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Could High Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Big Startup Hub? 190

Posted by timothy
from the cost-of-living-is-important dept.
waderoush (1271548) writes "Don't laugh. As the cost of housing spirals out of control on the San Francisco peninsula, neighboring metro regions like Sacramento are beginning to look more attractive to startup founders who prefer a Northern California lifestyle but haven't worked in the Silicon Valley gold mines long enough to become 1-percenters. Today Xconomy presents Part 1 of a two-part look at innovation in the Sacramento-Davis corridor and efforts to make the region more welcoming to high-tech entrepreneurs. In Sacramento's favor, there's a talented workforce fueled by a top-20 university (UC Davis), space for expansion, proximity to the ski mountains at Tahoe, and a far lower cost of living — the average house in Sacramento is selling for $237,000, compared to $909,000 in San Francisco. The downsides include a shortage of local investment dollars and a lower density of startups, meaning there's less opportunity for serendipitous collaboration. But locals say recent efforts to boost the local high-tech economy are working. 'I really feel like we are in a renaissance area,' says Eric Ullrich, co-founder of Hacker Lab, a Midtown Sacramento co-working space."
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Could High Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Big Startup Hub?

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:31PM (#47011041) Homepage

    Choose Detroit, It's hip here, happening, it's now and Wow! plus it has all the violence that SF has except instead of targeting tech, we are equal opportunity violence targeting!

    Plus houses are only $1000!

    • Don't forget the packs of rabid dogs....I can imagine seeking them out to study while brainstorming the next #1 best selling zombie game.
    • Do you have a point? TFS mentioned several specific advantages sacramento had going for it, not just "It's hip."

      Furthermore, no, check your stats. [wikipedia.org] Detroit is the top in terms of violent crime, murder, and assault. It's fourth highest in robbery, second highest in vehicle theft. San Francisco is about in the middle of the list, with Sacramento being slightly ahead of it (just beneath Wichita KS, oddly.)

      (If anyone is wondering why Minneapolis is so high in rape, evidently Minneapolis is just more p [mprnews.org]
    • by Virtucon (127420)

      I could see the old Packard Plant [wikipedia.org] being used as a maker space. Wait, I was just there a year ago, bulldoze the whole city and start over.

    • Holla atcha Detroit! Friends of mine are becoming thousandaires buying property by the block. When the turnaround does come, it's going to be driven by tech.

    • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:54PM (#47011877) Homepage

      Read "American Drive" [amazon.com], by someone who did a startup in Detroit. His approach was to buy a failing GM axle plant cheap using money from a private equity firm, kick out the union, cut wages over 50%, put in some decent machinery, and make big bucks. That's a Detroit startup for you.

      The most amusing part is how they dealt with the crack house across the street from their parking lot. They weren't getting much help from the Detroit cops. So they put stadium-sized lights on the light poles in their parking lot and aimed them all directly at the crack house. When those were switched on for the first time, it was like spraying an ant nest. People ran from the house. The crack house went out of business after a few weeks under the lights.

  • Are there any actual cases of a community engaging in this top down "we're gonna make ourselves a high tech hub" endeavor and actually succeeding? It's usually crappy places that will not succeed, no matter how hard they try.
    • Isn't every "high tech hub" an instance of this working? They weren't hubs from the very beginning after all.
      • by Enigma2175 (179646) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:01AM (#47015223) Homepage Journal

        Isn't every "high tech hub" an instance of this working? They weren't hubs from the very beginning after all.

        Not really, Silicon Valley is only in California because William Shockley's [wikipedia.org] mother lived in Palo Alto and had failing health. If Shockley didn't found his company in the Bay Area it is highly unlikely that it would have the technology presence it has today. Every place that touts itself as "The next Silicon Valley" overlooks the fact that Silicon Valley started by happenstance.

    • by pspahn (1175617) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:50PM (#47011261)

      If you look at the Denver area, you'll quickly see that it's not so much of a community being able to make themselves a high-tech hub, it's more about some high tech people being able to open some high-tech businesses in an area not known for being high-tech ... and succeeding.

