Sure AWS needs a sales office in the region. And a datacenter. And a lobbying shop too. Pretty sure they got all that covered already.
I lived in Northern Virginia for 8 years.
It's got a mediocre quality of life compared to other tech centers, extremely high cost of living, horrific traffic, and has a talent pool that is inflated on paper due to the misaligned incentives of the Federal government workforce (Federal government workers are promoted and hired based on arbitrary checkmarks like Masters degree: yes/no, etc) which cause people to pursue worthless graduate degrees for pay bumps. This is why there are so many diploma mill type schools with campuses there. Add in the incredible over-staffing of Federal projects (both gov't and contractor) and you get incredibly mediocre talent where a "full stack web developer" produces very little over 3 years and has an atrophied skill set. Forced me to hire based on side projects and active Github projects to weed out the huge amount of mediocrity.
Bezos has political aspirations, and honestly, this makes sense from the perspective of already having massive data center presence there. He will now have large numbers of employees added to both Maryland and Virginia, giving him much more influence with Congress since congressman in general kiss the ass of large employers in their districts.
Hopefully, he could have some positive influences on the Federal gov't, by having a contracting wing from Amazon that would help fix the awful, bloated, IBM-like state of the Federal agencies. They used to do great things, but like IBM, they have calcified into jobs programs with dead-sea effect staffing.
If Amazon is putting their campus there you should buy everything you can.
This is not a cheap area by any means, but it’s far from the rarified heights of the more usual Big Tech areas.
I was looking at one bedroom condos in SF, but they’re around 850k to 900k for a small one.
He can literally get great onsite political influence with DC based HQ2.
Imagine having a large group of employees under you whose close friend or family member works in sensitive or influential federal jobs.
I also love the spot in assessments about the inflated pay, degree mills, etc.
Are you more likely to award contracts to AWS if you work at the DoD knowing that in two years you can move over and suddenly quintuple your salary?
The Federal government pays incredibly well, but has few technology workers. They instead primarily act as managers for embedded contractors, who themselves are paid far above average for a given role.
Additionally, AWS already has a DoD presence.
Source: Lived in DC area for 8 years, worked on numerous federal contracts, witnessed highly overpaid, lazy shitbags who were so incompetent that government shutdowns forcing them to stay home sped up work on contracts.
Amazes me how the "government workers are underpaid" meme is so strong in people who haven't spent time in DC area.
I grew up in an impoverished rural part of Virginia 6 hours from DC. Going home and seeing my hard working relatives scrape by and do without after paying taxes, then going back to DC and seeing people who arrived at work at 9, left at 3:30, and yapped half the day made me transform from Leslie Knope to Ron Swanson.
I always tell people this:
The US political parties have it wrong. One thinks gov't is always bad and shouldn't exist. The other thinks it is fine, but just needs more money.
The reality is that it is a broken organization that used to be amazing, but has rotted, and the last thing it needs is more money. It needs to be radically reformed and reinvented. End rant.
Maybe they pay the people in question too much for their skills, motivation, or work product, but that is not "incredibly well" for a software developer in the USA. DC isn't that cheap, though certainly not like SF. If you are a good developer who doesn't show up at 9 and leave at 3:30 and don't want to, who can make it to a decent pay band at a FAANG, or have a specialization that demands high income, I just don't see how the government could be a good choice economically.
That's absolutely not true. Or rather, while it's a cap on basic pay, many Feds in technical roles make more than that after retention incentives.
Obviously that doesn't look quite as good right now (pretty much only for the software engineering field), but during the next recession? Best deal in the world. Heck, you even get free holidays every now and then during government shutdowns. (The employees have always been back paid for these if I recall correctly -- maybe there was one time they weren't? Very rare.)
Cry me a river. Federal jobs have downsides, but this isn't one of them.
My wife works for the feds and I'm in the private sector. I have a better retirement plan, better health benefits (she is on my plan, not vice versa), more paid vacation per year, more flexible work schedule, and more holidays (I get the day after Thanksgiving, she does not). Oh, and I get paid more.
When people are talking about this, they're usually talking about local government positions like teachers, librarians, and social workers. Or the post office. Very rarely are people talking about contractors or white collar bureaucrats.
Norway is actually doing this a rebuild of one agency. The Government's Road Agency has essentially been deigned ineffectual and FUBAR, so a new agency has been formed (New Roads) with responsibility for all new roads. The old agency has stopped replacing retirees (I think) and will eventually disappear. This is of course never said loudly in plain words. I just wish they would do the same for the railroads agency, which is a peerless shitshow.
Edit: The strategy you outline re: government employees is already employed by all of the large government consulting firms. Amazon is late to the game and behind the ball with their lack of awarded contracts. They might be able to catch up, but contracting is one field that has repeatedly shown itself to be resistant to disruption.
There are generations of future government employees that haven't even graduated high school yet. Amazon is not dumb. Bezos has never played the short game.
