Move over, San Francisco, Player 2 has entered the game, and there’s bound to be technological warfare. Where entrepreneurs and techies alike once aspired to living the Silicon Valley dream, they are now ushering the tech industry to southern neighbor Silicon Beach in record breaking droves.
More than five hours separate the technology-pioneering region from its encroaching competition, but that hasn’t made a difference to kingpins like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Microsoft. Each of these and other techie superstars has opened operations in Silicon Beach within the past few years. And true to the bandwagon effect, people will do what they see other people do. In this case, it stands to reason that if you want to be a big kid you act like a big kid, and that is exactly what these small kid tech startups are doing.
Why the Shift?
Silicon Valley became the hub of the technology industry several decades ago, but the invention of the PC in the early 1980s spurned rapid growth that coined the area’s namesake. Since then, it’s been considered the go-to place for all things technology. That is, until Silicon Beach arrived on scene.
Way back, people who made the right career choices at the right time (i.e., a ground floor position with a tech company soon to burgeon) amassed tremendous wealth that created a ripple effect to raise average living costs in elitist Silicon Valley. Those costs continue to climb. These days, if you want to a buy a home in San Francisco you can plan to shell out a minimum of half a million.
Silicon Beach, on the other hand, seeks to present a level of the same opportunities you’d find in the Valley, but at a much more attractive price. With thousands of new graduates from nearby UCLA, USC and other universities infiltrating the job market, we see plenty of depth in the talent pool.
Everything about Silicon Beach screams laid back, and its corporate tax dollar generators continue to brand the area as such. Combine that with Hollywood culture, beautiful beaches, and sunny weather, the dawn of a new tech epicenter seems like a no-brainer.
When Corporate Turns Casual
With the industry shift from the Valley to the Beach, we see employees trading their business suits for swim suits, bus passes for bikes, and portfolios for cultural fit. The bottom line: Silicon Beach sparks a fresh new take of company culture you have probably never seen, and job-seekers love it.
Long gone are the days when corporate regimen means Armani suits and ties. Startup tech companies like those in Silicon Beach have turned focus to high energy, creativity, and the extra oomph needed to take their product to the top of Google. In the new tech boom it’s all about muting rigidity and bringing out the best in the employees by whatever means. Funky office furnishings, foosball tables, and mandatory vacations help provide a never-ending supply of talent to make it all happen.
That’s not to say other industries across the country don’t follow the same example. But for Silicon Beach, those expectations are somewhat par for the course.
Silicon Valley No More?
With a push to Silicon Beach, are we to see the next Detroit in Silicon Valley? Not so fast. With nearly seven decades of technological pioneering in its history books, Silicon Valley’s status among industry gurus and entrepreneurs will be difficult to unseat. The total capital investments in this techie hot spot rank miles higher than that of their new(ish) neighbor each year, and continue to see healthy numbers. However, we cannot overlook the fact that Silicon Beach’s capital investments each year remain on the rise.
With the increased output of new social racetracks and a record number of technology services being born at every curve, the tech industry has become a master race of product development to see who can create the “next big thing.”
As it becomes easier and more affordable for individuals to launch their startups, we see the industry already spoking out from the Silicon Beach/Valley hub and establishing several new meccas across the country. But for now, today’s rapid expansion of technology platforms and business services allows for both Silicon namesakes to continue to thrive and prosper. Neither locale will be going anywhere anytime soon, unless it’s up.