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Could High Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Big Startup Hub?

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the cost-of-living-is-important dept.

United States 190

waderoush (1271548) writes "Don't laugh. As the cost of housing spirals out of control on the San Francisco peninsula, neighboring metro regions like Sacramento are beginning to look more attractive to startup founders who prefer a Northern California lifestyle but haven't worked in the Silicon Valley gold mines long enough to become 1-percenters. Today Xconomy presents Part 1 of a two-part look at innovation in the Sacramento-Davis corridor and efforts to make the region more welcoming to high-tech entrepreneurs. In Sacramento's favor, there's a talented workforce fueled by a top-20 university (UC Davis), space for expansion, proximity to the ski mountains at Tahoe, and a far lower cost of living — the average house in Sacramento is selling for $237,000, compared to $909,000 in San Francisco. The downsides include a shortage of local investment dollars and a lower density of startups, meaning there's less opportunity for serendipitous collaboration. But locals say recent efforts to boost the local high-tech economy are working. 'I really feel like we are in a renaissance area,' says Eric Ullrich, co-founder of Hacker Lab, a Midtown Sacramento co-working space."

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Detroit would be better! (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#47011041)

Choose Detroit, It's hip here, happening, it's now and Wow! plus it has all the violence that SF has except instead of targeting tech, we are equal opportunity violence targeting!

Plus houses are only $1000!

Re:Detroit would be better! (2)

phillk6751 (654352) | about 9 months ago | (#47011121)

Don't forget the packs of rabid dogs....I can imagine seeking them out to study while brainstorming the next #1 best selling zombie game.

Re:Detroit would be better! (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#47011135)

Shhh, you have to leave something for the big WOW factor at the end of the presentation.

Yes, everyone get's a FREE FERAL PUPPY!

Q: Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Hub? (1, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 9 months ago | (#47011445)

A: No.

But? Nice try, Sac real estate developers. There's no $800/Sq Ft. lease in your future.

Re:Detroit would be better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011195)

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the shittiest places I have ever had to endure. Everyone there is a coward and a fake.

Re:Detroit would be better! (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#47011257)

Then you will love Detroit.. The Crack-heads here are as authentic as you can get.

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

sethmeisterg (603174) | about 9 months ago | (#47011419)


Re:Detroit would be better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011453)

No worse than a shithole drug and gang haven like Oakland.

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 9 months ago | (#47011737)

Just watch an episode of Hardcore Pawn [sharetv.com] and you'll know all you need to know about Detroit!

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#47011753)

Cheap housing, easily available crack and crackheads to buy cheap electronics from, and loads of feral dogs for the kids to play with. What's not to like?

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 9 months ago | (#47011825)

Funnily enough, I spent a week in Detroit (between the Westin and Greek Town), and was impressed by the lack of crackheads. The only drugs anyone tried to sell me were coke (well, it was ridderal...) and Weed, not crack or heroin like I'm used to at home.

The only solicitation I got was from a high-end madame, and not the dirty type of prostitutes I'm used to at home either.

Detroit downtown, vacant, but nicer than Wilmington, DE. So it's got that going for it i guess.

Fake? Sure. Cowards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011287)

Nobody who commutes daily on the I-5 is a coward.

Anyway, Sac kind of makes sense. Crapload of datacenters about; crapload more datacenters in spitting distance; decent location (easy access to the godforsaken Bay, Tahoe (woo!), etc.), dirt cheap, a good smattering of varying cultures, token homeless for those who miss them, and it generally doesn't smell like piss.

The only thing that sucks is the weather. Much nicer than the Bay during the winter months, but the summers are brutal.

Re:Fake? Sure. Cowards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011517)

Sorry, but you are just wrong.

In L.A., people are fake, but they'll tell you what they think of you to your face. In the Bay Area, people are fake and too cowardly to tell you what they think of you to your face. I can respect former, despite the fakeness, much more than the latter. I hate cowards.

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#47011337)

Do you have a point? TFS mentioned several specific advantages sacramento had going for it, not just "It's hip."

Furthermore, no, check your stats. [wikipedia.org] Detroit is the top in terms of violent crime, murder, and assault. It's fourth highest in robbery, second highest in vehicle theft. San Francisco is about in the middle of the list, with Sacramento being slightly ahead of it (just beneath Wichita KS, oddly.)

(If anyone is wondering why Minneapolis is so high in rape, evidently Minneapolis is just more proactive about defining it. [mprnews.org] )

Re:Detroit would be better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011475)

You hear that wooshing sound?