If anyone in the consulting field is paying attention - right about now is almost too late to begin going out and lining up a bunch of clearance techies who can be on your secure GovCloud consulting team to provide all the services that the DoD will be needing.
it might be assumed that a former contracting officer representative could not be hired by the same company whose contract they oversaw as a federal employee. Even though seeking such employment while still in federal service would represent a prohibited conflict of interest, seeking and being hired after federal service ends would be allowed
the rules would bar the employee from representing them, such as through a communication or appearance, before a federal employee regarding the specific contract he or she oversaw
Plus when trying to make a sale or negotiate a deal I'm sure it makes people on the other side feel better if someone says "And the people to support you or jump when you say how high are going to be 5 minutes away rather than 2 timezones away." It's almost at the point where subcontracting out is similar to just having all the work done in the same building you're already in. Seems like that would make people feel more comfortable.
Don't underestimate the power of the face-to-face meeting.
There's a reason that videoconferencing didn't kill the business class airfare.
Don't underestimate how much of a difference-maker face-to-face is.
I've called and emailed people and the one thing that actually got things moving was just going to their dang office and seeing them in person. I don't think it matters how good the technology gets and how many VR-facetime conference call services develop, there's always going to be something irreplaceable about meeting in person. If there's not much of a significant difference on paper between you and the competition, it really does put you ahead of the competition if those meetings go well and the competition isn't doing it. Same for hosting dinners, etc.
Do not underestimate the power of locality. It is a big factor in marketing. Having face time with clients is the chief reason you win jobs.
for that reason a lot of the federal contractors are baked in and grown from Northern Virginia.
If you're going to place executives in the area, then their underlings need to be there too, and so on. Putting your HQ where your executives need to be makes sense.
This is why all sales people are called "executives" and why all executives spend a large fraction of their time on sales.
That aside, it's easy enough for the government to fix the housing problem. They're just too invested in keeping prices high to want that.
A base pay of 72k would be ~82k w/ locality (Rest of US) vs ~92k (DC).
It may be just one factor, but it is much more than that let me explain.
Let us say Bezos came to the conclusion that Northern VA is right place long ago as you said and naively announced the place & commitment. What follows next is 65% of the region people cheer at the announcement and 35% protest stating it will cause housing expensive and traffic congestion etc..
After some back and forth negotiations with local govt. Amazon builds it HQ2. By the time HQ2 complete building complete campus (3 years), the unhappy dissident group get more support and "pass local city and state laws" demanding Amazon should pay for some affordable housing projects and some new infrastructure which may run into few billion dollars.
Now with this new bidding game, it is hard for the people of Northern VA to demand Amazon. Even if they do demand few years down the line few billion dollars towards some affordable housing etc. Amazon can happily pack back some of those Billions they got as tax breaks.
One can't build a Trillion dollar consumer retail business without playing on basic human psychology.
Found it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLtLz4wQtOg
I mean "quote him", not "cute hi"
Good work on 6+ months of press and making cities embarrass themselves for what seemed obvious from the start.
I recommend watching the actual talk, but there are a few sections of it summarized (including some about Amazon HQ2) in this article: https://www.recode.net/2018/9/19/17878766/scott-galloway-pre...
1. As you point out, right next to Pentagon and federal government.
2. Good transportation: right on the Metro and literally across the street from National Airport.
3. If you're going to have 2 headquarters, having them be on opposite coasts makes sense.
4. And I think another one that is pretty unique to Crystal City is that Amazon and their employees definitely want to be in a downtown, urban environment. However, most of the other cities on the list were either extremely crowded downtown, available sites were actually more out in the 'burbs, or the cities were far down in what a lot of people would consider "2nd tier" (or 3rd tier) cities. Crystal City is basically an urban suburb of DC that you could easily see having a great "vibe" for an HQ2, but still has room for Amazon to build out.
The Patent and Trademark Office had 5 huge buildings; they moved to Alexandria. The Dept of Defense is moving a lot of its employees to Fort Belvoir, and the contractors are following.
It's really kind of crazy to have such a major business district so deep in a major metropolitan area, with such low average occupancy.
I do believe they have said they want some folks working out of HQ2 in 2019, so that means using existing buildings, at least at first.
The USPTO buildings have a lot going for them: pretty close to Metro, dedicated parking garages, and a great view out over the airport. I had occasion to work in one of them in 2011 and it was in fine shape.
But even if Amazon does choose Crystal City, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll go after those USPTO buildings specifically. There are plenty of empty floors and buildings in CC to choose from.
Also, some nyt writer that’d never been there called it the Brooklyn of DC which was hilarious.
/walks away from the keyboard to avoid ranting about why I got the ever loving hell out of Austin yet again.
Honestly the city just felt very superficial in a lot of ways. I was there almost a decade and a half, and in that span of time I came to appreciate different things about the city for what they were, but that pervading sense that there wasn't really much substance beneath the surface ever left, and the direction of the city just stopped aligning with my long term personal goals of buying a house.
Once I went from "passively thinking about buying a house" to "making a five year plan to buy a house" I sat long and hard and thought about if I wanted to make central Texas my home. It's gorgeous here, the weather is great, yes The Lege absolutely sucks but find me someone who can't find some gripe about their state government and I'll find you the next Buddha.
I decided to leave and return to the midwest.
