Reports of Silicon Valley’s death are greatly exaggerated.

The nattering nabobs of negativism are at it again.

Mark Twain and Spiro T. Agnew!  Where else do you get this kind of intellectual content?

Redfin CEO and greying enfant terrible Glenn Kelman built his personal brand on provocative statements.  I was there when he burst on the scene with an assist from one of 60 Minutes’ patented hit pieces on industries you instinctively dislike–in this case, real estate.  A decade later, Redfin’s very public hiring of its own economist/spokesperson seemed a tacit admission that Glenn’s comments should come with a rim shot, but the media’s craving for novelty acts never dies.

So on December 27th CNBC’s Power Lunch trotted out Glenn to pronounce Silicon Valley dead, d-e-d dead.  “Silicon Valley is going to leave Silicon Valley–that’s already happened.”  The man is a master of the soundbite.

If tech has left, I’d sure like to know who all those commuters are.

Why the exodus, according to Glenn?  The big, high-paying sectors are chasing talent, and “the talent is chasing affordable housing” in tomorrow’s hubs:  “Denver, San Antonio, Houston”.  California, Glenn says, has lost its swagger.  “People in Detroit, people in Texas think they own the future.”

Well, bless them.  A sunny outlook is the key to success.

I might take Glenn seriously, if I hadn’t been hearing that Silicon Valley is d-e-d dead since the dot-bust days of 2001, and we’ll all agree that the corpse looks remarkably lively.  Affordability?  That’s been a problem here for most of my career, and I’ve been selling homes since 1998.

I also might take Glenn seriously if I didn’t know that the nattering nabobs have been calling the death of Silicon Valley since it got its name in the early 1970s.  But here in paradise a downturn isn’t forever.  We have enduring charms.

I also might take Glenn seriously if I could believe that cities known for bomb cyclones, humidity or catastrophic rainfall could suck all the high-priced talent out of Silicon Valley.  I like our track record:  this area was a major migrant magnet long before tech.

This is not Glenn Kelman.

I might also take this latest challenge to the Valley’s staying power seriously if it came out of the mouth of someone with bigly gravitas.  Which isn’t Glenn Kelman.

copyright © John Fyten 2018




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