Where's the growth happening? Not in Silicon Valley.

Sun Microsystems to double Indian R&D staff (Published: May 6, 2005, 1:06 PM PDT)

I have lived in Silicon Valley for 15 years now. I work for Sun Microsystems. Half of the team I work in is located in Bangalore. I have been to Sun's Bangalore office. My first thought on reading the article was "We'll have to move them to a different building, maybe".

There's this other aspect to the story.

Silicon Valley took it especially hard when the .COM burst happened. Sun Microsystems especially has had it hard since the popping of the bubble. I guess that's our comeuppance for claiming to be the dot in .com, eh?

Be that as it may, there's been a general sentiment in the U.S. that the bad times were over, and the economy was recovering. Well, in Silicon Valley the economy never "recovered", really. It just became a little less bad is all.

At the same time the places like Bangalore, Shanghai, Beijing, St. Petersburg, etc, they've all been enjoying huge growth.

Hmmm... this tells me the "recovery" that maybe ought to be happening in Silicon Valley is happening elsewhere. Why?

It's simple really. The growth of the Internet makes it easier to ship software around. The software is purely bytes, and is easily shippable given network connections with enough bandwidth capacity. This makes it easy to develop software in a distributed fashion.

No longer do software teams have to be colocated with one another. They can be scattered around the world and still work together effectively.

In a way this means that Silicon Valley doesn't have to exist any longer, at least not for the software end of what we do here. Since software development can be easily distributed to anyplace, we now have the freedom to locate our jobs wherever we want. Which doesn't make it "easy" when one expects the local Silicon Valley economy to recover, and you see the gungho job growth happening elsewhere rather than here.