How Will a Trump Presidency Affect the U.S. Tech Industry?

As with Brexit, there are many concerns surrounding what effect Trump will have on majorly progressive industries, such as the technology industry.

by / November 9, 2016
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Florida. (AP/ Evan Vucci)

The technology industry spent this past election season vocally and financially opposing Donald Trump’s campaign. And as Trump securied the presidency, the technology industry, namely Silicon Valley, will need to re-evaluate its stance in order to move forward.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, responded to a heckler at a recent technology conference by regarding those who challenge views — be they the views of an individual or a company — as a means to become stronger. Other tech experts have chimed in with similar thoughts of positivity in response to Trump’s victory.

“Things are never as bad as they look, and things are never as good as they look,” Ajay Chopra, partner at Trinity Ventures, told the Los Angeles Times. And Adam Lilling, investor for Plus Capital in Los Angeles, told the news outlet that “In times of recession or depression, people become more entrepreneurial. In times of expansion, great businesses grow.”

Case in point:

The reality of Trump’s incoming presidency will greatly affect the future of technology, specifically in the areas of global trade and outsourcing labor. These campaign points could threaten the pillars of the technology industry itself should they become policy in the next four years. Things like “skilled” immigration — hiring engineers and coders from overseas — would no longer be possible. It would undo the cooperative work of executives at Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn and venture capitalist Ron Conway. In 2013, the team of tech giants launched FWD.US, but the ground that they gained in immigration reform would be lost should the doors close on foreign workers.

That same year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed, stating that to lead the world in this new economy, "we need the most talented and hardest-working people. Given all this, why do we kick out the more than 40 percent of math and science graduates who are not U.S. citizens after educating them? Why do we offer so few H-1B visas for talented specialists that the supply runs out within days of becoming available each year?”

If anti-immigration legislation comes into motion, international students and skilled workers will be wary of coming to Silicon Valley, and the American tech industry will suffer the loss of global talent. As with Brexit, there are many concerns surrounding what effect Trump will have on majorly progressive industries, such as the technology industry.

Trump has yet to explicitly address supporting things like startups, artificial intelligence or open data, according to a report released on Nov. 9 by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; so for now, there is hope in the initial optimism shown by those within the tech industry.

“Don’t panic, and don’t confuse uncertain times with a lack of opportunity," Investor Fred Wilson wrote on his website. "If you were excited about your business yesterday, you should be excited about your business today. But don’t be blind about the macro environment you are operating in. It’s going to be choppy for a bit here."