Learning from Silicon Valley Bank’s apologists

What they think we think.

Cory Doctorow
7 min readMar 15


A sign reading ‘Pull on handle to open closet. Handle is rigid and doesn’t turn.’

Next Monday (Mar 20), I’m doing a remote talk for the Ostrom Workshop’s Beyond the Web Speaker Series.

My weird hobby is taking pictures of signs, especially “vernacular” signs, handwritten and odd. The best kinds of signs tell you what other people think you are thinking, or what you don’t understand. I’ve nabbed over 4,600 of ‘em:


I think you learn more about the world by delving into others’ misconceptions than you learn from their factual understandings. Facts are out there for anyone to discover, but when someone inadvertently affords you a glimpse into their wrong beliefs, well, that’s something that can’t be learned in any other way.

Which brings me to the apologists for Silicon Valley Bank, who are busily churning out incredibly revealing bad takes about why bailing out SVB was the right thing to do, and why you’re wrong to call it a bailout, and why all of this is Very Regrettable but nevertheless The Right Thing To Do.

Here’s a terrible reason to support the SVB bailout: because if we let all the tech companies who did business with it fail, you might not be able to get into your house anymore after your smart-lock fails because the cloud service it depends on cuts off the startup that made it because their bank account went up in a puff of smoke:


Look, if you think the fact that my Internet of Shit door-lock failed because the company that designed it made no plan to let me into my house if they went out of business would make me sympathetic to that company, you are out of your fucking mind. If that happened to me, it would make me want to tear the lock out of my door, hunt down the CEO of the company that made it, set the lock on fire, and throw it through their front window.

Here’s another terrible reason to support the bailout: if SVB’s depositors lose their money, every other large depositor will flock to Morganstanley, on the theory that Morganstanley is too big to fail, and will behave just as recklessly, but will never be…



Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Mastodon: @pluralistic@mamot.fr