The Weekend Silicon Valley Stared Into the Abyss

On Friday, March 10, Mike Wheeler, president and chief legal officer of payroll startup Patriot Software, was on a five-day cruise off the coast of Florida celebrating his brother’s wedding. When he stepped ashore that morning for a brief stop in Key West, his cell service returned and he got a message from a representative of the company’s former bank: “You ready to move some $ out of Silicon Valley bank??? 😳”

Wheeler replied with a question mark. During the night, his company should have sent about $40 million in paychecks to fry cooks, librarians, and 46,000 other US workers via Silicon Valley Bank, or SVB. The banker sent back

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