California, Uber Alles

Subject: California, Uber Alles
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 07:43:43 -0800 (PST)

"Elna Tymes" wrote

> Third, for all its problems, California
> and Silicon Valley remain pretty much THE place in the country where
> bright minds and technology can find money and talent to create
> businesses.

Yeah, only California has smart people.

> A very recent nationwide poll of venture capital spent last
> year across the nation ranks Silicon Valley at the top in terms of both
> number and amount of venture capital investments: 35% of all venture
> capital investments went to Silicon Valley companies, with the next
> highest being 11% in the Boston area. (Other areas were generally in
> the 5-6% categories.)

Yeah, and how many of those venture capitalists are now ready to hang
themselves after giving millions to arrogant jerks to start stupid dot.coms.

> Then there's the connection between industry and high quality
> educational institutions. Silicon Valley was originally
> Lockheed-centric, in the days when the DOD funded most technical
> research and development. Stanford University's engineering program and
> its head, Lewis Terman, founded the concept of close ties between town
> and gown, so to speak, in technical arenas. Many Stanford engineering
> projects went on to become Silicon Valley companies, some of which are
> still around in one form or another. UC Berkeley joined in on the idea,
> as did UCLA and USC (and later UC Irvine) in the Los Angeles area and
> eventually so did UC San Diego down south, all in somewhat different
> areas of technology. So while others can sneer at the so-called cost of
> doing business in California, there's a very real payoff to Your Tax
> Dollars At Work in this particular area.

I think your post is representative of EXACTLY why a lot people have absolutely
no desire to work in Silicon Valley. It displays a sort of Silicon Valley
hubris: "Silicon Valley is the center of the cyberspace universe and everywhere
else in the world is some backwater hickville."

I've worked in Silicon Valley for many years as well as Seattle, Portland,
Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, etc. Honestly, Silicon Valley has more jerks per
square mile than most other places in the world. Self-absorbed playboys and
girls who think because they have a basket weaving degree from Berkeley and a
business plan they deserve 20 million to start e-pocket-lint.com. What is more
revolting is the greedy VCs who gave them the 20 million thinking they could
turn it around quick and make a fast buck. We all got played by VCs who were
just flipping companies to make a quick buck. Nothing intelligent or amazing
there - classic greed at work.

Nobody will doubt that there is a lot of technology firms in California. But
there are also a lot of firms moving out of Silicon Valley because its harder
than hell to find decent people for a decent wage. Not to mention the fact that
a cardboard box off El Camino in San Mateo rents for $2980 a month. (Now THAT'S
hyperbole.) There is a reason Intel put two of its largest plants in Sacramento
and Portland.

I've been offered many full-time jobs in the Silicon Valley area with very
generous 6 figure salaries and stock options. I turned them down. Why leave
Oregon where I have a nice home (with a mortgage I can afford), nice neighbors,
low(er) traffic, trees, and plenty of work. Why live in the smog covered
valleys of San Francisco and spend 3 hours a day in traffic when I can live in
one of the nicest cities in the country, with the largest city park in the US.
Why pay Gray Davis 3% of my pay so he can flush it into some Urban Energy
Renewal Plan for Homeless Dog Catchers or some other nonsense. Why put up with
rolling black outs, astronomical housing prices, and sales tax?

The notion that Silicon Valley is THE place to be strikes me as rather arrogant
considering the abundance of technology firms elsewhere around the nation (and
world).

Andrew Plato

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