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Silicon Valley backlash grows as vocal tech faction boycotts

Silicon Valley may be a “state of mind,” but it’s also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.


While the pandemic’s arrival sent tech workers to toil from home just as the Bay Area’s housing crisis and mounting quality of life problems bubbled over, some are taking the opportunity to move to cities that better suit their lifestyles.

  • As many as an estimated 89,000 households have left San Francisco.
  • “The majority of people I’ve spoken with … are doing it not because of COVID-19 directly but because of the resulting degradation of public safety,” says venture capitalist and former San Francisco mayor Mark Farrell.
  • City Hall’s tech relationship has also drastically changed. While then-mayor Ed Lee brokered a payroll tax break for Twitter and others in 2011 to keep their jobs in the city, today that move is deeply despised by officials who don’t believe the industry is paying its fair share.

Recently a small-but-vocal group of investors, workers, and entrepreneurs like Keith Rabois and Joe Lonsdale have been loudly advertising their exits from the Bay Area and other high-priced cities like New York, and encouraging others to follow suit.

  • Miami and Austin are being praised as the new tech hotspots. While it hasn’t caused a bump in startup funding in those cities, according to Pitchbook data, investors from influential firms like Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz have set up shop there.
  • And those cities are not missing the opportunity. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been waving his city’s flag on Twitter to court potential residents.
  • Austin Mayor Steve Adler touted his city’s growth and passage of a $7 billion package for transformational transportation during a recent conversation with Suarez and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Between the lines: Those who never wanted to live in San Francisco (or the greater Bay Area) are finally getting the permission not to.

The debate is equally (and perhaps even more) a referendum on the state of California.

  • “If California decides to up their income tax a bit more, people are going to start flying like crazy,” says Drive Capital managing partner Mark Kvamme, a Silicon Valley native who set up shop in Ohio nearly a decade ago.
  • The tech industry also took the passage of A.B. 5, a law that imposed stricter requirements for classifying workers as contractors, as yet another attack on business and tech companies like Uber and DoorDash.
  • Further, some have been unhappy with the state restrictions during the pandemic and its slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. As of this week, California is lagging behind nearly all states in vaccinations.
  • Some prominent VCs are even taking part in an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • Nevertheless, Austin has already shown it’s willing to push back on tech, as evidenced by its year-long showdown with Uber and Lyft over fingerprinting. Miami is also likely to get scrutiny over how it ensures that its diverse communities do not get trampled over.

Yes, but: “What I take issue with is our leaders — people of means — abandoning our community when it needs us most,” Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson recently tweeted. “Reaping the benefits of Silicon Valley’s talent, tech incubators, mentors, professional network and culture until they no longer need it.”

The bottom line: The region’s grip on the industry will likely loosen as a myriad of other cities’ local ecosystems continue to grow into their own and provide more options for those who want to work in technology.

Source: https://www.axios.com/silicon-valley-rebellion-a8aebac9-3f60-443a-b95b-ba68e011ccfa.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kia Kokalitcheva

San Francisco police are prepping for a pro-Trump rally at Twitter headquarters

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San Francisco police are preparing for a pro-Trump protest at Twitter’s headquarters, a building which has been essentially abandoned since the start of the pandemic last year, with most Twitter employees working remotely.

The potential protest comes days after Twitter banned the president from using its service — his favorite form of communication to millions of followers — following what the company called his continued incitements to violence in the wake of the January 6 assault on the Capitol last week by a mob of his followers.

“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the possibility of a demonstration on the 1300 block of Market Street (Twitter) tomorrow, Monday January 11, 2021. SFPD has been in contact with representatives from Twitter. We will have sufficient resources available to respond to any demonstrations as well as calls for service citywide,” a police department spokesperson wrote in an email. “The San Francisco Police Department is committed to facilitating the public’s right to First Amendment expressions of free speech. We ask that everyone exercising their First Amendment rights be considerate, respectful, and mindful of the safety of others.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the preparations from SF police, noted that posts on a popular internet forum for Trump supporters who have relocated from Reddit called for the president’s adherents to protest his Twitter ban outside of the company’s headquarters on Monday.

Twitter is one of several tech companies to deplatform the president and many of his supporters in the wake of the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday.

At this point, most of the biggest names in tech have pledged to deny service to the President for what they said was his incitement to violence in the wake of the Capitol hill raid that left five people dead — including a Capitol Police officer.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/10/san-francisco-police-are-prepping-for-a-pro-trump-rally-at-twitter-headquarters/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan Shieber

‘Good riddance’: Tech’s flight from San Francisco is a relief to some advocates

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Software engineers, CEOs and venture capitalists have chosen to jump from the Bay Area to places such as Denver, Miami and Austin, Texas. Some San Francisco residents are fine with it.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/good-riddance-tech-s-flight-san-francisco-relief-some-advocates-n1249163
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The Article Was Written/Published By: David Ingram