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 9 months ago | (#47011593)

Detroit is also second to only SF for the highest number of technology workers.

Re:Detroit would be better! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 9 months ago | (#47011679)

I could see the old Packard Plant [wikipedia.org] being used as a maker space. Wait, I was just there a year ago, bulldoze the whole city and start over.

Re:Detroit would be better! (2)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 9 months ago | (#47011833)

Holla atcha Detroit! Friends of mine are becoming thousandaires buying property by the block. When the turnaround does come, it's going to be driven by tech.

Re:Detroit would be better! (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#47011877)

Read "American Drive" [amazon.com] , by someone who did a startup in Detroit. His approach was to buy a failing GM axle plant cheap using money from a private equity firm, kick out the union, cut wages over 50%, put in some decent machinery, and make big bucks. That's a Detroit startup for you.

The most amusing part is how they dealt with the crack house across the street from their parking lot. They weren't getting much help from the Detroit cops. So they put stadium-sized lights on the light poles in their parking lot and aimed them all directly at the crack house. When those were switched on for the first time, it was like spraying an ant nest. People ran from the house. The crack house went out of business after a few weeks under the lights.

3rd world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011087)

Why not Compton? East LA?

Re:3rd world (1)

sporkbender (986804) | about 9 months ago | (#47011367)

Why not Murfeesboro, TN? Let's pick something outside of the ungodly expensive California. Then again, I'm sure a sleepy town turned tech hub would start raising its prices anyway.

has this ever worked? (1)

boguslinks (1117203) | about 9 months ago | (#47011099)

Are there any actual cases of a community engaging in this top down "we're gonna make ourselves a high tech hub" endeavor and actually succeeding? It's usually crappy places that will not succeed, no matter how hard they try.

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 9 months ago | (#47011183)

Isn't every "high tech hub" an instance of this working? They weren't hubs from the very beginning after all.

Re:has this ever worked? (4, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | about 9 months ago | (#47011261)

If you look at the Denver area, you'll quickly see that it's not so much of a community being able to make themselves a high-tech hub, it's more about some high tech people being able to open some high-tech businesses in an area not known for being high-tech ... and succeeding.

The peripherals matter. Denver has a robust economy thanks to a large number of federal jobs. I'm not saying Denver is a "tech-hub" (well, any more than Sacramento would become a "tech-hub") but there are definitely a healthy amount of tech companies here, both small and large. We have plenty of stuff for the young employees (all the outdoors you could want, great looking women, active night life). I don't think Sacramento can compare when you look at these peripherals. Sure, it will compare favorably to Stockton or Fresno, but simply because it's a couple hours from Silicon Valley doesn't make it prime for a tech boom. You've got to want to attract young smart people, and I'm sorry, but nobody graduates and decides they're moving to Sacramento.

Re:has this ever worked? (3, Insightful)

oatworm (969674) | about 9 months ago | (#47011595)

Speaking as a Reno resident (It's Sacramento, only with hookers and blackjack!), I don't like Sacramento's chances, and it's not because I think Reno's chances are any better. Part of the problem is that there won't be a "next Bay Area" - not just one, anyway. The Bay Area's preeminence in the tech industry was kind of a fluke, which resulted from a combination of various factors (strong academic interest from Stanford and Cal, defense industries sprouting up in the area, good weather, and so on). These days, the tech industry is decentralizing, which is why you have "tech corridors" in places like Raleigh-Durham, Austin, Salt Lake City (Symantec is based there), Las Vegas (Zappos), Seattle, Portland (thanks, cheap hydroelectric power!), Los Angeles ("Silicon Beach" - I remember when Venice was a ghetto), Boston... and these are just the places in this country.

The other part of the problem is that Sacramento's biggest claims to fame at this point are that it's the state capital of California (*shrug*) and it's kind of close to the Bay Area (so is Vallejo, Vacaville and Antioch). The climate is miserable (think Texas weather, only with a little less humidity, no hurricanes and without the weird bugs), the neighborhoods are extremely hit-and-miss, the culture is getting better but is still more or less non-existent, California's tax and business codes are pretty obnoxious, the physical infrastructure in Sacramento isn't quite Stockton bad but there's definitely room for improvement... yeah. Sacramento's not bad, but it's not good, either.

Don't get me wrong, I think Sacramento will get some startups to set up shop there. Some of them will probably succeed. I don't think they're going to take over the world out there, though. Venture capitalists would rather go to Denver, Seattle, Portland or Las Vegas than Sacramento, and if you're going by plane, you're not saving that much time by going to Sacramento over either of those other places.

