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Why the Occupy Movement Skipped Silicon Valley

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the still-occupying-jobs-there dept.

Businesses 328

An anonymous reader writes "Eric Schmidt says what we all suspected: Silicon Valley has largely been immune to the Great Recession. He said, 'Occupy Wall Street isn’t really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality. 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.'"

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Occupy First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481724)

Hello there

Valued by Results (5, Insightful)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481738)

Silicon Valley and other islands of technology define their economic model by success in the marketplace, not by the manipulations of ivy league finance wizards.

Re:Valued by Results (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481780)

Silicon Valley and other islands of technology define their economic model by success in the marketplace, not by the manipulations of ivy league finance wizards.

That is until the so-called finance wizards cast their jaundiced eye at your little cozy world.

The bean counters will come, eventually and a price will be put on everything and the value stripped.

Ignore them at your peril.


Re:Valued by Results (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481898)

Oh, the bean counting starts before the company, even in tech. There's nothing so holy and high-minded about tech that makes it immune to reality.

Re:Valued by Results (2)

BorelHendrake (1496471) | about 2 years ago | (#38482046)

Yep, and ignore sales and marketing at your peril as well...

Clearly this is a person who has not been around for very long...or only around during good times and not any hard times...

Re:Valued by Results (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#38482106)

Ignore them at your peril.

We don(t ignore them, but the tech world and the bean-counting world have been in a state of cold war for decades. They won't manage to stealthily come into our ranks, we prefer to create software to replace them rather than hire their kin.

Re:Valued by Results (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482124)

When will self-absorbed jackasses like yourself stop "signing" your name at the end of your statement when everyone can PLAINLY see the same user name, which is at the top of your statement?

Re:Valued by Results (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482198)

You're doing it wrong.


Yeah, Saruman is coming for your Shire (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482134)

hide your hobbitses

Re:Valued by Results (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about 2 years ago | (#38482264)

The bean counters will come, eventually and a price will be put on everything and the value stripped.

It's called an MBA degree. The focus used to be in how to bring efficiencies to an ongoing concern, it has slowly and subtly switched to stripping valuation from brands. It goes like this:

1) buy or get hired by a company that has a hard won reputation of quality
2) work huge financial incentives into your contract if profits double
3) cut quality by 50%, prices by 20%.
4) initially sales skyrocket due to lower prices
5) collect handsome bonus
6) work golden parachute into contract
7) brand collapses as people realize quality is no longer there
8) get fired, collect additional $50 million severance package

Welcome to XXI century American capitalism. This will appear in her epitaph.

The beancounters are there. Facebook is 50 billion (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 2 years ago | (#38482362)

Goldman Sachs have already made their money selling Facebook funds. Then comes the IPO with shooting star valuations for the upper management & VCs. Then the plunge to earth for the bag holders.

More typically known as pump & dump. This is what Silicon Valley is all about.

Re:Valued by Results (1)

ALeader71 (687693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481782)

Silicon Valley and other islands of technology define their economic model by success in the marketplace, not by the manipulations of ivy league finance wizards.

Agreed. Companies that don't need political protection to survive, don't need favors from politicians, nor seek value by political manipulation of the marketplace don't need to be Occupied.
Now can someone tell me about the Occupy movement's actual goals and desired outcomes?
It seems to me that without an end in mind, this movement could be corrupted and taken over by celebs just like the Tea Party.

Re:Valued by Results (5, Informative)

DeadlyBattleRobot (130509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481844)

This is a quote out of
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/25-7 [commondreams.org]

The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

        The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act â" the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

        No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

        When I saw this list â" and especially the last agenda item â" the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

Re:Valued by Results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38481998)

HAHAHAHA! 'get the money out of politics'.... good luck with that...

and what form of working, good-for-people govt has no money in politics?

Re:Valued by Results (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482368)

Get the jews out of politics and the money will follow. Just sayin'.

Re:Valued by Results (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481890)

Agreed. Companies that don't need political protection to survive, don't need favors from politicians, nor seek value by political manipulation of the marketplace don't need to be Occupied.

I couldn't disagree more. Political manipulation of the marketplace? How about political manipulation to shift the burden of paying taxes onto the individual instead of the corporation? Like lobbying congress to keep tax loopholes in place [sfgate.com] ? And if Google doesn't need to lobby politicians then why give them money [followthemoney.org] ?

Now can someone tell me about the Occupy movement's actual goals and desired outcomes? It seems to me that without an end in mind, this movement could be corrupted and taken over by celebs just like the Tea Party.

Well, as I've posted before, I'd imagine economic justice [slashdot.org] . To specifically address my point above about tax dodging, I feel that our taxpaying dollars present these companies with one of the best and safest environments in the world to run a business. From police forces to firefighters to the highway infrastructure to educating your customers in the public schools. The reason you might think that all those things are going to shit is -- as I see it -- companies reap the benefits from them and then shift revenue through Ireland or The Netherlands to avoid paying for them! There's something specific you can fix. Right now it's you and me picking up the slack in income and sales tax!

Re:Valued by Results (-1, Flamebait)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#38482322)

I would say the occupy movements end goal is most easily stated as 'put an end to big money'.
No one needs or deserves to be a billionaire. We should tax that life path out of existence.

Re:Valued by Results (1)

sleigher (961421) | about 2 years ago | (#38482416)

Their goals and desired outcomes are plain to see and they are achieving them.

