This paper examines the public conversation surrounding two failed technology businesses in rural Vermont communities, documenting a particular techno‐development discourse. Engaging with the literatures of rural development and science and technology studies (STS), the paper frames this discourse as a mechanism of power exercised by private capital. It analyzes how perspectives shared in news and social media functioned to attribute financial, technological, and moral authority to developers while dividing communities and scapegoating the state. Our work highlights the need for scholars to be conscious of techno‐development discourses that prioritize capital interests over community interests. Rather than using hegemonic conceptualizations of technology, we advocate for development that advances more flexible, local understandings of technology. And rather than centering high‐tech development as a vehicle for extending prosperity across space, we propose that greater attention be paid to extending high wages across industrial sectors.