Adler's City council fought the state on bathroom bills and bag bans, many teeth were gnashed, garments ripped and sackcloth torn-but aside from a few annoyed editorials and longform pieces from the usual local columnists, when city council abandoned CodeNEXT (a critically needed rewrite of city zoning laws and building codes that would have allowed for greater density and eased pressure on a stunted housing market) once again caving to neighborhood associations that could give a damn about anything outside of their borough and continue to hold council hostage at the expense of development and well design urban planning, I threw up my hands and left.
>I decided to leave and return to the midwest.
I’m actually in the Midwest right now and has Austin at the top of my places to move to. However, I do want to buy a house in the next 5 years, so this is making me have second thoughts.
I was someone who got to Austin in the very early 2000's after leaving the military up the road at Ft. Hood, enjoyed it for a few years, and slowly watched it evolve into something that just didn't excite me anymore. My experience shouldn't sour yours.
(But seriously, if you're gonna buy a house, and want to actually enjoy having a bit of land, but still be close enough to Austin to do Austin-y things, Pflugerville, Round Rock and Georgetown to the North are blowing up, as are Buda, Kyle and San Marcos to the south, with Bastrop to the east. To the west is where Michael Dell and probably Lance Armstrong lives. That's all I'll say about that)
p.s. if you absolutely feel like you have to have Franklin BBQ, don't be a rube and stand in line for 4 hours. Get some friends over, pool your money together and call in, they'll do pick up orders for anything over $40 I think and you can skip the line-or call my buddy Mark, his brisket is better anyway :P
Anyone that tells you South Lake Union neighborhood was better pre Amazon is full of it. It was a bunch of warehouses and run down.
Do you have experience of Seattle over the past decade, or are you just repeating platitudes?
I live in Seattle. Things like the Showbox reportedly in serious danger of being demolished for luxury condo's are just showing how soulless this city is becoming in the name of 'growth'. The entire city population has been replaced by tech bros and their significant others, tech bro culture, ubers, the food is boring and most restaurants are over-hyped, costs are insane, the people are selfish and rude, there's nothing to do except drink and ride a bike to look at Puget Sound yet again, there's little culture or diversity, and the politicians work entirely in Amazon's favor. I have a decent stable job here, but I'd move if the opportunity was to arise.
"In the early 1990s, the rise of the grunge alternative rock music and subculture in Seattle brought media attention to the use of heroin by prominent grunge artists. In the 1990s, the media focused on the use of heroin by musicians in the Seattle grunge scene, with a 1992 New York Times article listing the city's "three principal drugs" as "espresso, beer and heroin"  and a 1996 article calling Seattle's grunge scene the "...subculture that has most strongly embraced heroin". Tim Jonze from The Guardian states that "...heroin had blighted the [grunge] scene ever since its inception in the mid-80s" and he argues that the "...involvement of heroin mirrors the self-hating, nihilistic aspect to the music"; in addition to the heroin deaths, Jonze points out that Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland, as well as Courtney Love, Mark Lanegan and Evan Dando "...all had their run-ins with the drug, but lived to tell the tale." A 2014 book stated that whereas in the 1980s, people used the "stimulant" cocaine to socialize and "...celebrate good times", in the 1990s grunge scene, the "depressant" heroin was used to "retreat" into a "cocoon" and be "...sheltered from a harsh and unforgiving world which offered...few prospects for...change or hope."
Leading grunge band Alice in Chains had a song "God Smack", which included the line "stick your arm for some real fun", a reference to injecting heroin. Seattle grunge musicians known to use heroin included Kurt Cobain, who was using "heroin when he shot himself in the head"; "Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone [, who] overdosed on heroin in 1990"; "Stefanie Sargent of 7 Year Bitch[, who] died of an overdose of the same opiate in 1992...[and] Layne Staley of Alice in Chains [who] publicly detailed his battles with heroin...". Mike Starr of Alice in Chains  and Jonathan Melvoin from The Smashing Pumpkins also died from heroin. After Cobain's death, his "...widow, singer Courtney Love, characterized Seattle as a drug mecca, where heroin is easier to get than in San Francisco or Los Angeles.""
>Founded in 1939, the Showbox has hosted a diverse offering of music over the decades. From the Jazz Age to the Grunge Era, the ballroom has featured shows by Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters and the Ramones — as well as local artists such as burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee, and grunge bands Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, TAD and Screaming Trees.
>Other acts to perform at The Showbox have included Al Jolson, Mae West, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante and Dizzy Gillespie, The Police, XTC, X, Blondie, Gang of Four, Iggy Pop, Devo, Dead Kennedys and Jerry Cantrell. More recent performers include The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg, Dave Matthews, Kanye West, Lorde, Robbie Williams, Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie, Public Enemy, PJ Harvey, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Daft Punk, Kasabian, Old 97's, Elliott Smith, Peter Murphy, Guided By Voices, Built To Spill, Billy Idol, David Bazan, Bebel Gilberto, Cat Power, Spiritualized, Sleater-Kinney, Minus the Bear, Coldplay, Bright Eyes, The Roots, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Dita Von Teese, Maroon 5, The Shins, The Melvins, My Morning Jacket, LL Cool J, DJ Shadow, Scissor Sisters, TV On The Radio, Ke$ha, Kimbra, Marina and the Diamonds, B-52's, Lady Gaga, Ice Cube, Paul Simon, Macklemore, JoJo, (Kpop group) A.C.E and many more.
