, the financial performance of the business leader’s company. We allowed no candidate to campaign for the spot, and the only debates were among our editorial team. I can’t reveal the winner as we plan to do that first thing Thursday morning. I can tell you it’s a laudable, self-made executive who runs a one-of-a-kind business whose impact has been felt around the world.

Sounds like a leader to get behind, right?