Critics of Silicon Valley take particular pleasure in delusional analogies from tech companies and their backers, and last week provided plenty of fodder. First, Twitter was ablaze with a Uber-as-Rosa Parks comparison, for obvious reasons.
Yes, Uber disrespected the law. So did Rosa Parks. Respecting corrupt laws that grant special privilege to cronies is not a virtue.— Steve Dekorte (@stevedekorte) February 10, 2015
That inspired plenty of pushback, though not enough for Mr. Dekorte, who is seemingly unaffiliated with Uber, to delete his tweet.
Then, in a less direct analogy from a much more troubling source, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky went with a bold Gandhi comparison. Chesny, who is by many accounts a humble, thoughtful guy, invoked the 1930 Salt March led by the champion of non-violent protest. The march was a direct action campaign of tax resistance against the British salt monopoly in colonial India. Gandhi and the legions who joined him would produce salt without paying a required tax, which led to the jailing of 80,000 Indians, Gandhi included.
The tweet seems to be in regard to New York, where it's currently illegal to rent out an entire apartment for fewer than 30 days without the owner being present. Airbnb has submitted a proposal for a changed law.
When the internet pointed out the tastelessness of the comparison (Airbnb's legal struggles are not, needless to say, those of colonial India) Chesky deleted the tweet and issued an apology, also on Twitter. Still, he might need to rent out a doghouse for a little while, though probably for a period under 30 days.
What I tweeted earlier was ill-considered. I’m sorry. Never intended to compare our issues to work done by one of history's great leaders.— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) February 13, 2015