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 9 months ago | (#47011669)

Symantec moved from mountain view to SLC?

Re: has this ever worked? (1)

oatworm (969674) | about 9 months ago | (#47012309)

Huh - guess not. I know they have a large office of some sort out there, though - some of their hiring ads bleed over out here. Dentrix support is also based out of SLC (Henry Schein?); used to call out there pretty frequently when I was doing IG support for dental offices.

The University of Utah was one of the original ARPANET nodes back in the '70s, so there's been some tech out there for a while now.

Re: has this ever worked? (1)

oatworm (969674) | about 9 months ago | (#47012321)

Cute - apparently Slashdot mobile eats HTML. Fine - Symantec has their HQ location listed here: http://www.symantec.com/about/... [symantec.com]

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 9 months ago | (#47012479)

There is a reason that Austin has topped Forbes list of Biggest Boom Towns [forbes.com] , and Top Tech Town [forbes.com] . The ratio of income to cost of living, it even made it on Slashdot [slashdot.org] . A lot of big names have offices there too, such as Dell, HP, Cisco, Apple, etc...

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

alen (225700) | about 9 months ago | (#47011513)

silicon valley used to live on defense contracts until the cold war ended and they had to reinvent itself in the 90's

any town can call in a favor with its congress people to send some defense work into the area to make it livable for white collar people

Silicon Valley reinvented in 80s also (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#47011975)

Remember when there was computer hardware? Companies like Sun and Silicon Graphics and a bunch of little Motorola 680x0 workstation companies?

Yeah, that boom had ended when I moved here in the early 90s, but there was still enough interesting culture and good weather to justify moving out from the east coast, even though the Internet meant you really could work from anywhere in the world you wanted. I caught the tail end of the housing slump (which meant my house in NJ made a good down-payment on a condo out here.)

Then all the dot-com silliness happened.

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 9 months ago | (#47011539)

Nope, never. You can't blame them for not understanding it thought. I mean they have people who are just as skilled and ideas that are just as "good," so logically it seems like they should be able to do the same things. But there's only one SF and nobody can steal its fashion among investors.

Re:has this ever worked? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 9 months ago | (#47011863)

I laughed at the "Northern California lifestyle" comment. That does not at all describe the central valley, in fact it doesn't even describe a lot of silicon valley even (where no lifestyle is even to be found).

Portland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011111)

Portland is going to be the next tech frontier. Rent is already rising something like 10% year over year as the city gets taken over by yuppies, contrary to what the media would have you believe, the hipster scene there has been in a clear decline since I first witnessed it in the early 2000s.

Housing is still much cheaper than SF, and the cities share somewhat similar values of weirdness. Tech companies are already there from what I hear, which should fill out the Seattle Portland SF LA west coast tech corridor nicely.

Also the city is as ethnically undiverse as they come, adding some asians and indians into the mix would be good.

Insert any city here (2)

ADRA (37398) | about 9 months ago | (#47011133)

And you'll have pretty much the same result. The Valley is successful because its a self-fulfilling prophesey.

1. Startups go to the valley to because there's a ton of successful ex-startups and they want to be the next one
2. Investors go to the valley because there are a ton of successful ex-startups and they hope to jump into the next one.
3. Startups become successful (in part) because they have a large amount of available investment capital

Rinse and repeat. Unless startups start getting amazingly big without deep pocket books, or the valley becomes just so unworkable that they can't sustain the costs (still a decade away assuming no dramatic bubble popping incidents I'd say) people will continue to gravitate there and be successful. There will always be startups in every non-trivially sized city, but unless they can garner big bankrolls for growth and talent aquisition, its hard to see penetrating into the market largely enough to be 'huge successes' like their valley counterparts seem to.

Re:Insert any city here (3, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 9 months ago | (#47011189)

But I could almost see Davis/Sacramento becoming a tech hub(unlike, say, Montana or Arizona), since it's a relatively easy interview/move for tech workers currently in the Bay Area. Certainly it would take a long time & a lot of luck to become anything somewhat comparable to Silicon Valley, but I could see it as a satellite of the Silicon Valley.

I've been there (1)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | about 9 months ago | (#47011327)

Davis is an agricultural school (a good one at that). Sacramento itself is a tough sell. It is a state capital that descended on a region of cowboy wannabes.