      The peripherals matter. Denver has a robust economy thanks to a large number of federal jobs. I'm not saying Denver is a "tech-hub" (well, any more than Sacramento would become a "tech-hub") but there are definitely a healthy amount of tech companies here, both small and large. We have plenty of stuff for the young employees (all the outdoors you could want, great looking women, active night life). I don't think Sacramento can compare when you look at these peripherals. Sure, it will compare favorably to Stockton or Fresno, but simply because it's a couple hours from Silicon Valley doesn't make it prime for a tech boom. You've got to want to attract young smart people, and I'm sorry, but nobody graduates and decides they're moving to Sacramento.

      • by oatworm (969674) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:26PM (#47011595) Homepage
        Speaking as a Reno resident (It's Sacramento, only with hookers and blackjack!), I don't like Sacramento's chances, and it's not because I think Reno's chances are any better. Part of the problem is that there won't be a "next Bay Area" - not just one, anyway. The Bay Area's preeminence in the tech industry was kind of a fluke, which resulted from a combination of various factors (strong academic interest from Stanford and Cal, defense industries sprouting up in the area, good weather, and so on). These days, the tech industry is decentralizing, which is why you have "tech corridors" in places like Raleigh-Durham, Austin, Salt Lake City (Symantec is based there), Las Vegas (Zappos), Seattle, Portland (thanks, cheap hydroelectric power!), Los Angeles ("Silicon Beach" - I remember when Venice was a ghetto), Boston... and these are just the places in this country.

        The other part of the problem is that Sacramento's biggest claims to fame at this point are that it's the state capital of California (*shrug*) and it's kind of close to the Bay Area (so is Vallejo, Vacaville and Antioch). The climate is miserable (think Texas weather, only with a little less humidity, no hurricanes and without the weird bugs), the neighborhoods are extremely hit-and-miss, the culture is getting better but is still more or less non-existent, California's tax and business codes are pretty obnoxious, the physical infrastructure in Sacramento isn't quite Stockton bad but there's definitely room for improvement... yeah. Sacramento's not bad, but it's not good, either.

        Don't get me wrong, I think Sacramento will get some startups to set up shop there. Some of them will probably succeed. I don't think they're going to take over the world out there, though. Venture capitalists would rather go to Denver, Seattle, Portland or Las Vegas than Sacramento, and if you're going by plane, you're not saving that much time by going to Sacramento over either of those other places.
        • Symantec moved from mountain view to SLC?

          • Huh - guess not. I know they have a large office of some sort out there, though - some of their hiring ads bleed over out here. Dentrix support is also based out of SLC (Henry Schein?); used to call out there pretty frequently when I was doing IG support for dental offices.

            The University of Utah was one of the original ARPANET nodes back in the '70s, so there's been some tech out there for a while now.
          • Cute - apparently Slashdot mobile eats HTML. Fine - Symantec has their HQ location listed here: http://www.symantec.com/about/... [symantec.com]
            • when i worked for Symantec they had just bought .. Verisign? which was in draper i believe.

              Seeing how the Veritas merger basically took over the company, what you said was plausible enough :)

              • when i worked for Symantec they had just bought .. Verisign? which was in draper i believe.

                Seeing how the Veritas merger basically took over the company, what you said was plausible enough :)

                They bought PGP which was in Draper and also had a lot of Utah employees from the Altiris acquisition. Verisign was based in Mountain View when the (partial) merger happened (the part that Symantec didn't buy is now based in Virginia).

        • There is a reason that Austin has topped Forbes list of Biggest Boom Towns [forbes.com], and Top Tech Town [forbes.com]. The ratio of income to cost of living, it even made it on Slashdot [slashdot.org]. A lot of big names have offices there too, such as Dell, HP, Cisco, Apple, etc...
          • by thrich81 (1357561)

            The funny thing is -- is that Austin is reviled as the "Peoples Republic of Austin" by the "real Texans" and their representatives in the rest of the state. Austin was split into four US House districts by the state legislature to ensure that the metro area couldn't elect a representative to the US House that actually, you know, "represented" the opinions of the populace there. Austin and the rest of Texas have had a mutual aversion to each other for decades as Austin became more progressive in politics a

        • Sacramento's weather sucks ass in the summer. One of my best friends lives there -- I hate the weather -- even though the rest of the city is OK.