Statements like this from Charles Schumer show that the Dems in Congress are paying attention to the middle class and the 99% even if they aren't attributing it to the OWS movement directly. Income inequality, being a point taken up by Dems now, is also one of the main points by OWS. I think their not having a "list of demands" is perfect. They are changing the conversation. That is their goal. I do not fear them being taken over.

From Huffington Post...

The memo, written by pollster Geoff Garin for Democratic policymaker Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), argues that while the 2010 election was a referendum dominated by anti-tax Tea Party rage against Democratic leadership, the 2012 election will be different because Republicans now share control of the federal government and their policies are increasingly seen as favoring the rich.

"The Republican/Tea Party narrative about the economy has been superseded by a different narrative -- one that emphasizes the need to address the growing gap between those at the very top of the economic ladder and the rest of the country," Garin wrote.

Re:Valued by Results (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | about 2 years ago | (#38482244)

Youve got to be pretty naive, even in said bubble, to think the problems OWS addresses dont impact the lives of every single one of us.

Re:Valued by Results (3, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#38482460)

While mainly true, let's not pretend there's much in silicon that can be replicated.

It is your typical isolated exported oriented bubble. Not everyone can be an exporter. Just like not everyone can be like Germany and export high-end manufactured goods. Not everyone can be like Norway or Saudi exporting oil.

It's also not a large employment model. There's only going to be so many innovative Search companies, OS, smart phones, chip set makers...

And that only works as long as the population is small. Heck, the amazing wealth in silicon valley can't even bring prosperity to a single US state. Much less a large nation.

In the grand scheme of things, Silicon Valley might be great for the advancement of technology and small groups of people, but it does virtually nothing for the economic condition of a large nation.

The more I grow up, the more I see Silicon Valley as a really good coping mechanism for a heroin addict. A nation addicted to needing more and more growth to cover a lifestyle it can't afford. And it has reached a point it can't obtain the next high.

And then there was truth (4, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481756)

Homes over a million hold their value
Companies can't offshore fast enough
Young people can work hard and be fooled into thinking that they will make a fortune.

Re:And then there was truth (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#38482382)

Homes over a million? That's almost all of them around here.
Offshoring? So oughts. All the modern tech companies in the valley have realized that to build competitive apps you do it with manpower here.
Young people making money? Well, you do have to be lucky or smart in your startup choice, but facebook is about to mint another batch of over a thousand young millionaires to help keep those house prices propped up.

Precisely. (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481792)

That's what i have been telling my colleagues (all of them are in i.t., or i.t. companies) whenever the issues occupy wall street is raising came up. Almost all of them have been saying 'i have worked "hard" and made myself. everyone can' - because they are living in a bubble. Their skill set and aptitude, matches the time period they are living in. We are living in an era where skills/inclinations that i.t. requires are in high demand, and therefore we are in luck. Had we lived in an earlier era, we would be hard pressed to make a living.

And no - dont ever fall into the pit of thinking that 'because i am smart, i could make it' -> it does not work that way. Talent/inclination works differently than 'smart'. Cognitive powers does not have direct relevance to the inclinations you have - there are a lot of smart people, scientists too, who find i.t. work quite stressing, irritating and unbearable. and vice versa.

So we are lucky. if we had been born back in 15th century, we would be shining a feudal lord's shoes maybe. with all our smarts, but without anything on that time and age to support our particular talents.

Same the situation with majority of people - things that were in huge demand 50 years ago, are not in demand today. Things were inconceivable 50 years ago, are in demand today. But, dont err in thinking that 'adaptation is necessary' -> it is always this way - in a society with ills of capitalism, there is always huge demand for a very little percentage of talents, and the demand for the rest is never enough to feed the population.

And in this environment, those who 'made it' because they were lucky tend to think that they made it because of their 'talents'. Nay. you were lucky to hit your mother's womb in the perfect time.

It is utterly stupid to live in bubbles, devoid of perception of reality, and then to apply one's own bubble to reality, and be content with it. middle class today (which is a pathetic 10% in usa as of this moment btw) does that. and they are no different in position than the clerks, guards who did the feudal lord's bidding back in middle ages, for slightly elevated comforts.

Re:Precisely. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481868)

Posting anonymously because I already moderated another post in this thread.

Reminds of what my father used to tell me, that he didn't become rich (not sure if he's in the infamous "1%" but my parents sure aren't poor) just through hard work, skills and intelligence, a lot of it was just luck, he was at the right place at the right time with the right idea.

yes (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | about 2 years ago | (#38481994)

and furthermore, 'getting rich' by 'hard work' is the biggest piece of fraud that is perpetrated by current system. can you think that someone who is owning majority or even noticeable share on a megacorporation, got rich through 'hard work' ?

now, if you redefine hard work to be 'making others work and taking the fruits of labor to 90% percentage', then it becomes possible. but then again, in the last 50 years that has also been circumvented - those who are owning the means are making a tiny minority (mostly from middle class) work for them to make others work for them, and reaping the profits. in short, we send our sons, daughters to business colleges to get high degrees and be high level managers, even executives to make all the people work for the sake of a minority owner percentage. no different than the peasants sending their sons to be lord's soldiers, or tax collectors.

Re:yes (3, Funny)

pjbgravely (751384) | about 2 years ago | (#38482074)

In my line of work, ( not silicon valley) , I have a saying"

"It's not what you know or what you do, it's who you know and who you do, to get ahead."

