When the gods dance...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ERIC SCHMIDT: We Don't Talk About Occupy Wall Street

ERIC SCHMIDT: We Don't Talk About Occupy Wall Street In The Valley Because We Don't Have Those Problems

Matt Rosoff, provided by


Google chairman Eric Schmidt says that people in Silicon Valley don't talk about the concerns of the 99% because a lot of them are immune to those concerns.

He told Brad Stone at BusinessWeek, "Occupy Wall Street isn’t really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality."

He also said "We live in a bubble, and I don’t mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world.... Companies can’t hire people fast enough. Young people can work hard and make a fortune. Homes hold their value."

Points to Schmidt for his candor.

But this is a very narrow industry phenomenon, not a geographical one.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, is 9.5% -- more than a point higher than the U.S. rate. It peaked near 12% in Jan. 2010, and has been consistently higher than the U.S. rate ever since the 2008 collapse. (You can check rates yourself using Google's public data service.)

The rate is even higher in Contra Costa County, where Oakland is.

And speaking of Oakland -- what about those Occupy riots in Oakland anyway? Those were a mere 45 minutes from Google's Mountain View campus.

Get out of the core of the valley, and housing prices drop dramatically. You can get a five bedroom, three-bathroom house in the southernmost part of San Jose for less than $500,000 -- about one-third the price it would cost in Mountain View. And it's less than a half hour away.

I don't have any idea what kind of schools Schmidt sends his kids to, but here in the San Francisco public school district, parents are asked to pick up the slack from the massive budget cuts over the last five years -- like cleaning classrooms. And Governor Jerry Brown just cut another $300 million from the K-12 education budget next year, which was claimed as a victory because it wasn't as bad as the $1.4 billion worst case scenario.

This is a bubble?

It's not even that great in the tech industry.

Silicon Valley giant Cisco laid off thousands of workers this year.

I recently talked to an IT engineer at a mid-size financial services company downtown, and he complained that his budget is being slashed every year, as he's expected to do more with less. He's over 40 and sees no chance of getting hired at one of these sexy startups run by 20-somethings and funded by VCs who are younger than him.

So maybe Eric Schmidt and the people he talks to really don't discuss the Occupy movement.

But that's not a Silicon Valley thing -- that's just the circles he travels in.

COMMENT:  Arrogant twits.  You do nothing for the Bay area economy;  you merely enrich a bunch of undereducated techies who live in a fortress.

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