The State of California is broke. Santa Clara County is broke, and so is the City of San Jose. Most cities and counties in California have nothing in their coffers, and that can be said for most cities and counties regardless of their state. We all know the reason(s) and we all know that next to nothing can be done, since most politicians bow to the unions that get them elected. A few, like San Jose mayor, Chuck Reed, have the guts to say enough is enough, and threaten the unions that fill city hall with pay cuts or layoffs.
Despite this mess that we all live in, start up companies all around us are thriving. It’s not Google or eBay that I am talking about, but new companies that are making huge splashes, such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and FourSquare. These companies, if they were children would be in Elementary School, but are taking the Internet by storm.
Facebook is now the 2nd most trafficked website in the world, according to Alexa.com, and Twitter helped Barack Obama “tweet” his way into the White House.
These companies all hire bunches of really smart engineers and developers to create cool concepts and interfaces. They work crazy hours and get gobs of low-priced stock options that may or may not ever pay off. It’s a gamble, certainly, but with so many companies having hit the proverbial jackpot of an IPO or an acquisition, the chance of becoming stupid-rich is pretty compelling.
Did I mention that none of these jobs are unionized, and none of these people have a pension? There is no shop steward and no hall meetings and dues to pay. Nope. These really smart engineers and developers are paid based on their level of experience and what they produce. If they are no good, they don’t get the job in the first place, and if they suck after they get hired, they will be let go. If the company folds, which so many start-ups do, they lose their job and need to look for the next opportunity. There is no place to hide.
And this is why Silicon Valley has created 95% of the technology we use in our daily life, union-free. If you disagree with this statement, just think what brought you to this page in the first place and read through this list of companies located within a 50-mile radius of where I currently sit: Apple, Adobe, Intel, AMD, HP, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Oracle, eBay, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Friendster, HiFive, Cisco, Symantec, Tivo, Netflix, Seagate, NVIDIA, Tesla, and hundreds more.