          At least in the Bay Area / San Jose you are relatively close to the water to provide a much more stable temperature other the hell hole hot weather of Sacramento. Summers in contrast in San Jose are beautiful -- not to hot, not to cold.

          • by neonKow (1239288)

            Sac also gets all the pollution from the Bay Area due to the wind patterns, so the more successful the Bay Area gets (or at least the more cars people drive), the shittier the air gets in Sac. It's depressing, but hilarious.

    • by alen (225700)

      silicon valley used to live on defense contracts until the cold war ended and they had to reinvent itself in the 90's

      any town can call in a favor with its congress people to send some defense work into the area to make it livable for white collar people

      • Remember when there was computer hardware? Companies like Sun and Silicon Graphics and a bunch of little Motorola 680x0 workstation companies?

        Yeah, that boom had ended when I moved here in the early 90s, but there was still enough interesting culture and good weather to justify moving out from the east coast, even though the Internet meant you really could work from anywhere in the world you wanted. I caught the tail end of the housing slump (which meant my house in NJ made a good down-payment on a condo

    • Nope, never. You can't blame them for not understanding it thought. I mean they have people who are just as skilled and ideas that are just as "good," so logically it seems like they should be able to do the same things. But there's only one SF and nobody can steal its fashion among investors.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I laughed at the "Northern California lifestyle" comment. That does not at all describe the central valley, in fact it doesn't even describe a lot of silicon valley even (where no lifestyle is even to be found).

  • by ADRA (37398) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:40PM (#47011133)

    And you'll have pretty much the same result. The Valley is successful because its a self-fulfilling prophesey.

    1. Startups go to the valley to because there's a ton of successful ex-startups and they want to be the next one
    2. Investors go to the valley because there are a ton of successful ex-startups and they hope to jump into the next one.
    3. Startups become successful (in part) because they have a large amount of available investment capital

    Rinse and repeat. Unless startups start getting amazingly big without deep pocket books, or the valley becomes just so unworkable that they can't sustain the costs (still a decade away assuming no dramatic bubble popping incidents I'd say) people will continue to gravitate there and be successful. There will always be startups in every non-trivially sized city, but unless they can garner big bankrolls for growth and talent aquisition, its hard to see penetrating into the market largely enough to be 'huge successes' like their valley counterparts seem to.

    • by kamapuaa (555446) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:43PM (#47011189) Homepage

      But I could almost see Davis/Sacramento becoming a tech hub(unlike, say, Montana or Arizona), since it's a relatively easy interview/move for tech workers currently in the Bay Area. Certainly it would take a long time & a lot of luck to become anything somewhat comparable to Silicon Valley, but I could see it as a satellite of the Silicon Valley.

      • by TWX (665546)
        Don't completely discount the Phoenix area or even Tucson, there's a whole of of military/industrial complex that has led into microchip manufacturing and other high-tech business. Generally these defense contractors don't like to advertise their presences, but Honeywell and Boeing are still going strong, as are some of the Motorola divisions that got spun off a decade ago.

        The extreme lack of humidity is good for manufacturing.
        • Phoenix area has a lot of data centers, which got built there because there's no risk of earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, and at least used to have a lot of chip factories because it was cheap and had minimal environmental regulation. Not sure how much that's still the case; if I were going to move to Arizona, I'd much prefer Tucson, which is relatively civilized.

      • There are a lot of people in the Bay Area who already have commutes that hopelessly suck. Sacramento's just a bit farther away from San Francisco than places like Brentwood are from San Jose - it's 90 miles, which Google Maps says is about 1.5 hours in current traffic (though about 5 hours at rush hour.) And look at the surrounding communities - Roseville (big HP campus there and SF banks), Folsom (Intel), Rancho Cordoba (insurance and health care companies along freeway), Elk Grove (Apple), and bunches

        • we don't need more 'silicon valleys'; we need more enlightened companies to RESUME the progress toward telecommuting.

          instead, we have biatches like the yahoo girl who reverse progress and force people who work in software to get in their cars, burn more fuel, wait and waste time in traffic (twice) and get to work more tired than if they just rolled out of bed and logged in from home.

          then, you could let people buy houses where its a cultural match with them and where they can afford it. I'm middle aged and

        • by neonKow (1239288)

          You shouldn't be measuring the traffic to SF. You should be measuring the traffic to the SF penninsula, which is places like Mountain View. Keep in mind that Silicon Valley is the SOUTH bay. Any commute to/from Sac would be impossible.