Re:yes (5, Insightful)

deKernel (65640) | about 2 years ago | (#38482118)

Actually I think you are wrong. I as well as my friends have all worked hard and we are very happy. We are happy because we don't define our lives by our jobs and how much money we have, but by our families and friends. I find it funny that you seem to define happiness by the very people you hate. You define happiness by money for which is the sole apparent motivation of the people you think cause all of your problems in life.

Here is a suggestion, don't give those "evil" people the power of "happiness" in your life. I would explain more, but I wanna go have a nice snow ball fight with my kids....see how that works.

Re:yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482314)

I just want to say Merry Christmas to you, if that's your thing. You've figured out the real important things in life. I think I'll follow your lead and go do something important now.

Re:yes (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 2 years ago | (#38482456)

Here is a suggestion, don't give those "evil" people the power of "happiness" in your life. I would explain more, but I wanna go have a nice snow ball fight with my kids....see how that works.

A good support system(friends, siblings, parents, spouses) is definitely key to surviving corporate bullshit. The problem is that, when you have kids, your corporate overlords actually gain more leverage to squeeze more work and longer hours out of you. At this point in time, I recommend that non-wealthy Americans who are considering having kids wait until the pendulum swings back toward the common worker's favor or move into a country with those conditions.

Furthermore, every parent is publicly obligated to say, "parenthood changed my life and was the best thing to happen to me, etc," their faces a twisted rigor of faux-cheer. Privately, every parent I know has told me that, "they fucked up," or that having kids "ruined their lives." The fact is that kids strain relationships/marriages and drain monetary resources.

I initiated and am leading a successful coup to overthrow my dickhead boss, who is an utterly incompetent unqualified bully railroaded into his position because he was personal buddy-buddies with his immediate supervisor. Thanks to my actions(including 2 full-page psychoanalytic letters to HR explaining his bad behavior), others were encourage to complain and consultants were brought in to see what's really going on. He's now on his way out, and the cronyist VP who hired him has egg all over his face(the extremely poor performance of my boss is actually costing the company sales!). Now I'm the folk hero of my department. I would not have been able to initiate that turn of events had I been afraid of being laid off(and, by extension, supporting my kids).
But what if they just ignore the consultant's findings and lay me off for being a malcontent? No problemo, I have enough savings and unemployment reserves to live comfortably and bullshit-free for a little while. They wouldn't dare fire me because I pre-emptively lodged complaints, and they wouldn't dare give the appearance of retaliation.

Re:yes (4, Insightful)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 2 years ago | (#38482138)

and furthermore, 'getting rich' by 'hard work' is the biggest piece of fraud that is perpetrated by current system. can you think that someone who is owning majority or even noticeable share on a megacorporation, got rich through 'hard work' ?

Sure they did. The only catch is that all of that hard work was done by lots of other people.

Re:yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482178)

It's why I gave up working 80 hour weeks for $150k and started playing lotto.

Waaaaaa! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482076)

You people are unfucking believable.

Everything is the fault of someone else. No one is fair to you. They were just lucky.

Your endless excuses why your life ended up being a sorry excuse for existence is fascinating.

I can only assume you are some stupid, fucking college student still living at home because you selected a degree in Philosophy or Women's studies and are bitter now that you can't find a job.

Fuck your whining. Fuck you pessimism. Fuck you.

Re:Waaaaaa! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482136)

Hey, Rush! I thought you were off today!

Re:Waaaaaa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482142)

everyone is enthralled by your sound arguments and exuberant positivity. I'm sure your husband is greatly impressed too.

Re:Precisely. (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#38482452)

Ummm ... I, like a lot of people in tech, have no inclination to be doing what I'm doing. I'm doing it to make money, same as I would have in any other time period. I looked around, saw here was a thing I could learn to do to make money, and did it. At the time I made that choice it seemed like basically doctor, lawyer, finance and computers were the way to go. Doctor required too much memorization, a difficult area for me. Lawyer/finance were too evil. So computers was my choice, and I worked to get good at it. Talent works that way. Inclination doesn't.

Looking back as far as 15th century or further is pointless: people had very little choice about what field they went into, it was mostly determined by your birth. Today people can actually make something of themselves.

It IS a bubble (5, Insightful)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481800)

These people don't understand that their cushy lives and jobs depend on a strong US economy. Even if you aren't seeing the effects of it yet, it will still impact you eventually through soaring costs. We're all in it together.

A Minor Alteration (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481938)

These people don't understand that their cushy lives and jobs depend on a strong US economy. Even if you aren't seeing the effects of it yet, it will still impact you eventually through soaring costs. We're all in it together.

I think you meant to include the word "should" in there because that's how it should work. However, I might point out that if the government determines you're "too big to fail" then you have a safety net and you can screw up your company as badly as you want. Now, if you're lobbying congress and providing them with tons of soft money, you might just be "too big to fail." Congress might artificially keep their bubble protected by turning briefly to Communism where they buy out and then own parts of the failing companies. And, like Communism, you'll have the citizens in the more sparsely populated parts of the nation suffering to keep the overly populated cities looking like pristine islands (see Moscow through the Cold War).

Google (and the rest of the tech giants) have been dodging taxes [slashdot.org] and I hope that when those Oakland OWS demonstrations spill over into Mountain View that the police don't have enough tax money to keep drenching the protesters.