Re:Insert any city here (1)

TWX (665546) | about 9 months ago | (#47011451)

Don't completely discount the Phoenix area or even Tucson, there's a whole of of military/industrial complex that has led into microchip manufacturing and other high-tech business. Generally these defense contractors don't like to advertise their presences, but Honeywell and Boeing are still going strong, as are some of the Motorola divisions that got spun off a decade ago.

The extreme lack of humidity is good for manufacturing.

Re:Insert any city here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011919)

I would take AZ and Phoenix area any day over anything in California, way too many way too many personal and business restrictions let alone very high taxes and fees in California to even bother with that state

Re:Insert any city here (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#47012185)

Phoenix area has a lot of data centers, which got built there because there's no risk of earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, and at least used to have a lot of chip factories because it was cheap and had minimal environmental regulation. Not sure how much that's still the case; if I were going to move to Arizona, I'd much prefer Tucson, which is relatively civilized.

Sacramento Special Features (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#47012165)

There are a lot of people in the Bay Area who already have commutes that hopelessly suck. Sacramento's just a bit farther away from San Francisco than places like Brentwood are from San Jose - it's 90 miles, which Google Maps says is about 1.5 hours in current traffic (though about 5 hours at rush hour.) And look at the surrounding communities - Roseville (big HP campus there and SF banks), Folsom (Intel), Rancho Cordoba (insurance and health care companies along freeway), Elk Grove (Apple), and bunches of other Silicon Valley companies that have large branch offices because it was close enough to Silicon Valley and the land was cheap enough to build data centers.

There have been some cultural changes out in that area as well since the time I was visiting occasional customers out there. Until Starbucks got to town, there was a local conspiracy not to sell any coffee strong enough to wake up a state bureaucrat. Other than one Lebanese restaurant, you simply couldn't get espresso, and the coffee at state office buildings was watery swill that's about like what McDonald's gets while they're washing their coffee pots. The stuff at gas stations near the freeway wasn't thick enough to burn.

It's not uncommon for some kinds of startups to move to the Lake Tahoe area when they're about to make some money, so that they get Nevada's near-zero taxes instead of getting hit with California taxes. You can still drive down to civilization if you need to see people, and if you were originally Easterners instead of native Californians the idea of snow isn't scary.

Re:Sacramento Special Features (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#47012419)

we don't need more 'silicon valleys'; we need more enlightened companies to RESUME the progress toward telecommuting.

instead, we have biatches like the yahoo girl who reverse progress and force people who work in software to get in their cars, burn more fuel, wait and waste time in traffic (twice) and get to work more tired than if they just rolled out of bed and logged in from home.

then, you could let people buy houses where its a cultural match with them and where they can afford it. I'm middle aged and cannot afford to buy a livable house in the bay area and that's just a damned crime, given that my parents who made a fraction of what I make could easily afford a house, kids, etc - all on a SINGLE income!

stop the crazy BS about demanding people commute to work. fix that and we will fix a lot of things all at once.

Re:Insert any city here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011699)

Pretty much. The success of Silicon Valley comes down to precisely three men: Bill Shockley, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. Pretty much everything else grows out of those seeds; in the case of Shockley, almost literally.

They could have started in New England, and we'd now be talking about "Silicon Forest"

gee so weird (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 9 months ago | (#47011179)

Its almost as if... economic prosperity in one area driving up prices eventually reaches a point where it encourages new business to move elswhere. You would almost expect to see similar effects where young professionals on entry level salaries get appartments in poor neighborhoods. Has anyone else ever heard of a process by which young professionals competing for lower income housing drive up the prices and price out those with less money?

Nah.... if that ever happened someone would have noticed and made up a word for it already.

Re:gee so weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011447)

Its almost as if... economic prosperity in one area driving up prices eventually reaches a point where it encourages new business to move elswhere. You would almost expect to see similar effects where young professionals on entry level salaries get appartments in poor neighborhoods. Has anyone else ever heard of a process by which young professionals competing for lower income housing drive up the prices and price out those with less money?

Nah.... if that ever happened someone would have noticed and made up a word for it already.


Re:gee so weird (1)

Kethinov (636034) | about 9 months ago | (#47011559)

This is why I don't understand why after all these years companies are still so reluctant to embrace telecommuting.

"We are hurrying back and forth across town at morning and night to situations which we could quite easily encompass by closed-circuit. Documents, contracts, data. All of these materials actually could be just as available on closed-circuit, at home." - Marshall McLuhan, 1965.