      • Sacramento is a bedroom community for bay area techs already. Not to mention the HP and Intel sites up in Folsom/Roseville.

        Been here for 18 years, after growing up in Milpitas and living there until 1996.

        Won't go back. Mom sold the 1200sf Daisy Patch house I grew up in for $650K, I bought my much better built and nicer neighborhood 1800sf house for $105K.

        The weather is nicer in the Bay Area, much like San Diego, but that is it.
         

      • There's kind of a hierarchy. If you want to do a hip startup using node.js and ruby, and maybe never have profit, then you go to SF. If you want to do hardware type stuff, you go along the rim of the south bay. Heavy research startups cluster around Stanford.

        If all you want is cheap programmers to make a gift-card website in C# or Java, then you go inland, to Pleasanton. I imagine Sacramento will be more of Pleasanton.
  • gee so weird (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:43PM (#47011179) Homepage

    Its almost as if... economic prosperity in one area driving up prices eventually reaches a point where it encourages new business to move elswhere. You would almost expect to see similar effects where young professionals on entry level salaries get appartments in poor neighborhoods. Has anyone else ever heard of a process by which young professionals competing for lower income housing drive up the prices and price out those with less money?

    Nah.... if that ever happened someone would have noticed and made up a word for it already.

    • by Kethinov (636034)

      This is why I don't understand why after all these years companies are still so reluctant to embrace telecommuting.

      "We are hurrying back and forth across town at morning and night to situations which we could quite easily encompass by closed-circuit. Documents, contracts, data. All of these materials actually could be just as available on closed-circuit, at home." - Marshall McLuhan, 1965.

      • by ADRA (37398)

        Much of the value from startups comes from a group of bright people getting together and creating something (mostly an idea, but implementation is important). If you just have random people chiming in online, you lose a lot of the creativity and feel that comes from being in person. Can you have a startup purely online? Sure, but it just makes things that much harder. Oh, and a nice office with wizz bang decore attracts VC money.

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      Where has it actually happened that young professionals competing for lower income housing caused a net exodus of poor people? Do those neighborhoods have restrictions on density?

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        All places have restrictions on density, you can only build so many houses so fast, and it requires infrastructure expansion to expand. Its not so much density as price. Its very simple, young professionals are prefered tennants for all sorts of reasons that you would have to be an idiot to not see. They are at the bottom of their income curve and make slightly more than the poor people who are at the top of their curve.... so they are willing to pay a bit more and more likely to be able to afford the rent

    • by neonKow (1239288)

      Like New York, where cost of living magically levelled out and rents stopped skyrocketting by themselves....oh wait.

  • I repeat, this is not a dig. A gut-reaction for me is Sacramento lacks the attraction of the Bay Area, which is heavy on coast (and cooler coastal weather) and year-round greenery, and which is pre-stocked with cultural diversions. But most of the tech industry happens in Silicon Valley which, frankly, doesn't have those either.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When I was younger, the Bay and SV appealed to me. Plenty to do every weekend, great weather, lots of like-minded people, plenty of night-life. Now that I am older, I have zero desire to live in the Bay/SV... traffic sucks, prices are crazy, I want a less hectic area to raise my children in, etc.

      Sacramento could easily become a tech-hub for an older crowd of startup types.

      • When I was younger, the Bay and SV appealed to me. Plenty to do every weekend, great weather, lots of like-minded people, plenty of night-life. Now that I am older, I have zero desire to live in the Bay/SV... traffic sucks, prices are crazy, I want a less hectic area to raise my children in, etc.

        Sacramento could easily become a tech-hub for an older crowd of startup types.