Re:A Minor Alteration (3, Insightful)

JerkBoB (7130) | about 2 years ago | (#38482430)

Google (and the rest of the tech giants) have been dodging taxes [slashdot.org] and I hope that when those Oakland OWS demonstrations spill over into Mountain View that the police don't have enough tax money to keep drenching the protesters.

I won't argue that there isn't something wrong with the fact that those businesses paid so little in taxes, but I do wonder why your ire seems to be directed at the businesses themselves, rather than the dysfunctional government which allows the loopholes. If what they did is legal, then why wouldn't they take advantage of the loopholes to preserve value for themselves and their shareholders? When you do your taxes, do you take all of the deductions available to you, or do you take some sort of moral high road out of patriotic duty? I'm annoyed that my net worth isn't enough to let me play the same games. Hoping that the US tax system will become fair is useless. What most folks don't recognize is that making adjustments to the tax code is a powerful tool for Congress-critters to reward or punish friends and foes. Probably more powerful than earmarks, because it's subtle.

Re:It IS a bubble (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 2 years ago | (#38482072)

I don't think this particular outcome is inevitable. What could happen instead is that the economy just throws the poorest people (in other words, workers least in demand) overboard, effectively reducing the size of the economy while maintaining stable productivity and keeping essential assets and almost all money in the system. The economy will remain strong but actually serve less people. This kind of economic shrinking might go for quite a while before it even barely touches the IT sector. Mostly because the advances IT sector essentially enabled this phenomenon to take place.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should put the tech genie back in the bottle. Those advances did break the system, but we have to stop trying to put it back together the way it was. We have to reassemble the pieces in a new way that will work better. But that won't happen when those who have the means to put it back together still get the most profit from keeping it the way it is.

Re:It IS a bubble (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#38482302)

These people don't understand that their cushy lives and jobs depend on a strong US economy.

Which explains why they've managed to do well for the past three years how, exactly? The economy has generally sucked since 2001, and really sucked since 2009. If Silicon Valley depends on a strong US economy, they should have tanked along with the rest of the currently very weak US economy.

Tech companies saved the San Francisco Bay Area. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481822)

In short, what Schmidt saw is the continued success of Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga, and biotech companies. As a result, these companies literally held up the economy of the Bay Area, and probably prevented a major cratering of the housing market that continues to plague much of the rest of California. Small wonder why the Occupy movement in the Bay Area (in my opinion!) didn't take long become a MAJOR annoyance, and in the end the Occupy encampments in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley were swept away.

In a slightly lesser fashion, the same is happening to the Seattle, WA metroplex, too. The continued success of Amazon.com, Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks has literally held up the economy of that area.

Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481828)

A "Web 2.0 Depression" is just around the corner. When it hits, it's going to hit The Valley hard.

It's going to start with average people realizing the dangers of social media. They're going to realize how sharing a lot of very personal information in a very public setting is not a good idea. They'll leave sites like Facebook and Twitter in droves, in a very short period of time. Don't believe me? Look at how quickly many other prominent social media sites have lost a lot of visitors very quickly. MySpace and Digg are two classic examples.

Even more community-oriented sites like reddit, and even Slashdot (which almost pre-dates the "Web 1.0" bubble), aren't immune. Longtime Slashdot readers will know what I mean. When it comes to reddit, people are getting tired of the fads and the very lame discussion. It has only gotten worse with some subreddits banning and censoring users who have original or "non-subredit-mainstream" views.

Once people stop visiting these sites, the demand for hardware and software will plummet. It'll cascade out far beyond those core social media companies, of course. If people aren't using social media sites, then they also won't be using third-party software for interfacing with social media sites. This will put software developers out of work. If people aren't using social media sites, then other companies won't have any reason to interact with people there. This will put marketers out of work.

The hype has already worn off of popular Web 2.0 software like Ruby on Rails, and the NoSQL movement is collapsing. People and businesses are quickly realizing that both were a very bad idea. Java and .NET are much better platforms for building reliable software for the long term, and NoSQL is just what happens when people don't know how to properly use relational databases. Frequent and unexpected data loss and data inconsistency has been one of the biggest nails in the NoSQL coffin, but that's exactly what should be expected from shoddy technology. The death of cloud computing is just around the corner, given its ties to these technologies.

Going beyond the software, it'll also impact hardware manufacturers. They won't need to sell as many servers. But the biggest losers will be those producing mobile devices. If consumers aren't using social media sites, then they'll have little need for smart phones with all sorts of social media software and other crap built in. They'll likely start opting for simpler devices that are cheaper, even if less capable.

The Valley may think that they're immune now, but when the Web 2.0 Depression hits, it's going to hit them damn hard. They've put too many of their eggs in this one basket, and this basket is about to be thrown to the ground and destroyed, along with everything (and everyone!) in it. The economy will show them no mercy.

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481954)

Do you have any idea how much an Oracle or MS SQL Sever/ .net unlimited cal costs? Try 100,000 per server. Ruby on rails doesnt sound so bad after all. I expect Java to require an Oracle database license soon just like Solaris.

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#38482190)

What I find interesting is that one place that Linux has made big inroads is in "big iron" computing hardware, mostly because of the extremely low licensing costs. IBM spent a fortune porting Linux to run on their "big iron" machines and it has paid off big time, especially you don't have to deal with sometimes-frightening software license costs! (You're right: the license for Oracle per server can be quite daunting.)

