There’s an interview with Marc Andreessen over at SFGate.com, and it touches on lots of issues I figured would be near and dear to those still in the Bay Area. I share Marc’s sentiments on just about every issue. In particular the bursting of the bubble and the effect it’s had on the valley. I moved out here relatively recently. I already knew the bubble was burst before I made the move. I viewed it as a tremendous opportunity. There are all these high tech mavens out here, and lots of tech companies, and thousands of tallented programmers. But when you have that critical mass, once an area starts to draw people, it undergoes a process of swelling and restriction. The same thing happens at large companies.
Large companies will have a hiring spree when they need more people, but frequently some of those people don’t work out. They either aren’t the right fit for the skills needed, or there might be interpersonal issues, or management issues. Nothing wrong with that. The only way to know if the person is the right fit is to give them a try. Sometimes it doesn’t work, that’s life. Many times the roles being left aren’t filled right away. The employees who remain are now somewhat seasoned. If things are running like “business as usual”, the employees left can take up the slack pretty easily. Because the employees are getting more efficient, sometimes extraneous postions can be laid off as well. Also, nothing wrong with that. So there’s a period of restriction for a while. But really, it’s also a period of increased productivity. And it only lasts until something interesting happens that forces the company to “bulk back up”.
I haven’t witnessed it at all, I’ve just come out here, but apparently this cycle holds for Silicon Valley as well. Marc mentions in his interview that it was dying down when he first came out, and that the state of the area now reminds him of what it was like at first. I think that’s great news. And really it’s the first time that I’ve heard someone say something like that. Maybe it’s cause Marc is one of the few to make it out in good position overall, and who isn’t bitter about trying to extend his reach too far. So overall, I think this is one of the most positive bits I’ve read in a long time and I wanted to pass it along. I’m trying to prop myself up in a position where I’ll be able to take advantage of the next wave, and it’s great to hear from one of the old hands that he thinks there’s one coming along too.