        Those older types are a lot more risk-averse because they have kids and an accustomed lifestyle. Startups, particularly tech startups, are predominantly started by younger people (with backing from older money) because they have less to lose when they go bankrupt.

    • Yeah, the valley isn't the city. But here in Mountain View, there are usually about 25 cuisines of restaurants on our 4 blocks of downtown restaurant zone, and you can find a few more in Palo Alto or Sunnyvale, plus a lot more range of Indian and Korean farther down El Camino. We don't have much in the way of nightclubs, but there's plenty of choices of music jams around. I do have one friend who was living in San Jose and decided there wasn't enough social life down there (i.e. chances to meet women),

  • Downsides (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The downsides include a shortage of local investment dollars and a lower density of startups

    ...and that it is hot as balls there. It really is not a pleasant place to live as far as weather goes. That won't help to attract people.

    • by gander666 (723553) *
      Exactly. If you were going to locate there, why not go to Phoenix where your dollar goes a LOT further, and income taxes are a fraction of the California rate.
      • by berchca (414155)

        I think the point it Sac is still vaguely local to SV/SF. If you needed to be there say, once a week, you could jump on the Capital Corridor Express. But it's far enough away that prices are significantly lower, and it already has a fair amount to offer as it houses our reasonably-to-well paid state government.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:53PM (#47011279)

    Already its a very hot start up location... the venture capital firms are active there... Its probably better then Silicon Valley at this point if you're just starting out. Its cheaper, it has a similar opportunities, and the state government isn't on a massive tax hiking binge.

    For example, they're trying to jack up property taxes in California without going through proper procedure. The voters don't want it... but the government is ramming it through anyway.

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)

      Here's the problem: Austin, TX is getting very crowded and many people are complaining about the traffic and rapidly increasing housing prices there.

      Meanwhile, there are potentially great business parks at the former McClellan AFB, near the former Mather AFB, the Sacramento Army Depot, and north of Roseville, CA near California 65 freeway that could hold a startup tech companies.

      • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:35AM (#47016187)

        Yeah but you're in california which is not a great place to start or run a company these days. There is a huge outflow of companies from California right now. And many companies that decided to try in california anyway ultimately went out of business due to labor issues, tax issues, and environmental issues.

        Look, its a very pretty state. But if I wanted to start a company... a business somewhere... Why would I set up in california? The taxes are high, the regulations are high, the PPP is not favorable... again, very pretty state... but what does that have to do with starting a business. And I'll point out that the prettiness of the state has nothing to do with the state government... california just "is" pretty.

        I wouldn't want to start up in Hawaii either and Hawaii is a lot nicer then California for climate.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:54PM (#47011299)
    Full of over-entitled punks talking shit in an incestuous echo chamber. I lived there for a few months not so long ago as part of a system roll-out job. Shopkeepers, bar staff and cab drivers said they were constantly being abused and condescended to by them. Its gotten really really bad.

    When the property bubble pops there, it will be sweet.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:58PM (#47011345) Journal

    California is not very employer friendly and has strict over time laws not to mention outrageously high taxes and rents.

    It does not make business sense to start there.

    Detroit, Austin, Kansas City, and even Fargo have universities, other tech companies. I dream of starting a business but I do not have 1 million dollars a year to pay for a tiny crappy office in San Fransisco. If I did get shareholders I am sure they do not appreciate all their savings going to pay rent rather than for product development. Not to mention your employers could leave in a hearts notice with Google and Apple offering 6 figures on the fly.

    I know I sound conservative right now but when you start out no OT, taxes, friendly business laws, can mean you make it or die at the end of the year.

  • Damn Right (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:58PM (#47011347)

    As someone who founded an edtech startup in Sacramento, I can say Sacramento is a great place to live without the high cost associated with living in the bay area. This lower cost of living translated into a better investment for our finical backers.

    We are one of the most diverse cities in the entire world. We have some of the best produce in the world along with a lot of very good restaurants. We have more trees per capita then any other city in North America. We have one of the best bike trails in the world.