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 2 years ago | (#38482258)

Then again, IBM iron is not as much sold as rented. As such, IBM is to big iron what Apple is to computers. The OS is just there to sell the hardware. I wonder if IBM would pay MS to port Windows if that was what their market wanted.

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#38482354)

Yeah, less than the cost of a single employee. And you only have to pay that once every few years, when a new version comes out, if you feel like the upgrade provides enough new features. Sure it's expensive for the start-ups. Most of them use PostgreSQL, MySQL or other free products because when you are 2 people creating a project in your free time you don't have $100,000 to drop on software. Also, your numbers are way off for SQL server. It's only $6000 per socket for standard edition, which is probably enough for most people, especially if you are just starting out.

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482024)

Oh chicken little, your blinders are quite strong.

There aren't as many people using MySpace and Digg as there were (insert # of days/months/years here) ago because it's a fad. A passing whim. It's not cool anymore. Evidence? Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations. They're essentially the same experience now as they were when they started.

There will be no drop in hardware/software demand because people ostensibly stop using social media overnight. The "cloud" and the rise in mobile computing devices will keep the industry humming. E-mail and the desire for 24/7 connectivity aren't going away either. As well as the general lifecycle of hardware itself will keep hardware manufacturers going.

People _not_ using social media won't kill the economy. It was humming along fine, (not perfectly, but servicable) in the 80's without Facebook, Google, iPhones, Blackberrys et al.

I get the feeling you're a "glass is half empty" kind of person.

Re:Just wait until the Web 2.0 Depression hits. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482040)

This post is filled with WTF.

Keep dreaming..

oh, not true! (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481870)

I'm one of the unemployed (older and seasoned, yet not able to find interviews or jobs in my field). to folks like me, we are *very* much in tune with the occupy movement. we're not at work being flooded with 'work harder, harder; longer, longer!' messages. we're not caught up IN the bubble, we're outside the bubble. we see what its like on both sides.

you don't.

that's what makes all the difference. I've been employed for about 3 decades (in the software field) and I've paid more dues than eric, in my time. he's attained a more powerful position but he knows far less about life than me - of that, I'm very sure. I can tell. anyone my age and with just my simple travels, can.

I'm currently 'over there' in the not-working group (or should I say, not-employed; I'm actually working quite a lot, in fact). I don't think it will stay that way for a long time, but I've been here longer than I thought. its a bit scary and I can see the corporate greed that is caustic to employees. everyone is there 'at the pleasure of the king', pretty much. I see that. the occupy guys see that.

maybe he really does get it but he also realizes that people at his level have to sing the same song. its possible. hard to tell if he believes his own bullshit or not. some do, some don't.

at any rate, many of the folks I know (techies who are also out of work and mostly of middle age or higher) are *strongly* aware and in support of the occupy movement. I'm right smack in the middle of silicon valley, not even very far from the google campus. I remember when it was the SGI campus, too (and I worked at SGI back in those days; before there was a google). I feel I have a good handle on the bay area and silicon valley. and I can say, he's full of shit.

"occupy" *should* really hit home with bay area workers. especially the knowledge-based workers; ones that can so easily be replaced and outsourced. the fact that we are not unionized and that we are a 'commodity' puts us at extreme risk of being fired for any reason and at any time. you've seen the downsizing in front of your own eyes. you can't deny that, can you? are *all* those guys really poor performers? do you believe that?

Re:oh, not true!||| Me Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481930)

I am fifty years old and can Not get a job interview, one look at me and HR slams the door...
I have the skill set to do any of the needed I.T. work, in the vast majority of local businesses, BUT I AM NOT 24 and fresh out of school, therefore I am not even worth an interview.

I am seriously looking at going to the darkside of I.T. and making lots of money from Gangsters, the only thing preventing me is I have some morals left, but with winter heating bills I am not sure how much longer I can hold out.

Re:oh, not true!||| Me Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482062)

They made us think they valued us for our intelligence and skills. But no, they valued us for our youth. Of course, we *also* needed intelligence and skills, but before any of that was even a consideration we needed to be young.

As wrong as this is, the people you harm by turning to crime will not be the same people who prefer to hire kids over hiring you. And sooner or later you will get caught.

If you are a rational self-interested actor, you will change careers. It sucks. You will have to spend the rest of your life doing something boring and tedious, for which you are grossly overqualified, and which doesn't pay you a tenth of what your skills would be worth in the body of a younger man. But it is better than starvation, and it is better than prison.

Re:oh, not true!||| Me Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482220)

I admit I have become quite bitter about the way I have been treated, and I have tried to keep a civil outlook, but it gets harder every day.
I live in a small community that has been hit hard in ways that no one will admit to by the "down Turn" . the local newspaper just had a special issue just for foreclosures--- nothing but a list of foreclosure proceedings-- for a county with 50,000 residents. and a second for tax hearings-- six pages of single spaced names and property ID numbers in two columns.
There are no other careers, people are abandoning their homes and BUSINESSES, for a chance at a new life somewhere else.
I have been to the west coast, 9 months looking for work, and could only get a job at a mom and pop computer repair shop --- wages $10.00hr--- I lived in a 6 foot by eight foot room for months with no hot water and no prospects for any improvement. So I came home to my pissed off wife and a home in foreclosure.
I just do not have any other choice.

