Monday, January 14, 2013

How Silicon Valley Can Get its Groove Back

There was a great article that I have been meaning to post about entitled "How Silicon Valley can get its groove back, part 2." It's written by Greg Baumann, the new Editor in Chief at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

It starts off by implying that we are basically losing our edge against San Francisco and there has been a flight of young talent because Silicon Valley just isn't cool. I will say that I agree this is the perception, but when you look at actual numbers there really isn't much of a flight at all. If anything Silicon Valley is growing faster than San Francisco in terms of office development, employment, salaries, and number of tech startups. However, there is definitely a stigma that is floating around.

Greg's solution... Downtown San Jose. Young workers want to live in urban environments where they don't need a car, there are quality restaurants and cafes in walking distance, there is easy access to transit, and cultural facilities are nearby. Of all locations in Silicon Valley, San Jose has all of the raw materials needed to cater towards this demographic. Now it's all about execution of improving these ingredients and mixing them together into a cohesive experience that will attract young talent.

I'm going to toss in a few other benefits Downtown San Jose has that you won't find in SF: 1.) Great weather 2.) 5min access to an international airport 3.) Easy access to freeways and parking for those that do want to drive.

Check out the article over here and let us know what your thoughts are!

Source: SVBJ


  1. No comments?

    I agree that the Yelps and Twitters are now in SF when fifteen years ago they would've been in Palo Alto. San Jose hasn't had a "cool" company since Tivo. However, I'm not sure that's as important as the press makes it out to be. Two reasons:
    1. Anything related to hardware still almost has to be down here (space for labs, manufacturing, etc.), and hardware companies tend to create more jobs.
    2. Almost everyone I know who lives in SF is planning to have kids, and when they do they're planning to leave. We may romanticize that young college kids rule the start-up world, but that's just not the case. Plenty if not more are started by experienced people, experienced people tend to have kids, and if there's one weakness about SF (besides the weather) is that it's difficult for families. So there will always be reasons to start companies somewhere else.

    And I'd say it's easier for SJ to become more interesting than it is for SF to become more family friendly.

    But I couldn't agree more that Downtown is the key to SJ becoming cool. We all know it has a ways to go, but we can't ignore its importance.

  2. No comments because the idea of SF having a tech scene is laughable. I say that with a straight face, no condescension here.

    1. You think so?
      - Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest (moved from Palo Alto), Square, I'm sure more...
      - According to SV Business Journal, 8 of the 19 IPOs to watch for in 2013 are in SF:

      I wish you were right. I don't think the evidence supports you. And no condescension here, either.

    2. Let's not even talk tech in general, where there is zero... absolutely zero comparison. Let's just look at software, where the media lately has been overyhyping SF as a destination for software engineers. Here is a repost of a comment I made on the San Jose Development Forum:

      "Silicon Valley is absolutely the epicenter of software development by just about every metric including raw number of software engineers of any age, average salary for software engineers, and number of software companies.

      While there is a lot of buzz around SF for software right now and there are a few notable companies headquartered there like Salesforce, Twitter, and Zynga, it still is nowhere near what Silicon Valley has. First, keep in mind that Google and Facebook are 90% about software these days and have huge headcounts. Then you have traditional hardware companies like Apple, Intel, IBM, Oracle, and Cisco which also have massive software development departments. Last and most importantly, you have a ridiculous number of Silicon Valley companies that are all about software: Adobe, Netflix, a small gaming company called EA (along with Visceral Studios and The Sims Studio), SCEA, Eidos Interactive, Atari,, Marketo, Success Factors, McAffee, YouSendIT, Quora, Intacct, Yammer, Intuit, Mozilla, Opera, Synopsys, Symantec, Veritas Software, Ariba, InnoPath, Microsoft (Hotmail), Kana Software, Plaxo, Cadence, Yahoo! and like 1000 others...

      There is zero comparison here. If every single tech employee in San Francisco was a software engineer, there would STILL be fewer SEs than Silicon Valley has today."

    3. And by the way, the post above is about software. If you look at hardware it's immediate game over. There is no place on the planet that comes even close to Silicon Valley in terms of semiconductor and hardware companies, especially SF. I imagine SF would not even rank in the top 50 regions for tech hardware in the world (SV would be #1 and the next 30 spots would be in China, Japan, and Korea).

    4. Anon,

      Yes I think so. Yelp, Twitter, and Pinterest? Let's add in Zynga and Salesforce, too. FIVE companies, only 1 of which are making any kind of REAL money (and took nearly 10 years to reach that point), DOES NOT make up a tech scene. A 'start-up' scene? YES. A 'social-media-app' scene? POSSIBLE. But a full-blown "tech scene"? NO.

      About the IPOs. We can talk about them when they are actually SUCCESSFUL. Having a bunch of IPOs about to come out doesn't mean squat--they need to be SUCCESSFUL after IPO.

      Maybe I sound too harsh? I do recognize that there IS a little bit of a "tech scene" in SF, but it's so tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of "tech" history, that it isn't worth talking about...yet. Will it grow? Oh yes it will. But so will Silicon Valley itself.

      And good grief, what is this thing in the article about young, hipster, urban-trending software engineers? *Look around my office, crap I'm the only one in skinny jeans* Think "Office Space" more than Bravo's SV-wannabe show.

  3. Wouldn't it be great if our mayor contributed to this, read it or acted on it?