The Age of Silicon Valley May Be Ending - NBC Bay Area

The Age of Silicon Valley May Be Ending



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    The exterior of Oracle Corp. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif.

    The biggest cheerleaders of Silicon Valley are the politicians, educators and business leaders which make up Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network.

    So you know when they issue a report that says Silicon Valley's best days may be behind it, there's trouble.

    The report, released Wednesday and to be presented at the organization's "State of the Valley" conference Friday, says that while Silicon Valley has been able to reinvent itself over and over - the idea of reinvention becoming part of the very fabric of Silicon Valley - it may not be able to do it again.

    There are several factors behind this theory.

    1. The decline of venture capital. I've talked about this a lot - there's simply less money to draw from.

    2. The vanishing workforce. Not only are people leaving the valley for parts unknown, we're seeing foreign born engineers leaving to go back home. Remember, more than half of Silicon Valley's high end workforce is not from America. Many American-centric thinkers assume foreign born workers want to stay here - that America is a more desirable place to live. In fact, for many high skill immigrant workers, that's not the case. They want to go home, and now they have the skills to take to their home countries.

    3. Declining schools. So to replace those foreign born engineers, we need to make our own. However, at least locally, our schools just don't measure up to schools elsewhere in America. Class sizes in second grade just jumped to 30 kids - teachers aren't teaching, they're managing crowds.

    4. A more mobile sense of "work." For all the cheer leading we do about telecommuting, we failed to see that the ability to do work remotely means some of our most skilled workforce can leave for Iowa, where the houses are inexpensive and the schools are second to none. Sure they still work forOracle, but not at Oracle.