When I lived in Seattle, South Lake Union was pretty much a wasteland. Now Amazon is there and I hear it's a millennial/tech paradise.
Meanwhile, Columbia Heights and Eastern Market will probably see their gentrification rapidly accelerate since they're a short Blue or Yellow line ride away on WMATA. H street will probably be safe since Washingtonians seems to have a pathological fear or switching lines during their commute and it's closest to a Red line station (Union Station).
What if the gentrification spreads out from Union Market?
Yeah, in Boston for example (where Amazon is actually doing some fairly heavy building and hiring in the Seaport anyway), the proposed HQ2 site was Suffolk Downs. That's not out in the burbs exactly but it is adjacent to old working class towns a little ways north. It's not what your typical techie would consider being in Boston.
I think Raleigh was somewhere out in industrial parks a decent way outside the city with no transit.
We'll see if this story pans out but the DC area always had to seen as a leading contender. Yes, it's probably a bit pricey but one wonders how much latitude Amazon would have had anyway to pick a cheap location and provide much lower compensation than HQ1 to reflect that.
Even if the area doesn't check all the boxes, it checks a lot of them--including the fact that there's a ton of local tech talent and DC is, if not everyone's idea of a dream location to live and work, is at least considered tolerable by many.
Found the guy who doesn't live in or around DC...
If I were going to work in HQ2, I'd live in Del Ray, though its more single-family focused. But it has some nice local restaurants.
Tons of empty office space for sure though. I think proximity to DC itself is probably the main selling point.
It would be interesting though, if Amazon was prepared to invest in capital improvements for Metro...
It's worth noting that Seattle and DC have vastly different representations on their boards. In DC this is two representatives picked by the governments of DC, VA, MD, and the feds each, and in some cases not even appointed by elected officials. In Seattle, this is a board consisting almost entirely of elected officials of counties and municipalities.
Seattle's method works because the responsibility of elected officials is quite clear and their voting records are transparent, whereas a diffuse chain of responsibility via appointment is not.
Narrator: Amazon wasn't.
Riders commuting from downtown DC to Crystal City would be going against the prevailing flow into the city. Plenty of room on those trains in the morning.
Riders in MD would have a hard time, but a person would have to be pretty dumb to move to MD for a job in Crystal City.
Because Metro's reputation suffered when operations couldn't keep up with rising ridership. What will prevent Metro's operations from suffering again when an influx of Amazon employees stresses the system again? Would it be better if those workers got onto the already-jammed freeways?
> against the prevailing flow
Only if they board the trains between the downtown core and Crystal City. Odds are, if they're boarding from the northwest or from newly gentrified neighborhoods, they need to pass through the downtown core to get to Crystal City, which puts them on the same trains as people commuting in from the suburbs. They may get on pretty close to where the suburban commuters get off, but there's still an overlap. Not to mention the overcrowding on the downtown core platforms themselves. Keep in mind as well that Crystal City-bound trains from the downtown core stop at the Pentagon first, which has its own non-negligible share of commuters - those trains may not be full, but they sure aren't empty.
Surely, you jest. Yeah, it's on a metro line, but hardly anyone lives near a metro line. That area is consistently rated as the #1 or #2 worst traffic in the country for years.
It’ll be on the same line as Shaw which is one of the most desirable neighborhoods for 20/30 somethings in DC right now.
As another commenter pointed out, there is actually a ton of empty real estate in Crystal City itself and no doubt a ton of it will be built up as apartments/condos now.
Though, perhaps to your point, I also am not a fan of almost all planning. The nicest places to live, walk, etc. tend to be ones that arose before planning was widespread. Of course, they existed before the car, too.
Running mate Zuckerberg?
Zuckerberg might want to, but he's universally despised on both sides of American politics, so no chance there.
(Not to mention that VP picks are normally used to broaden the ticket's appeal, not double down on it...)
Crystal City, VA is still an 8 hour drive from the part of the South I'm from. Atlanta, Raleigh, and Nashville have so much potential... I think if just one of FANG put a HQ there (or even an office), the others would quickly follow.
All of the current political ads are pretty nauseating. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of managing immigration (and IMO there are lots of fair points on both sides that I think unfortunately get drowned out by extremists), the tone of the current set of ads is clearly "Evil brown gang members are coming to sell your kids drugs and murder your family." Makes Willy Horton look quaint.
Most of the other local Catholic families, if they could afford it, moved their children to private school to escape.
The schools had corporal punishment, and demanded that we call our teachers sir or ma'am, a custom that I was not used to and have encountered nowhere else. Failing to do so landed me in detention within the first month or so.
I was there for the original Roy Moore saga.
This was 15+ years ago and in a rural community with dirt roads, so I'm sure things have changed a bit and do not apply to the whole state, but checking the school website corporal punishment is still alive and well and Alabama nearly elected Roy Moore yet again.
I would never live there so long as the current toxic blend of religion and politics dominates the Southern political scene.
2. The politics are still overtly racist: https://twitter.com/haroldpollack/status/1051657219899617280
3. The HB2 saga demonstrates how strong the Christian right is in the state. As does a candidate in a race too close to call insisting there will never be peace in Jerusalem until Jews acknowledge the divinity of Christ: https://forward.com/fast-forward/413488/gop-candidate-no-pea...