Re:oh, not true!||| Me Too (4, Interesting)

DeadlyBattleRobot (130509) | about 2 years ago | (#38482294)

I'm over 60 and still working in software. My trick is to never leave home, never let them meet me face to face - the opposite of what you did. I work as a contractor by telecommute, etc. Never bring up the issue of your age. Find an excellent sales person with an existing customer base to come up with ideas and projects, that's been a very good way to go. This is a very interesting time to be in software.

Re:oh, not true!||| Me Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482082)

I am seriously looking at going to the darkside of I.T. and making lots of money from Gangsters

No, working for Apple isn't the answer.

Re:oh, not true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482022)

The only insulator to this is innovation. And proper capitalization of sentence.

Re:oh, not true! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482036)

I'm close to your age and I'm experiencing what you are.

are *all* those guys really poor performers? do you believe that?

The one time I got feedback about my resume (via a friend of a friend) the person was told (speaking about me) "....if he were good, he'd be working now."

Qualities that made us valuable - like having a new job at least every two years - are now considered to be a bad thing . Back in the 90s, changing jobs every 2 or so years meant you liked to learn new things, grow, and weren't stagnant. Now it means you are a job hopper.

The lemming attitudes in the business World makes it a no win situation for us.

Re:oh, not true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482068)

Maybe you'd get interviews if you fixed your grammar and punctuation, and used capitals where appropriate?

Re:oh, not true! (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#38482098)

you've seen the downsizing in front of your own eyes. you can't deny that, can you? are *all* those guys really poor performers? do you believe that?

I often see companies announce a global X% trimming in headcount. And they don't appear to care who gets the chop. This happens in all sectors, and seems ridiculous to me.

For example: someone I know works in a multinational corp, when Global HQ said "cut X%" his department was affected, even though his department was profitable, and surpassed targets. And so it was either him or his colleague that was to go. In the end his colleague got the chop. But what's most ridiculous is there was still a lot of work for the profitable department! So he ended up overworked. I told him he should have volunteered to take the severance package (since he was single, his colleague was married with commitments, there was more than enough work, he needed a break, he was supposedly better at the job, so I figured maybe he would be asked to come back later ;) ).

Analogy: to me this is like sacking one of two chefs in a very busy profitable restaurant, just because HQ isn't doing well. And the busy profitable restaurant suffers as a result, customers get poorer service. Isn't this a stupid thing to do? What motivation is there for people to do well then? You get sacked because HQ or someone else screws up. Not your team or even your branch.

I can understand sacking the chef if the chef sucks (he may not have been the best but he didn't suck), the restaurant is losing money (it wasn't), the business is going to nosedive (nobody there thought that was going to happen, and it didn't).

I can understand it if HQ says: trim X% of all the departments/branches that aren't profitable or didn't meet the targets or "service levels", those that are profitable can maintain headcount and those who are doing very well can increase headcount. This sort of beancounter logic I can understand. It motivates people to meet the requirements. Whereas if I were a manager in a "trim X%, no matter what" organization, I'd be tempted to hire cheap extras just to use as "cannonfodder" whenever cuts are required.

Re:oh, not true! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#38482276)

This seems highly relevant:

For five years now, you've worked your ass off at Initech, hoping for a promotion or some kind of profit sharing or something. Five years of your mid-20s now, gone. And you're gonna go in tomorrow and they're gonna throw you out into the street. You know why? So Bill Lumbergh's stock will go up a quarter of a point.

It's stupid to do these kind of layoffs if your goal is to maximize company profitability by having top-notch service. If your goal is to maximize personal wealth, which is often about short-term 'flips', then you may announce a layoff like that because you can get a stock bump, sell off at the high point and pick up a nice bonus. It's bad business, it's completely immoral, but it can be profitable.

However, it's not necessarily a bad move. One semi-legit reason that companies will do an X% layoff is to allow managers to get rid of people they've decided are bad for the business but can't fire for legal reasons. For instance, at my company a round of layoffs allowed the company to shed somebody who was plainly incompetent at her job, but would otherwise be able to win a wrongful termination case because she was pregnant at the time (and yes, they kept the competent people who were pregnant).

Re:oh, not true! (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#38482532)

Anyway, what happens is many young workers try to keep hopping upwards quick since they have seen from what happens to the old guys that "loyalty" (and too often hardwork and competence) doesn't get rewarded. Whereas if you hop, you can usually get salary increases much faster. The company hiring you may actually pay you more than the existing staff even if you aren't better than the existing staff because they're short-handed and can't find other replacements - supply and demand and all that.

If bosses want a "show me the money", "no mercy" workplace culture, they shouldn't be surprised when they get it.

Re:oh, not true! (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 2 years ago | (#38482330)

I wonder if it is an effect of leadership coming in with MBAs or economist educations of the neoclassical kind, as the cut sounds like some textbook move that is basically divorced from reality.

but you're not working at google board.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#38482144)

..which is the bubble schmidt is talking about. in his social bubble there doesn't exist any unemployment - probably because if you're in that bubble and you're unemployed you already have loads of cash - if you don't, you disappear from that bubble. his comment is hilariously disconnected from general populace - which is even more hilarious because he works in a company which is supposed to be on top of information from(and to) general populace.

