Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tumbleweeds in Silicon Valley

It's not just the economic sites linked at the right that lead me worry about the economy.  It's my own observations in the business world.  And it isn't feedback or sales numbers from my customers, which are actually holding steady, it's the lack of economic activity everywhere else in Silicon Valley.

On a typical day of sales calls I might drive for a total of two hours up and down the South Bay and Valley.  And what I see is empty building after empty building.  Dozens and dozens of buildings with hundreds of acres, literally, of bare office space and no companies to fill them.

The few buildings that do have people - buildings with my customers - are half empty as the companies that remain have laid off or off-shored (even some engineering positions).  In other cases their corporate neighbors moved or shut down, leaving half the building and parking lot empty.  I have walked through customer's offices that have cube farms that once held dozens of engineers or operations people that are now empty and dark.  It is sort of eerie.

The one exception is the Apple campus which has a frenetic, bustling, high-caffeine feeling.  People are running about and office space near 1 Inifinite Loop is at a premium.  But their one success (and off shore manufacturing) can't fill the rest of the Valley, which has lots of other tech industries and applications outside of the cellphone segment.

Seeing all this empty space I was not surprised to learn that U.S. office vacancy rate is at a 17 year high.  and it shows how how much economic growth, corporate building and hiring is needed to even fill even a fraction of the office space that is available.  And with the anti-business attitude of both the Federal and California governments, I don't see it ever happening.

1 comment:

Rice said...

And it is fairly doubtful that Meg Whitman could change anything as she'll assuredly have the same Dem legislature.