balajis.com on Twitter: “It’s not Silicon Valley anymore. It’s Technology. Tech is now remote-first. Moving to the Bay Area is no longer necessary. And outages, fires, prices, and dysfunction are driving out the people already there. The place is less appropriate as a metonym for the concept.”
This meme has been going around Silicon Valley for the last 2 to 3 years. But this was crystalized to me in an interesting interview I heard between Balaji Srinivasan & Kyle Tibbitts.
Tech workers already spend 10 hours a day working online so going remote is very natural. Covid only sped up the process. Much of this move was exacerbated by a nutty closed-minded politically correctness (left wing in this case, btw I am also left wing but more centrist), a growing crazy expensive cost structure, rising taxes, local government mismanagement and never ending lockdowns & school closures in Northern California. This rapid decline of quality of life has led to these tech founders and workers moving somewhere else. One only needs to look at the long steady migration of Californians to Oregon, Colorado or Texas in recent years. Heck, a U-Haul costs like 5 times the price leaving California than that of one heading to California.
Think back to the 1600s when the Spanish/Portugese and English went to travel over the sea to explore and found the New World of the Americas accidentally. I think there is a natural pull of discovering the edges of the world. California used to represent the wide open West of the United States used to pull people here to chase their dreams in Hollywood (Entertainment) and Technology (Silicon Valley). Now that California is so saturated physically & mentally, maybe this is why Space and the Oceans hold so much more interest for people now as the next frontier.
Daniel Gross of Pioneer spoke about Frontier People vs. Normal People. Normal people chase Famous Brands. Frontier people are drawn to new things that are relatively unknown. The outsiders are more willing to try new things. Also outsiders are most likely to become outliers. I believe there is something in the psyche of people going to the frontier where anything is possible.
In many ways, as land becomes more scarce in the world, moving to the “Cloud” is natural. I see the talent of Silicon Valley now being widely distributed all across the world, almost like a hub and virtual spoke.
Watch this frontier of remote work as this is where all the interesting stuff will be happening in the next decade. This might be the most overlooked and underestimated impact of the pandemic.