Re:gee so weird (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 9 months ago | (#47012253)

Much of the value from startups comes from a group of bright people getting together and creating something (mostly an idea, but implementation is important). If you just have random people chiming in online, you lose a lot of the creativity and feel that comes from being in person. Can you have a startup purely online? Sure, but it just makes things that much harder. Oh, and a nice office with wizz bang decore attracts VC money.

Re:gee so weird (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 9 months ago | (#47012069)

Where has it actually happened that young professionals competing for lower income housing caused a net exodus of poor people? Do those neighborhoods have restrictions on density?

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011191)

It's a dump. Very smart internationally mobile people who are in demand will not choose to live there.

This is not a dig... (2)

berchca (414155) | about 9 months ago | (#47011203)

I repeat, this is not a dig. A gut-reaction for me is Sacramento lacks the attraction of the Bay Area, which is heavy on coast (and cooler coastal weather) and year-round greenery, and which is pre-stocked with cultural diversions. But most of the tech industry happens in Silicon Valley which, frankly, doesn't have those either.

Re:This is not a dig... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011305)

When I was younger, the Bay and SV appealed to me. Plenty to do every weekend, great weather, lots of like-minded people, plenty of night-life. Now that I am older, I have zero desire to live in the Bay/SV... traffic sucks, prices are crazy, I want a less hectic area to raise my children in, etc.

Sacramento could easily become a tech-hub for an older crowd of startup types.

Cultural diversions? (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#47012297)

Yeah, the valley isn't the city. But here in Mountain View, there are usually about 25 cuisines of restaurants on our 4 blocks of downtown restaurant zone, and you can find a few more in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale, plus a lot more range of Indian and Korean farther down El Camino. We don't have much in the way of nightclubs, but there's plenty of choices of music jams around. I do have one friend who was living in San Jose and decided there wasn't enough social life down there (i.e. chances to meet women), so he moved up to the city and found that the women in the bars in his new neighborhood were also there to meet women, but eventually got to know somebody from his musician circles.

Downsides (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011211)

The downsides include a shortage of local investment dollars and a lower density of startups

...and that it is hot as balls there. It really is not a pleasant place to live as far as weather goes. That won't help to attract people.

Re:Downsides (2)

gander666 (723553) | about 9 months ago | (#47011293)

Exactly. If you were going to locate there, why not go to Phoenix where your dollar goes a LOT further, and income taxes are a fraction of the California rate.

Re:Downsides (1)

idioto (259918) | about 9 months ago | (#47011437)

because phoenix sucks. source: i live here and am from the bay area. move here when you are in your 70's or 80's, not to live.

Re:Downsides (2)

berchca (414155) | about 9 months ago | (#47011483)

I think the point it Sac is still vaguely local to SV/SF. If you needed to be there say, once a week, you could jump on the Capital Corridor Express. But it's far enough away that prices are significantly lower, and it already has a fair amount to offer as it houses our reasonably-to-well paid state government.

Why when Austin Texas exists? (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#47011279)

Already its a very hot start up location... the venture capital firms are active there... Its probably better then Silicon Valley at this point if you're just starting out. Its cheaper, it has a similar opportunities, and the state government isn't on a massive tax hiking binge.

For example, they're trying to jack up property taxes in California without going through proper procedure. The voters don't want it... but the government is ramming it through anyway.

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011353)

Because Texas.

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#47011917)

Which means what? Lower taxes and BBQ? OH NOES!

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011397)

Because once you leave Austin you're back in Texas

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#47011421)

You're saying "Sac" is better then Austin? That's what people call it in NorCal. Its a pit.

If Texas, then Austin (0)

billstewart (78916) | about 9 months ago | (#47012349)

Well, duh. Or maybe San Antonio. Of course, either way, once you walk outside you're in Texas weather, not that Sacramento's much better. But there's certainly no reason to want to be in Dallas or Houston; it's like LA without the culture or weather.

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011457)

Austin does not have the same opportunities as Sacramento. Sacramento is SO much closer to Silicon Valley, which is where all the big tech companies already are, which means you automatically have a larger pool of talent available. Further, the median home price in Austin is very similar to the median price in Sacramento. Austin is not cheaper.

Yes, but Austin is not in California (3, Insightful)

daninaustin (985354) | about 9 months ago | (#47011505)

California govt & regulations suck.

Re:Yes, but Austin is not in California (1)

zieroh (307208) | about 9 months ago | (#47011643)

California govt & regulations suck.

And yet it's the most populous state in the nation.

Re:Why when Austin Texas exists? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 9 months ago | (#47012021)

There is a significant startup and tech community in Austin which is why I mentioned it.