4. gun laws are relatively permissive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_North_Carolina
5. MJ legalization is behind west coast states: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_North_Carolina
I’ll address 1,4, and 5 out of order and point out I don’t see their relevance to moving.
If NC had particularly egregious holes in its gun laws or something, I’d understand 4, but it doesn’t. It just doesn’t have notably strong gun laws, which puts it in the majority of states.
The other two are pretty inconsequential if you’re talking about the average person considering upending their entire existence to move somewhere, not a weekend romp
Now the other two...
That tweet was so egregious I had to look for context. It’s not a good context but it’s more of the gerrymandering conversations that have gone on around the country and it’s a technicality that they had to use that language.
Now if you think attempts to exclude blacks from politics is a southern problem, you must be out of touch with the rest of the US...
But of course it hurts to admit this is such a systemic issue that it’s not unsurprising to see a state grappling with it.
On the other hand, it’s also not going to fix itself by avoiding the many states it happens in.
I don’t believe in just sitting on my hands and waiting for change. I gladly moved to NC knowing of it’s troubled politics because they’ve been moving in the right direction.
It feels like what you’re saying is “NC is not SoCal” and in a way you’re implying “why would an average tech worker want to move to somewhere that isn’t a spitting image of California and SV culture?” (bringing up MJ legalization is a dead giveaway...)
The reality is places won’t change until people of other cultures join them.
My criteria for moving to NC wasn’t “will there be fewer religion nuts per square mile”, it was “is this a place where I can feel accepted without bending over backwards and changing who I am”.
And so far it has. I have gone on weekend trips to “the middle of nowhere” and wondered if I was getting looks because of the small black sports car in tractor-and-pickup-land, or because of the black person inside, but immediately felt ashamed when I entered a gas station or a store and had nothing but hospitality shown to me. (A friendly reminder, you can be woefully out of touch with Israel and Judaism, obsessed with religion [by our outsider standards] and still not be a fundamentally bad person)
Expecting other places to coddle your tastes and expectations to the point you’re complaining you have to buy certain types of liquor in a special store when bringing up blockers for people living somewhere... it doesn’t scream awareness of how the world at large works.
I mean, this was the topic at hand. I recognize it hurts to hear one's chosen home disparaged, but when you're trying to recruit candidates into a location, you can't exactly demand they put up or shut up. You're not just competing with LA, you're also competing with SF, Portland, and Seattle, as well as Denver and other cities in Colorado. The 'blue bastion in a red state' pitch for specific cities basically relies on the supreme court to protect blue cities from their state governments, and well, we probably need to see a term or two of today's Supreme Court before we understand the full ramifications of recent appointments.
On the other hand, Amazon's HQ2 strategy seems to be 'let's find a lower CoL city to house all the accountants and HR specialists', so nationwide recruiting may not be an actual concern.
If anything you’re whining that the US isn’t a white SV techie monoculture, and it’s music to my ears...
I don’t want NC to put for or put up with SV yuppies, I want NC to grow it’s own culture that is different than its current culture, but also different from what a coddled liberal wants apparently.
There’s a difference.
This thread wasn’t “where in the South can SV run it’s Xerox machine and make San Francisco 2”.
It’s where the would an average tech worker, who FYI is not a stereotypical FAANG employee, want to settle down.
There’s plenty appealing about NC, and plenty of other places that don’t fit your narrow minded, and frankly conceited view of how the world works.
Heh, I actually did live briefly in NC as a child. And Texas, and Georgia, and Kansas, because my father was a contract software consultant. And I've spent my career in three different states. When I chat with my former colleagues from Kansas City about recruiting, there is always a tone of defensiveness about why none of my student employees consider their companies.
> If anything you’re whining that the US isn’t a white SV techie monoculture, and it’s music to my ears...It’s where the would an average tech worker, who FYI is not a stereotypical FAANG employee, want to settle down.
Eh, it's just the uphill battle you face in recruiting. And we haven't even really touched the subject of recruiting foreign nationals. I don't particularly care much about most of the items I posted, I just wanted to offer perspective to the 'we don't need to change to recruit, the recruits need to change' crowd seen here and elsewhere.
If you want my personal justification for not moving to NC or further south, it's pretty easy: Fire Ants.
I say that because you’re just doubling down on my point. Why do FAANG employees come into recruiting an average tech worker? In a sentence... “who needs them?”.
You seem to be in this, again, somewhat conceited, line of thought that the rest of the US combined does so little that the SV microcosm is the average of US tech and to change that you need to include the whole world (foreign nationals).
It screams this “oh what they do doesn’t count” or “you need that stereotypical FAANG guy” mentality that I see so much in trendy tech.
The average recruits don’t have to change to come to places like NC, or really places that aren’t don’t have Sillicon in their name (Sillicon Alley, Sillicon Mountsin, etc. included). All they need is an open mind.
Not the “Open to everyone in my hive mind, everyone else is not even worth communicating with” mind that I’ve seen grow strong in “trendy tech”
The recruits who think they’re being asked to change only think so because of closed minded thoughts almost all of the time.
They become so attached to this idea of an “open monoculture” that anything that isn’t their existing culture is an attack on it instead.