I mean, if he doesn't discuss what's happening 45 minutes from his backyard, the occupy movement should actually have started their movement from googles lawn - not from wall street.

sure, at wall street they speculate with googles stock. but at googles offices they speculate on how to dodge taxes and what things to sponsor to turn the attention away form that - and that's a global thing, they dodge taxes from everywhere.

the article itself mentions that on usa's average, the general area isn't doing that well even. it stops just short of saying that schmidt's circle is just full of shit.
tech companies and silicon valley itself would be much more better off if there weren't a recession anyhow, it's just that google is still in an upturn.

Re:oh, not true! (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#38482334)

I know it sucks to be in your position. But the idea that one "pays their dues" and then somehow gets rewarded for that is just false.

Re:oh, not true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482486)

you've seen the downsizing in front of your own eyes. you can't deny that, can you? are *all* those guys really poor performers? do you believe that?

I have no problem believing that. I work in a team of 12 people. If they fired 9 of those 12, and didn't hire anyone to replace them, our productivity would go up. Three of us are competent in the team, and our time is spent doing all our work, doing the work of the other 9, and fixing the fuckups of the other 9. If we didn't have to fix the fuckups, productivity up!

Finding competent employees is almost impossible. Everytime we're overworked and we convince our superiors we need more help in our team, I'm afraid that whoever is going to show up is going to slow us down further instead of helping any. I've worked in many other places but I've never worked in a place where more than 40% of the group wasn't carrying everybody else, and where if we downsized to keep the people in that 40% we wouldn't actually get things done faster

Reason... (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481884)

People come to Silicon Valley for an opportunity. They know if they educate themselves, have some ambition and work hard, they can do very well.

Immigrants from other company often come here with the same attitude.

This is why you see neither at an "Occupy" rally. Actually, though I live 30 minutes from Boston, and just got layed-off, I have not attended any rallies, and instead, put my time and efforts into finding a new job. And guess what - my efforts have paid-off and been rewarded - well. (And yes, I work in high-tech).

So I believe my sentiment is similar to those in Silicon Valley. Sure, Washington is broken, and sure, Wall St. is broken. But people at these rallies are really giving off the affect of just looking for a hand-out. If the actual reality or "demands" are any different - they've completely failed to make this clear - even to me - who listens to the most liberal of the liberal media.

Homes holding their value in California? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481888)

I call BS on that. They don't hold their value, but families hold onto them because of the tax advantages which cripple state and local funding, all due to a public vote decades ago.

This causes the supply of homes to be restricted and what homes are sold to become overvalued, and numerous other market distortions.

We need a free market for taxes too.

Please, tell me why I'm wrong (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481900)

Homes hold their value.

I was told by a low-level IT manager that San Francisco and Palo Alto are one of the most expensive cities to have a house. He said she paid over a million for a modest house in Palo Alto.

So, what exactly I'm missing? Either they hold their value really high (saying they have an unaffordable price is weird), this manager's statement is overrated, Palo Alto/San Francisco aren't part of SV, Eric Schmidt is not entirely correct or all of the above.

Re:Please, tell me why I'm wrong (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#38482304)

PA isn't part of Sili Valley? That's news to those of us who live here in Silicon Valley.

Re:Please, tell me why I'm wrong (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#38482398)

When someone says homes hold their value, they mean that over time, a home doesn't lose value. Unfortunately, the timespan is 10s of years, not necessarily 18 months. The housing bubble/crash notwithstanding, homes are one of the only durable goods whose value stays steady, more or less.

Chemists? (1)

methano (519830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481922)

Do they need chemists? I'd love to go back to work for a reasonable wage. I'd even move to California. Oh yea, I can code a bit.

Re:Chemists? (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#38482366)

Are you kidding? Silicon Valley was founded by chemists. To quote chemist Gordon Moore: "We would hire an EE to tell us if we had built anything useful." As long as you are strong in physical chemistry you should be able to find a place. Chemists have opportunities in both fab operations and new process development. You might find your wages go farther some place like Portland, though, where there are lots of semiconductor fabs and cheaper houses.

I couldnt agree more (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481932)

There is no occupy Oakland or anything like that and certainly no valuation in any IPOs for web 2.0 companies. Absolutely none! Not even yachts off international waters with cheap Indians to lower wages

Define the problem (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481936)

... because their issues are not our daily reality.

Whatever their issues were. Engineers are good at defining and solving problems. "Occupy" failed to define a problem.

Re:Define the problem (5, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | about 2 years ago | (#38482242)

... because their issues are not our daily reality.

Whatever their issues were. Engineers are good at defining and solving problems. "Occupy" failed to define a problem.

I just wasted mod points to simply reply:

Maybe Engineers aren't such good listeners, then. The problem has CLEARLY been defined, and by many people.

Re:Define the problem (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#38482350)

"Occupy" failed to define a problem.

The problem they defined is that wealth in the US is concentrating into too few hands.


Re:Define the problem (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 2 years ago | (#38482404)

You can draw attention to an elephant in the room without defining "elephant".

Re:Define the problem (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#38482432)

The defined the problem fine, but they didn't define a solution beyond "stop doing these things we have a problem with" and they failed to actually try to understand the hows and whys of the situations they perceive to be problems. They fall into the trap that so many people do; believing that other people have far more or less power than they really do.