Sacramento is nice and all, but it's still... (1)

OSULugan (3529543) | about 9 months ago | (#47011297)

in California. Which means outrageous tax-rates, high fuel prices, etc. The houses might be cheaper (my wife and I noticed some nice ones on a recent visit, and I was surprised by the affordability of the house pricing), but all of the other "cost of living" factors make it not much more attractive then established bases in California.

Re:Sacramento is nice and all, but it's still... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 9 months ago | (#47011781)

According to city-data.com, the cost of living in Sacramento is cheaper than the national average cost of living. And it's certainly cheap for me, though I can't speak to taxes on 6 figure incomes.

San Fran is a poisonous shit hole now (5, Informative)

bazmail (764941) | about 9 months ago | (#47011299)

Full of over-entitled punks talking shit in an incestuous echo chamber. I lived there for a few months not so long ago as part of a system roll-out job. Shopkeepers, bar staff and cab drivers said they were constantly being abused and condescended to by them. Its gotten really really bad.

When the property bubble pops there, it will be sweet.

Re:San Fran is a poisonous shit hole now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011755)

I want the movie rights to "punks talking shit in an incestuous echo chamber" - that's going to be a blockbuster.

Ugh (1)

linear a (584575) | about 9 months ago | (#47011343)

Have you BEEN to Sacramento?

Cheap outside of CA (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#47011345)

California is not very employer friendly and has strict over time laws not to mention outrageously high taxes and rents.

It does not make business sense to start there.

Detroit, Austin, Kansas City, and even Fargo have universities, other tech companies. I dream of starting a business but I do not have 1 million dollars a year to pay for a tiny crappy office in San Fransisco. If I did get shareholders I am sure they do not appreciate all their savings going to pay rent rather than for product development. Not to mention your employers could leave in a hearts notice with Google and Apple offering 6 figures on the fly.

I know I sound conservative right now but when you start out no OT, taxes, friendly business laws, can mean you make it or die at the end of the year.

Re:Cheap outside of CA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011455)

I know I sound conservative right now but when you start out no OT, taxes, friendly business laws, can mean you make it or die at the end of the year.

Yes, not paying your employees for the time they work certainly does help out a business.

Re:Cheap outside of CA (0)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#47011769)

Yes, not paying your employees for the time they work certainly does help out a business.

A problem/feature which has nothing to do with the original poster's complaint. The overhead of employing people in California is worse than it is in Texas and California keeps digging that hole deeper. I give California a couple of decades to become the next Detroit.

Re:Cheap outside of CA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012437)

We are Detroit. The only difference is the illegal immigration (of all races) and warm weather, which prevents it from becoming a ghost town. There are more members of the dependent class that those who are employed.

Damn Right (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011347)

As someone who founded an edtech startup in Sacramento, I can say Sacramento is a great place to live without the high cost associated with living in the bay area. This lower cost of living translated into a better investment for our finical backers.

We are one of the most diverse cities in the entire world. We have some of the best produce in the world along with a lot of very good restaurants. We have more trees per capita then any other city in North America. We have one of the best bike trails in the world.

Already doing it (5, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 9 months ago | (#47011427)

After living in SF for 10 years as an Independent Contractor, I realized that paying $3,100/month rent (house in the Presidio etc) was keeping me from doing anything productive other than working night and day on client projects or hunting for more projects when the work was done, I'd have ideas for apps and the like, but I'd be lucky to get two weeks into something only to get sucked into a project for a month or three, by which time, I'd be lucky to have another week or two to pick it up again, and by then had already forgotten where I was at and lost all momentum.

So I said fuck it, have been living out of a monthly hotel room billed as a "efficiency studio" (it has a full bath and kitchen), first in Sac and now in Fairfield, paying only $1,000/month including utils and housekeeping and have been making excellent progress creating some underlying frameworks and services that will be powering my app ideas. Yes, I still have to take clients and put down my personal projects, but now I take smaller projects for weeks at a time, not months at a a time and now my ambitions are really starting to come together, with my first round of OSS frameworks and services in reach. And while some people have looked down on me as trash for living out of a hotel instead of renting a house or apartment, fuck them. It's my life, ambition and goals, not theirs. Once I'm done, I plan on leaving the Bay Area, and hope to expat from the US and legally renounce my citizenship since I no longer view this as a Free Country under a Government that recognizes it's own Constitution, hence the desire to be as unencumbered as possible.

