Donald Trump’s Tech Summit Sure Included Lots of Old Companies

(L-R) Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos, Larry Page of Alphabet, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower December 14, 2016. Trump is meeting with top tech executives -- including several of his sharpest critics -- to mend fences after a divisive election in which the majority of Silicon Valley backed Hillary Clinton. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Timothy A. Clary—AFP via Getty Images

I’m still thinking about last week’s historic and surreal meeting of the titans of tech at Trump Tower. Much already has been made of the seating chart, an excellent version of which appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Apple’s (AAPL) Tim Cook and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook (FB), for example, sat with only one person between themselves and the President-elect who obviously hadn’t been their choice.

I thought what was more interesting, however, was how relatively old the companies were that were chosen to represent the technology industry.

Tech is supposed to be the industry of disruption, and yet the youngest companies present were Facebook and Palantir. One company at the meeting, IBM (IBM), is ancient. Five more are old by Silicon Valley standards. Another five are new only in comparison:

Really old

IBM (1911)


Intel (1968)

Microsoft (1975)

Apple (1976)

Oracle (1977)

Cisco (1984)


Amazon (1994)

Google (1998)

Tesla (2003)

Facebook (2004)

Palantir (2004)

So who was missing and what to make of their absence? The CEOs of Airbnb and Uber reportedly were invited but couldn’t make it to New York. Twitter, shockingly, was excluded, given the next President’s fondness for using the service to communicate everything from serious policy proposals to what he’s watching on television. The absence of Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP Enterprise, arguably Silicon Valley’s first company, was less surprising, considering her hostility to the victor.

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If buzz merited attendance, Snapchat should have been present. Pinterest, Dropbox, and WeWork would have interesting additions. Once and former tech stars like Dell, (CRM), and Intuit (INTU) likely would have had a lot to say. Peter Thiel likely didn’t see the need to invite venture capitalists other than himself, a telling decision.

That said, it’s a good list. It represents the best and biggest of the tech industry and those that have stood the test of at least a little bit of time.

Have a durable week.

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