“How dare you try and make it change which monoculture I follow”.
NC would be a terrible place if it worked like SV because everyone would be the people who support the guy want Jews to accept Christ and repel anyone who felt differently and try and change you for not agreeing. That would be a close race, it’d be a won race.
And people who are in that “open monoculture” mindset immediately try and apply their lens to NC and see that.
At the end of the day people are coming to NC, and NC has accepted them. It’s not the place these people would project it as
(Replace NC with literally any “off the beaten path but somewhat up and coming locale that’s not a traditional ultraliberal playground)
1. Yes, the fact that this is uniformly a control state, that is a problem. (Given how they are, I wish they had some special exclusion areas) However, a lot of the east coast operates in the same manner. The early hour for last call is bad as well.
2. Politics that you're talking about have very little to do with the tech sector. Despite what silicon valley would have you believe, you can be a conservative and be a productive member of the industry.
3. This sounds like you're pushing a political agenda here. I think a more succinct way to put this would be: Given the demographic that the tech industry attracts, the bible belt would not be favourable to their lifestyle.
4. (Also see #3)
There are reasons for doing tech in NC and it does have a small tech sector.
NC has some potential to improve its standing, but so far the gerrymandering has proven insurmountable as even when the courts rule the districts to be illegal, they allow them to continue to be used because the next election is always "too soon".
I realize how pretentious this probably sounds. Take is as a single anecdote, based off my own personal experience.
I would love to be proven wrong, and will gladly eat my words for dinner.
The Bay has a kind of a specific moral view, which is sometimes applied in a fairly authoritarian manner.
It's not very Liberal, and arguably not hugely tolerant either.
For example, all sorts of activities which are common and normal in the rest of America and the world are either frowned upon, or considered fully uncool in the Bay. Things like fishing. Hunting. Most sports. Talking about sports. Twangy accents. Country music. This is a long list.
For example, promoting vegetarianism, and frowning upon those who are not (or forbidding it) as is now the case at 'We Work' - isn't remotely liberal. (Can you imagine if Texas Oil required their employees to be meat eaters?)
Though most of that won't get you in trouble in the Bay, it puts you in the 'out club' in much the same way that being a little bit to colourful or effete might put you in the 'out club' in Texas.
FYI - Having lived both in Texas and The Bay, I'm confident in saying that in the vast, vast majority of Texas you have nothing to worry about if you don't fit the Texas profile though in some legal cases it might be tricky. You just won't be 'cool' in their sense. There are tons of out gay people in Texas, working in all sorts of industries. It's not as good as the Bay, surely, but it's not hell on earth.
When I was in Texas, the ladies in the office would not have it that a young single man would be alone for Thanksgiving. They put myself and the other ex-pats into homes for the holiday dinner.
In Cali, nobody really cared about Thanksgiving, and certainly did not think to care that some people might be alone during this festive time.
Both areas have a general view of how things ought to be, and that view is applied sometimes in an authoritarian manner, and neither of them are hugely tolerant or Liberal. They have 'their ways'.
Personally, I’d rather actually connect with someone (or not) than use such mindlessness as a social crutch. I don’t find the extremely common phenomenon of people who don’t like sports forcing themselves to pretend they do for career-related reasons to be particularly healthy, either.
Ha ha ha - this is so funny.
If this comment is not satire, then I think I just made my point!
I hope that readers here realize how fairly uncommon (and elitist, i.e. everyone is obviously wasting their time) this kind of statement is. Surely, a lot of people don't like pro-sports, but most are not so antagonist about it.
My gosh, if you want to connect with people from anywhere, the first thing you can do is talk about sports!
I only wish I cared about sports, it would be so much easier on sales calls and hanging out with regular people!
Exactly the social crutch I was lamenting. This phenomenon is indeed real, and it’s pathological.
They most certainly do, at least games anyways. Clans for example have a fairly tribal sounding name.
All that said, pro sports culture is basically a social cancer for various reasons, including some that are illuminated directly in that article. The “but how will you relate to the working class” argument is weak, and gives the reader permission to use social crutches rather than useful, generalizable social tools. Indeed, the idea of “becoming” a pro sports fan to be able to socialize with a certain class of people is rather condescending.
So true. The west coast in general seems it would rather spend a holiday alone with the internet rather than with other people.
Being west coaster, I almost didn’t know what to do when strangers would start a random conversation with me. I’m only used to homeless people doing that here.
For example, all sorts of activities which are common and normal in the rest of America and the world are either frowned upon, or considered fully uncool in the Bay. Things like fishing. Hunting. Most sports. Talking about sports. Twangy accents. Country music. This is a long list."""
Sorry, this isn't the kind of tolerance I was talking about. You're missing my point if you thought that I meant the Bay Area is a bunch an unopinionated amoeba. The Bay Area is just as entitled to not prefer country music as the South is to prefer it. I don't think liking country music in the Bay Area will cause any sane, reasonable person to treat you differently or not be your friend.
(also, the statement "the Bay Area is not very liberal" may be changing slowly from an attitudinal perspective, but certainly that statement does not bear out in the polls)
Your point is well taken though. You're right that both areas have general views about how things ought to be. The main difference that I think most Californians/PNWs really care about are the differences in views relating to social issues, human rights, and tolerance from a governmental and legal perspective. Thinking that fishing is not cool is a little different than your government trying to ban same sex marriage, for example. And thinking hunting is not cool is different than living somewhere that witch hunts immigrants.