California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#47011433)

Seriously, Texas, home of cowboy hats, Tex-Mex and Rick Perry... Why? Three major reasons..

1. LOW (as in Zero) income tax and low corporate tax rates.

2. RIGHT to WORK state.

3. Generally a state and local government that stays out of your way as much as possible.

So why NOT Texas?

1. You don't like Tex-Mex, cowboy boots, Rick Perry, or something else about Texas for purely subjective reasons OR you've never been here and have arbitrarily decided you don't like Tex-Mex, Cowboy hats, Rick Perry or something else for no real reason.

2. It's too hot in the summer for you.

Re:California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011503)

Why not Texas? Easy. Self righteous, religious nutjobs telling me that evolution is wrong...

Re:California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (-1, Flamebait)

zieroh (307208) | about 9 months ago | (#47011687)

I've lived in a Texas. Bunch of racist motherfuckers.

You forgot a third, but very important negative re (4, Interesting)

default luser (529332) | about 9 months ago | (#47011783)

3. The cities are islands in a sea of rural nothingness. Seriously, if you make your home in (e.g.) Austin, just try to commute somewhere else. San Antonio is a stretch (1.5-3 hours each way, depending on which sides of the city you are commuting to), and Houston and Dallas are out. Every other town is too small and too isolated to attract tech industry jobs.

This means that when a major tech industry in your chosen metro area craters, it takes YEARS for the economy to recover, and there's no other option available except for you to move. So if you move to the area seeking fame and fortune, remember to keep a deep nest egg, and don't expect to put down any deep roots.

Believe me, my family moved to Austin to follow the growing tech industry in 1983, and they ditched the place in the late 90s because they were tired of dealing with the boom-bust cycle. Since they moved, Austin crashed yet-again (Dell + Dot Com Bubble at the same time). The place has finally recovered and looks attractive again, but it will only be a short matter of time before another crash hits. So keep your nest egg close, and your roots shallow folks!

Re:California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (1)

scm (21828) | about 9 months ago | (#47012029)

It's too hot in the summer for you.

One could say the same thing about Sacramento

Re:California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012077)

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! TX is the best-kept secret in the country. Don't ruin it by giving it a promo.

Re:California is dead, TEXAS is where it's at... (1)

Kagato (116051) | about 9 months ago | (#47012313)

Education is abysmal. Some of the highest drop out rates in the nation, some of the lowest graduation and SAT rates in the country. Contrary to popular belief the blue states don't just throw money away. They spend it on education, worker training and things that increase the living conditions. What does that mean? Where I live unemployement is a full two points lower than TX.

no, because weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011463)

The Bay Area is a combo effect of jobs + more mild weather + crammed together culture. Sac is a sprawling urban 101F today.

Didn't Happen in 2001, won't happen now (1)

rockmuelle (575982) | about 9 months ago | (#47011649)

Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley has been trying this forever. It didn't happen during the first bubble, it likely won't happen this time around. The Delta and Valley regions may as well be flyover country as far as techs are concerned. It's almost as easy to hop on a plane and be in Austin, Boulder, Portland, SLC, or any other regional tech hub than it is to drive around in CA.

I grew up in Merced and have seen this same story too many times in the past... 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s... This conversation is a good predictor for bursting bubbles, though. ;)


Re:Didn't Happen in 2001, won't happen now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012055)

This...is it me or is every other story in Slashdot about XYZ becoming the next high tech hub...? Not sure if this is people just want to rag on San Francisco and SV or the quiet desperation of people living in places like Sacramento, Columbus, Raleigh, etc. that their tech creds will rise.

Plenty of room for everybody no need to hate upon SF.

Not NorCal (1)

zieroh (307208) | about 9 months ago | (#47011675)

Sacramento isn't in Northern California. Well, okay, geographically speaking it is in the Northern half of the state. But I refuse to acknowledge Sac as part of NorCal in all the ways that actually matter.

Re:Not NorCal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011773)

I grew up in the Bay Area and have been in Sacramento for 10 years. Sac is a cultural wasteland of TeaParty dolts and B-team players. It is not only not "real Northern California", it's barely California at all.
It's Dumbfuckistan.

Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47011805)

With the way SV's big companies are going, the next tech hub would be in Los Angeles.

Really. The valley is basically in social media, hollywood, logistics and aerospace... which are essentially the main industries down here. Sure it's just as pricey in LA, but still more affordable than SF/SV, better weather, a young crowd, top universities, and happening VC community.