Same is mostly true for DC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481944)

The only reason there's been Occupy stuff here is because it's the political hub of the country. DC, thanks also to being home of the government, has mostly weathered the recession without too much additional strife. Homes have retained value (I still can't afford one), jobs are still available, and due to the government turnover and many colleges in the area, there's a constant turnover in the population.

Simple answer... (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481966)

Silicon Valley has done well through the recession for three obvious reasons:

1) They actually produce something that the rest of the world wants. We seem to have forgotten, as a culture, that someone has to actually make things; a service economy only works if you have someone to serve... Which leads into:

2) The bankers, the realtors, the assorted "middle men" of Silicon Valley provide actual services to those bringing in the money. They haven't (yet) replaced the doers as Silicon Valley's raison d'etre. The world needs bankers - The bankers just need to remember that real people need them to provide real money so they can buy real things, rather than bundling together unicorn farts and leprechaun gold and hoping to get-rich-quick selling it as an "investment" to morons who only see dollar signs.

3) No slackers allowed - The usual parasites in any community get about as much sympathy from geeks as they would from Hitler. 'Nuff said.

Re:Simple answer... (3, Informative)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#38482246)

The same applies for the Seattle, WA metroplex: Amazon.com, Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks are doing quite well financially, and as such the unemployment rate in the Seattle area is not that bad.

Indeed, I see the following areas booming over the next decade:

San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle, WA metroplex
Minneapolis-St. Paul metroplex
Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex
Austin, TX
The "Research Triangle" of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC

These areas are on the cutting edge of technology, biotechnology and increasingly "green" technology research.

I can't think of a more arrogant statement... (1)

Crick (66973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38481970)

...more likely to attract the ire of young people and Occupy movement.

Re:I can't think of a more arrogant statement... (2)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#38482446)

That's the problem with young people and Occupy. All they have is ire.

bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38481988)

All supported by over charging the customer.

Or maybe a simpler answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482030)

How many communities with nothing but rich people have Occupy protests?

Do you think ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#38482048)

... that the OWS-type people are really what Silicon Valley head hunters are looking for?

Companies canâ(TM)t hire people fast enough.

Look at the IT Market in NYC [slashdot.org] . Why haven't the recruiters combed through the Occupy camps for manpower? I guess hobos don't make great programming/administration talent.

100% not true (1)

GWBasic (900357) | about 2 years ago | (#38482162)

Everyone in Silicon Valley who wants to take part in the Occupy movement just goes to San Francisco and Oakland. They're not part of Silicon Valley proper, but they're still part of the Bay Area. I think the difference is that entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are part of the 99%

Occupy missed the boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482188)

When the Occupy movement started, I had great hope, because they raised some key issues with society:

  • American executives are greedy pigs, taking up to an 800:1 ratio of their employee's pay as compensation, when the rest of the world settles for 25:1.
  • Allowing the banks to lend out money they don't have on deposit led to the Great Depression, it led to the housing crash, it led to the bankruptcy of nations and people, and it's an ongoing issue that the governments don't have the balls to deal with.
  • Using "loss leader" tactics like sub-prime mortgages should be illegal, though it does not absolve people of their own responsibility to buy housing they can afford, and sticking with rent if they can't afford to buy

But they've dissolved into a bunch of fantasies about ending the FED, overthrowing the government, and all the usual pie-in-the-sky bullshit that every other such "movement" has fallen prey to for decades. Even the hippies with their successful anti-war protests were distracted by fantasies of "peace and love" and dreams of changing society itself. Times change, but people don't. I doubt we'll ever see the altruistic ideals of Star Trek where people "work" to keep themselves entertained and educated for the good of society, because their essential needs are taken care of without the need to labour for those fruits.

Only Eric Thinks So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482374)

If you read the article, the point is that only Eric Schmitd thinks OWS skipped Silicon Valley, and that's he's most likely wrong. He's also part of the 1%, so of course he doesn't see it. The article also points out that his inability to hire qualified people is because they don't consider older workers to be qualified.

They don't have those problems AT THE MOMENT (4, Interesting)

originalhack (142366) | about 2 years ago | (#38482484)

they will

Young people (most of Google's employees) think they are indestructible.

I daresay that I am in better financial shape than 80% of Mr Schmidt's employees including those my age and I fully expect to keep innovating and being paid well for it until I am in my 60s and due to retire.

I cannot be certain that I will be OK financially at that point.

* Medicare may be a shadow if what it was
* The social security I paid into on the majority of my income for the last several decades (while the "investor class" paid on little of their income) may be gone
* The major corporations that committed to a pension may have shoveled the liability onto a disposable successor
* Medical insurance may become unattainable
* I could get disabled by the negligent act of a corporation with little or no compensation (Tort "reform") and get wiped out financially

It is time to realize that us 99%-ers are really in this together even if most of us are too busy working to join the protests.

No "programmers guild" (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 2 years ago | (#38482542)

There is no unionization of technical talent. IMHO, they figured out early on that they could make a boatload of money without some middlemen A) telling them that they're being treated like crap and B) if they only paid them money they would have a better standard of living.

That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of programmers out there who would dearly love a residual payment every time a piece of software they wrote was used just like Hollywood and music industry talent gets. Of course, that goes against the early hacker ethic which was to take fascist/totalitarian control of computing hardware away from the high priests in lab coats and give it to the masses.

No poor left in Silicon Valley - Gentrification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38482546)

There's NO poor left in Silicon Valley to protest. They all been driven out of the area by insane real estate and rents there


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