Questions for the Tech Founder

By Carrie Shipers

If I said solutionism was the greatest challenge
facing us today, how many whiteboards 
might you fill before the irony hit home? 
Was your attempt to privatize the Post Office 

short-lived because it was too hard to disrupt 
real objects, or because Jeff Bezos told you 
to back off? Are you more embarrassed by 
the bubbling sinkhole stinking up your campus 

quad, the fence that fails to block its view, 
or the studies stating that the Valley’s so-called 
“pipeline problem” is merely a myth you’ve built 
around a rigged system? Given the resulting 

poor publicity, do you regret deciding to: 
use live endangered animals to illustrate ideas, 
spend millions on a bonding trip at which 
most of your staff contracted STIs and salmonella, 

compete pants-less at the all-hands sack race?
Relatedly, what percent of the lawsuits 
you’ve had to settle might’ve been avoided 
by investing in HR before a second helicopter? 

Are you aware the word “founder” also means 
to sink or fail utterly? If yes, do you ever dream 
you’re drowning and wake up afraid, 
and does this perhaps explain your interests

in sea-steading and extreme longevity? 
If I suggested several of your famous Principles, 
e.g., Be Boldly New, seem cribbed from 
other companies, would your benign 

but somewhat flat affect pivot toward rage 
so fast I’d feel dizzy? Did you agree
to this meeting in the hope that seeming
open, honest, and sincere would counteract 

your current image as a greedy genius
hooking users on their own abuse? Or because
a public busy judging your ethics, humor
and haircut is less likely to notice or object

to your real work, which is not the thing 
you’ve gotten famous for? Assuming 
the latter, are you sorrier I’ve caught on 
or flattered by the depths of my alarm?

Carrie Shipers’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, NewEnglandReview, NorthAmericanReview, PrairieSchooner, The Southern Review, and other journals. She is the author of Ordinary Mourning (ABZ, 2010), Cause for Concern (Able Muse, 2015), Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico, 2016), and Grief Land (University of New Mexico, 2020).

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