It absolutely will.
If you hunt, or own a gun or into 'gun sports' it will 100% affect who your friends are. Did you hear about the employee outrage when Zuck killed is own lamb for passover (or whichever festival it was, I'm not knowledgable). Do you really think that being a 'hunter' won't affect your status at 'WeWork' - a company that enforces vegetarianism? Among a whole bunch of other values?
Listening to Country Music and driving a pickup? Not cool in the Bay - unless it's hipster/ironic. If you are 'openly' Christian, it will likely affect who your friends are as well.
These are not so much conscious thoughts people make, or outright judgements (in some cases they are) - but it will lose you a lot of points on the spectrum of social hierarchy.
I interviewed at a FANG once and the interviewer was interested in the band that I played in and asked what kind of music we played. It was a very long time ago ... and I suppose my answers were not hip enough for him because he obviously was not impressed.
Social circles, companies/startups, clubs, interests - these are all very intermixed as sad as it may be, we make judgements on these thing in life and in business.
""the Bay Area is not very liberal" may be changing slowly from an attitudinal perspective, but certainly that statement does not bear out in the polls""
I mean liberal by classical definition. You seem to be referring to the American pop-culture political definition of 'Liberal' - which frankly has very little meaning, or more like 'left wing'.
So yes, of course the Valley and Cali are fairly 'Liberal' in the pop-culture political sense and will be forever, but they are not very 'liberal' in the classical sense (though the valley has a history of being a little libertarian, which is a little more like classical liberalism, but still different).
In Texas, they really don't care who you are overall. But if you are gay, or effete, or a little weird, you might not be in the cool club. If you were the QB on your high school team, you get bonus points. If you 'never miss Church' it might get you a few bonus points in some places.
In Cali, sure, you can do or be as you please, pretty much. If you drive a big truck, speak with a twang, talk about football or fishing a lot ... you're not going to be in the cool club. Being a vegan, or having a really humbling 'rags-to-riches ethnic minority from another country story' ... will give you big empathetic bonus points. If you belong to a 'Social Justice Cause', or 'attend burning man' - it might get you some bonus points.
In both Cali and Texas - people feel a weird need to push those behaviours on others, maybe as a function of virtue signalling, and to also shame a little bit people that don't follow suit, i.e. 'if you don't support my SJW cause/attend Church you must be immoral'.
Everywhere in the world is like this to some extent, but this is slightly more common in America I think than the rest of the world, particularly bolder, more aspirational regions that are a little 'newer' and have a stronger sense of ideological identity - like Texas and Cali!
But it's not really a matter of 'personal experience' - because in general, those are not cool things to be in the Valley - and many people will care.
'Culture fit' is a huge point of exclusion at high tech companies.
WeWork went fully vegan for exactly this reason: they don't want those meat eating types, and the culture that comes along with it.
We are like SF except we still enjoy BBQs, sports, and my friends from Texas get compliment about their accent.
Weather is a bit chillier though.
As far as sports, your average engineer isn’t typically consumed by them, but half the engineers I’ve worked with from the bay seem to be fans of whichever team is doing great at the moment (warriors or giants or often the sharks).
I’ve also done more sport fishing and crabbing here than anywhere else I’ve lived.
I think the huge numbers of foreign residents have a large impact on the overall culture compared to say rural Texas, but it doesn’t seem too far off imho.
One other point is just how many super packed country concerts there are at shoreline.
Tl;dr San Jose/SV is just as country music/sports obsessed /game and fish oriented as the rest of the country (if you don’t surround yourself with non-North American engineers for eg).
Edit: on mobile, autocorrect at word.
I think if you decided to test this theory, with say a picture of yourself with a buck on Facebook or twitter, you’d find it to be untrue.
A lot of SV may not be extreme one way or another, but for employees at large tech companies there’s a definitely and strong bias.
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and a few others were consistently included in all definitions of The South. "Edge" states for the region varied tremendously.
Let’s try Wikipedia instead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_United_States
I lived in the City of St. Louis† for 13 years (and in the County for 6 before that) before moving to NYC. What I find is that young folks here who say they're from, say, Cleveland or St. Louis or similar cities in the South and whose experiences since moving have led them to believe that nothing they've found here exists back home, are often from the exurbs of those places and don't actually know what it's like to live in the center of a Midwestern or Southern city.††
I suspect they wouldn't much like the exurbs of New York, either.
We like to talk about red states vs. blue states, but the reality is that blue cities give way to purple and then red counties pretty quickly, even in liberal strongholds like New York.
Now, look, that's not to say that there are no differences in culture between, say, Atlanta and San Francisco. Obviously there are big ones! But when you dig into what people actually know about living in this or that part of the country, there's often not a lot there. Or, more charitably, individual experiences vary wildly (even within a single metro area).
† Not the South, but I think the point I'm trying to make here still holds.
†† It also seems worth noting that the experience of living in a big, new city in your early 20s (with all the new freedoms that come with that) as compared to wherever you happened to be when you were 14 is -- well, let's just say there are important perception-shifting factors.