Why California? (4, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 9 months ago | (#47012009)

Why put a new business in California? I've been there on business a number of times, and I just don't see it.

The climate is nice enough, but boring. No decent seasons, but I suppose it counts as a plus for some folks.

On the minus side, the politics are leftist, leading to socialist-style government regulations that are downright hostile to business. The legal climate tends to lawyers looking to sue companies for trivial violations of those regulations, like people working through their lunch break.

On the personal front, holier-than-thou environmentalism is widespread, which is hard to take given that their state has huge monocultures [shutterstock.com] , puts rice farms in the desert, and pumps water from Arizona to keep the lawns in LA green.

It's pretty much the last place I would want to live, and I imagine there are plenty of other techies who would agree...

Re:Why California? (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 9 months ago | (#47012635)

On the upside, the people put a government in place that curbs air and water pollution, and makes it difficult to fire someone because they're gay.

The legal climate is that of every area that has lots of money floating around: you can hire a cheap lawyer, an expensive lawyer, or anything in between. For what it's worth, I haven't seen anyone be sued for volunteering to work through lunch. Forcing someine to work through lunch without overtime compensation though will quickly get you a letter from a lawyer.

The environmentalism can be kooky - but then again, every area has its bunch of crazies. We just have all of them - crystal power people, anti-vaxxers, celeb-chasers, gun nuts, republicans, white supremacists, black panther, democrats, socialists, libertarians, slow-food people, fast-food people, techies, farmers, billionaires, hill-billies, etc. The upside: whatever your brand of crazy is, we have it.

It's a nice place to live, if you decide to actually live there. And find a place to live. Everything else is pretty copacetic there.

NO (2)

virtualXTC (609488) | about 9 months ago | (#47012049)

Tech innovation hubs are centered around bleeding edge academic institutions because start-ups need academics to consult for them. Sacramento does not offer this.

Plenty of room to grow into San Jose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012131)

San Jose is already significantly bigger than San Francisco, and has lots of room for increasing population density. It's also just down the street from a lot of existing tech companies and has a decent (though definitely improvable) public transit system.

No (1)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | about 9 months ago | (#47012245)

Because anytime an article headline starts with the word 'could' the answer is no. If the answer was yes the journalist would have had enough of a story to make a statement.

Why do tech companies go low-tech? (1)

callahan2211 (1963904) | about 9 months ago | (#47012331)

If the company does development, the employee's could live just about anywhere. It is called telecommuting. Problem solved.

expensive homes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012467)

um, there was a story on slashdot a few months ago that talked about affordable (subsidized?) housing and low-cost or free buses for low income families. Just saying.

Too much brain drain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012481)

Until last year, I had been an IT director for a publicly traded tech (non-IT) company in Sacramento for several years. The talent pool is pretty dry. Anyone under 30 with any ability quickly realizes they can make 3x the salary in the Bay Area, and I lost several managers to big non-IT companies - Tesla, Genentech, etc. who offered huge salary increases I couldn't hope to complete with, plus relocation costs. I was constantly looking at candidates with no certs, no degree, no experience, and worst of all, no skill.

I'm now down the Central Valley a bit, and it's even worse. There's no synergy with the Bay Area east of the Altamont. You'd think the demand for IT talent would mean salaries would go up to match the demand, but no. With unemployment still insanely high, salaries for most non-IT positions are pretty awful, and collectively, HR seems to think this means IT salaries should be equally miserable. It's a terrible place to be an IT worker because of salary, and a terrible place to be an IT manager because you're stuck with candidates willing to work for that salary.

Sacramento? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 9 months ago | (#47012491)

Clearly they've never been to or spent much time in, Sacramento. One of te dreariest most boringest cities EVER. Makes San Jose look like Amsterdam.

It has its pros and cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#47012707)

I live and work in the Davis area. There are benefits and drawbacks for sure--the temperatures can be rough in the summer, and it doesn't have the cultural wellspring that San Francisco offers (though not many places do). However, it's no worse off culturally than any other largish city--there are concerts, activities, plenty to do.

Certain parts of the area are more geared to the tech scene--Intel has a large campus in Folsom (just east of Sac), as does HP. There is a small but pretty tight-knit startup scene, and venture capital groups like Velocity Ventures that support locally-grown tech companies.

I actually am quite happy living here--I moved from Monterey. There's a decent art and music scene, and you're about an hour from great activities in any direction (Napa wineries, Tahoe skiing, the coast, the Sierras for hiking and MTB).

More importantly, you don't have to get rich in an IPO to own a house...

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