A few weeks ago, I was waiting for what to expect from the Apple Watch in Asia – the whole smartwatch class has too many issues for many reasons – and I ran into Rick Perry, former Texas governor, because he was the same. Coming out of the studio I was about to enter.
For some reason, I felt that he was going to be stuck with a specific title, like there are many people in his position, but that was not the case. In fact, he was quite friendly and less stuck than I thought (which led to a certain amount of uncomfortable self-examination).
We started talking about technology and jobs, and how his focus as governor was on getting tech companies to move from Texas to California and not have as much luck as he had hoped.
California Governor Jerry Brown actually referred to Perry’s well-publicized US $ 24,000 media campaign criticizing California’s business climate, and I quote, “a fart.”
The weather in Austin, Texas is similar to California, with more favorable tax treatment, lighter regulations – and this is where Dell, IBM and AMD have a significant presence (among other firms). So why hasn’t Texas pulled on more successful companies, even though California is at risk of losing Silicon Valley?
I’ll share some thoughts on that and close with my product of the week: the FLIR One infrared camera accessory for iPhones and Android phones, which can give you a superpower.
Critical mass of engineers
Friends do not like to travel long distances. Most people live in close proximity to where they were born. Once they walk, especially if they have accumulated a lot of belongings, they again, never want to move.
When they are older, people are ready to move far more than they were when they were young, meaning that once you acquire several generations of a particular skill in one place, that skill It will be impossible to move.
It usually takes a combination of any kind of large-scale migration to live from one place to another to encourage them to live and to be painful of the current environment. You can see it with Detroit vs. California.
At one time, there were large GM and Ford plants in California, and the weather and living conditions must have been far better than in Detroit – and at one time, the costs were no different. Nevertheless, significant mass of car manufacturers remained in Detroit – and as costs rose in California, most of the plants there closed.
Only Tesla is now as big a carmaker in California, occupying an old GM / Toyota plant – but that’s largely because Tesla is more of a technology product than a typical car, and the firm needs to A critical mass requires software and hardware engineers. So that’s where the skills are made, and those people are in California.
Things are changing
As Perry pointed out, things have become very expensive in California, and it has become difficult to move people there as a result. Both middle management and entry-level workers find it really difficult to relocate to California.
Once you move away, you usually find it almost impossible to go back, because the housing cost differences are so great. It is not the cost of living either. Taxes are high, roads and schools are in poor condition, and now the state is experiencing a massive drought, promising an El Nino drought in 2016. Very badass.
There has been a huge increase in traffic in Silicon Valley. It has become so bad that it is almost impossible to leave between 6:30 to 10 in the morning and 2:30 to 8 in the afternoon. – And this only relatively small accident in one of the freeway intersections turns the area into a parking lot at any time.
A few weeks ago, a suicide attempt occurred on a freeway bridge that transformed San Jose and the surrounding areas into a no-drive zone.
Instead of manufacturing its huge new battery Gigafacturing in California, Tesla decided to build it in Sparks, Nevada. (Perry regretted this, as he fought fiercely for that plant. However, given that the lithium-ion battery would be replaced in the next five to 10 years, and the plant would be difficult to replace, he said That possibly miss a bullet with it.)
In addition, people can stay fast where they want and can connect to their companies electronically. If you are in sufficient demand, you will find that you have the option to live – and California just might not.
However, right now, the options are not really gaining much traction, likely because there is no new phenomenon to pull people into one place.
What will it take
It will probably take a sequence of big events to move the world’s technology center from Silicon Valley to elsewhere. Traffic, water, quality of life and education are all elements in the game already, setting up a low baseline to set up another baseline for the next big industry.