I live in and am from North Carolina and find it barely tolerable despite now living in the most "progressive" part of the state (Durham). Every attempt a city makes to move things forward is faced with obstruction and preemption by state representatives from rural areas who resent the progressive population centers. Investment in infrastructure is especially seldom possible, so we have little public transit, few sidewalks, and lots of traffic.
There are things to recommend the south, but it's sure to be a culture shock for anybody who moves from a major metro.
As an aside, I think the transit situation alone makes this sort of area a non starter for somebody like Amazon and indeed I'm glad they did not select this region. This is an area which grows through sprawl and additional roads. The extra traffic combined with an unwillingness to spend money on public transit would have caused major issues.
Sounds similar to NIMBYism in other places.
No matter your views, politics are frustrating in some way in every geographic area, I promise.
If Tim Cook opened a research center or similar in an SEC college town like Auburn, AL, as an example, they could 1) totally dominate the university’s research pipeline relatively free from other corporate competitors, like create a custom departments silicon, materials, sensors, AI, whatever else 2) high quality of life for employees and their families with good public schools and high quality cheap housing, 3) win over the school’s board of trustees via major partnerships and get the university to do a lot to work for you for free, 4) abundant land for cheap office space 5) a high quality transit system 6) 1 hr from Atlanta’s enormous international airport plus a high quality general airport big enough for large private jets.
It just seems like a win-win, yet I don’t see anyone doing it (and maybe there are great reasons why!)
His alma mater as well.
Yes there are many good people there. But the public schools I went to have really changed as most of the white people went to private schools. There aren't many minorities, there's lots of implicit racism. I guess country clubs let black people in now (unlike when I was a kid). It's really a different world.
That’s all I’m trying to point out.
I will grant you that if you have a family it's way cheaper due to availability of real houses in the burbs combined with cheaper daycare/nanny/housekeeping/etc., but a young, successful tech worker is probably better off on the west coast despite the higher cost of living.
1) non bay area tech workers severely underestimate the total comps that bay area workers are earning right now.
2) many renters in the Bay Area may actually have more in their pocket. If you are willing to rent a room (i.e not have a studio or 1BR apartment), you're probably paying 1-1.5k more per month. The salary delta for Bay Area techies is way more than 12months*1.5k/month per year. Have some basic financial responsibility and you can really save a lot out here.
And that's just looking at the difference in rent. The number goes up further if you account for the fact that everything else is also more expensive in the Bay Area, and if you add in the additional money you need to save for a down payment, assuming you want to buy at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if that $40k/year difference ends up in the $60k-$70k range if you factor those in.
I don't doubt that a $60k-$70k difference in total comp is achievable at FANG. At startups, you probably don't get there without counting equity, which is riskier and far less liquid than equity comp at FANG.
My mortgage on a 5 bedroom 3 bath house (3k sqfeet) in the population center of Houston is $1500 a month...
That being said the most I have ever paid for a apartment was $2100 a month for a 2 bedroom in the riches part of town with views of the city skyline and spiraling biking and jogging ways. Awesome food everywhere.
$800 or less and you can still live in a nice area with more food options and awesome public parks and public transpiration.
And if you are on a budget -- you can still get 1 bedroom apartments for $500 to $600 a month --- from my understanding you can't even get near that in the Bay Area, you would break the bake at 1k for a single room.
That’s fine for the first year after graduating, but then when you get married and have children what are you supposed to do then?
As for the giant FAANG companies, I think the south is better off without them. They skew the market so much that it’s very economically disruptive, and since US cities are generally very resistant to building housing, I suspect that you’d see the big company offices would mess up the housing market anywhere they went the same way they have in SF and Seattle.
Even San Francisco is to some degree a backwater office for engineers. Many projects have been “defragged” out of there, which is a term that means the project is given to some engineers in Mountain View and the original developers have a choice of finding a new project or moving there.
I guess this office was smaller than I had thought to begin with.
Just grabbing one at random and checking their website, you can find IT jobs at Home Depot:
That doesn't invalidate your wish. I'm just saying it is possible to find tech jobs there.
Additionally,there are some prestigious universities in Atlanta, including Georgia Tech, and there are government jobs, such as at the CDC.
Seriously, this is offensive and inaccurate and wrong. It is just as bad as saying all Muslims are terrorists.
Only people who have never been to the South, and let New York media and Hollywood caricatures inform them ACTUALLY believe this.
It is terrible that CNN and MSNBC have followed the Fox News model of peddling fear, but for the opposite side. It leads to this kind of ignorance.
FYI:. I am proud of the fact that I helped two Indian co-workers get green cards and become fellow citizens. I did this at a company in Arkansas. I no longer live there, but they both remain and love it. They are now huge football fans as well.
Wake up and see your own prejudice.
I'm sure you derive immense satisfaction from your moral superiority, but your view of history lacks nuance and is self righteous beyond belief.
You work at Google, right? If so, you are complicit in a monopoly helping the authoritarian Chinese government spy on it's citizens. In typical Google fashion, they protest an executive harassment scandal while ignoring the aid of a human rights violating government. Cuz that would cost money. Quit your job and then feel free to preach morality.
I mean, that's SUCH a generalization.