Is this helpful?
These protests seem misdirected-- and this is coming from someone who considers our right to protest to be one of our most sacred liberties, and who has participated in more than a few demonstrations.
Some members of the tech community certainly give the impression of being aloof or naive to social challenges facing the Bay Area, and the country at large. I've encountered several people at big Silicon Valley companies who stepped into six-figure jobs right out of college and who seem oblivious to the fact that most people don't lead such charmed lives. Some of these people evidence the sort of self-styled "master of the universe" attitude that rejects the fact that success often has as much to do with luck or timing as objective merit. But I also know A LOT of techies who are hard-working, socially conscious people. It's also worth noting that many major SF-based tech companies (e.g. Salesforce) are laudably generous with their wealth. Are the tech companies enjoying tax exemptions open to some criticism? Sure. Are some of the SF techies overly entitled, or inadequately compassionate to those less fortunate? Yes. Is SF mayor Ed Lee doing a sub-par job protecting the city's dwindling middle class? Arguably. But the way some activists are generalizing the entire tech world is myopic and counter-productive.
Here's an example: If Google, Facebook and others stopped running buses, perhaps that would push some of the SF techies into the South Bay. But it would also push an influx of riders onto the public transportation infrastructure-- and as someone who already stuffs himself like a sardine in a can onto the massively unreliable N-Judah MUNI line, I don't see how that outcome is helpful. It would also put more drivers on the already-busy 101 and 280-- again, not helpful.
People should be angry. Thirty year of wage stagnation and the growing income divide are topics worthy of rage and action. I mean, the average salary in San Francisco right now is in the low $60K range, which sounds like a lot, but a) the median salary is lower than that; and b) the average studio apartment costs about $3000 per month. So if you make the average salary, have no expenses, and can survive without eating, you can afford (after taxes) the most modestly-sized accommodations. That's insane. And if you make less than the average, you'd better enjoy roommates. But the Google buses are at most a symptom of the problem, not a cause. The tax code, corporate personhood and the impact of money on free speech, escalating health care costs and the role of insurers and pharmaceutical companies in the escalation, self-serving executives who boost their own pay and arbitrarily define their own value, pundits who callously and moronically argue that most jobs should suck because otherwise people wouldn't be incentivized to better themselves, policy-makers who render judgment on struggles they've never faced themselves, inept and corrupt Congressional leaders who perpetuate all this garbage, so-called think tanks that advocate demonstrably bad data, media personalities who perpetuate a culture in which opinion and faith count for more than empirical facts-- compared to the Google buses, all of these things are far more worthy of activist ire.