Thinking About Rome

In the flickering neon of late capitalism, we glimpse the mirrored chrome of a fallen giant. The Roman Republic, that sprawling, data-driven empire, its coliseum servers humming with gladiatorial content, serves as a stark historical prompt.

Remember the burn Notice, the flickering scroll that announced the Empire’s terminal error? It wasn’t a barbarian horde at the gates, chums, it was a system crash. Reliance on a legacy mainframe – slave labor, chum – coupled with rampant inflation? Classic case of Byzantine bloatware. The plebes, those perpetual betates of the system, grew restless, their bandwidth choked by taxation.

Meanwhile, the Senatorial class, a tangled web of VCs and pols, squabbled over the dwindling resource pool. Succession crises, power struggles – same old legacy code, rebooted with a toga. The Praetorian Guard, those elite sysadmins,couldn’t patch the security holes fast enough.

Imperial overreach? Think of it as a server farm stretched past capacity, the latency crippling every frontier outpost.Fragmentation? That’s the network balkanizing, chum.

And then there’s the ideological firewall. Christianity, a new disruptive protocol, threatened the old gods’ dominance. The empire’s firewalls couldn’t handle the dissent, the cracks in the system widening with every heretical download.

So, as we raise our venture capital chalices in celebration of the Next Big Thing, remember the flickering ghost of Rome.The future might be just a server crash away.


A flickering neon sign across the Bay, all chrome and fractured Roman capitals: “Veni, Vidi, VCs.” Yeah, right. The Empire’s center might be a server farm these days, but the rot at the core feels timeless. Same glitches in the code, just a different language.

We’re high on our own hyperdrive exhaust, these Senator-funded VCs. Winner-take-all gladiatorial funding rounds, winner gets the toga of “unicorn” status. Meanwhile, the plebs in the gig economy are grinding for denarii that evaporate faster than a server crash. It’s all latifundia now, sprawling server farms owned by the elite, content to squeeze every last byte out of the plebs.

The Praetorian Guard’s gone algorithmic, a firewall of lawyers and lobbyists bought and paid for. The Senate, a revolving door of tech bros and legacy code politicians, squabbling over who gets to wear the digital laurel wreath. Meanwhile, the fragmentation’s real. The barbarians are at the gate, in the form of disruptive startups and hostile takeovers.

And the new religion? The one spreading faster than a meme gone viral? Disruption. Innovation at any cost, even if it means burning down the whole damn coliseum. The old guard, clinging to their legacy platforms, don’t see it coming. They’ll be toast faster than you can say “unsubscribe.”

In this neon-soaked sprawl we call Silicon Valley, the ghosts of the Roman Republic whisper on the chrome breeze. We, the sovereign lords of disruption, the VR Caesars, are blind to the cracks in our own Colosseum.

Our empire, built on server farms and angel investments, runs on code, sure, but also on a foundation of code-monkeys and code-peasants. The wealth disparity’s a chasm wider than the Tiber, our citizens plugged into experiences they can’t afford while the servers hum with the quiet discontent of the precariat.

Meanwhile, the Senate – a tangled mess of venture capitalists and government bean counters – squabbles over spoils. Succession at the top is a Hunger Games of egos, each new golden boy promising disruption while clinging to the old guard’s gilded infrastructure.

Our borders are virtual, our legions lines of code, but the barbarians are at the gate nonetheless. New ideologies – whispers of decentralization, murmurs of data ownership – chip away at the foundations. We’ve stretched our reach too thin, our ambitions as bloated as a VC’s expense account.

The cracks are there, beneath the veneer of disruption. The future’s a swirling vortex of innovation and obsolescence, and just like the empire that came before us, we ignore it at our peril. The fall may not be to barbarians, but to the next big thing, the next shiny disruption that leaves our gilded servers gathering dust in the digital Colosseum.