  • Already doing it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:07PM (#47011427) Homepage Journal

    After living in SF for 10 years as an Independent Contractor, I realized that paying $3,100/month rent (house in the Presidio etc) was keeping me from doing anything productive other than working night and day on client projects or hunting for more projects when the work was done, I'd have ideas for apps and the like, but I'd be lucky to get two weeks into something only to get sucked into a project for a month or three, by which time, I'd be lucky to have another week or two to pick it up again, and by then had already forgotten where I was at and lost all momentum.

    So I said fuck it, have been living out of a monthly hotel room billed as a "efficiency studio" (it has a full bath and kitchen), first in Sac and now in Fairfield, paying only $1,000/month including utils and housekeeping and have been making excellent progress creating some underlying frameworks and services that will be powering my app ideas. Yes, I still have to take clients and put down my personal projects, but now I take smaller projects for weeks at a time, not months at a a time and now my ambitions are really starting to come together, with my first round of OSS frameworks and services in reach. And while some people have looked down on me as trash for living out of a hotel instead of renting a house or apartment, fuck them. It's my life, ambition and goals, not theirs. Once I'm done, I plan on leaving the Bay Area, and hope to expat from the US and legally renounce my citizenship since I no longer view this as a Free Country under a Government that recognizes it's own Constitution, hence the desire to be as unencumbered as possible.

    • In Atlanta, I pay $1000/month including utilities for a 3-bedroom house (in a neighborhood comparable to Portland or Austin). I come out ahead [ajc.com] of all you Bay Area suckers even before counting the fact that I work 40 hours a week instead of 60 like most of you apparently do.

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:07PM (#47011433)

    Seriously, Texas, home of cowboy hats, Tex-Mex and Rick Perry... Why? Three major reasons..

    1. LOW (as in Zero) income tax and low corporate tax rates.

    2. RIGHT to WORK state.

    3. Generally a state and local government that stays out of your way as much as possible.

    So why NOT Texas?

    1. You don't like Tex-Mex, cowboy boots, Rick Perry, or something else about Texas for purely subjective reasons OR you've never been here and have arbitrarily decided you don't like Tex-Mex, Cowboy hats, Rick Perry or something else for no real reason.

    2. It's too hot in the summer for you.

    • by default luser (529332) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:45PM (#47011783) Journal

      3. The cities are islands in a sea of rural nothingness. Seriously, if you make your home in (e.g.) Austin, just try to commute somewhere else. San Antonio is a stretch (1.5-3 hours each way, depending on which sides of the city you are commuting to), and Houston and Dallas are out. Every other town is too small and too isolated to attract tech industry jobs.

      This means that when a major tech industry in your chosen metro area craters, it takes YEARS for the economy to recover, and there's no other option available except for you to move. So if you move to the area seeking fame and fortune, remember to keep a deep nest egg, and don't expect to put down any deep roots.

      Believe me, my family moved to Austin to follow the growing tech industry in 1983, and they ditched the place in the late 90s because they were tired of dealing with the boom-bust cycle. Since they moved, Austin crashed yet-again (Dell + Dot Com Bubble at the same time). The place has finally recovered and looks attractive again, but it will only be a short matter of time before another crash hits. So keep your nest egg close, and your roots shallow folks!

    • by scm (21828)

      It's too hot in the summer for you.

      One could say the same thing about Sacramento

    • by Kagato (116051)

      Education is abysmal. Some of the highest drop out rates in the nation, some of the lowest graduation and SAT rates in the country. Contrary to popular belief the blue states don't just throw money away. They spend it on education, worker training and things that increase the living conditions. What does that mean? Where I live unemployement is a full two points lower than TX.

      • by netsavior (627338)
        you live in Vermont then? That's cool... we have 6 cities that are each bigger than Vermont (in population).

        Look, I am not a Texas cheer-leader or anything, but I will say, at least we have jobs, and a much lower unemployment rate than the average. All of my kids are in private schools, because of the education thing... still our cost of living is significantly lower, and our lifestyle significantly higher than when we lived in California.

        If I could afford to live like this in CA, I would, but I can't
  • Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley has been trying this forever. It didn't happen during the first bubble, it likely won't happen this time around. The Delta and Valley regions may as well be flyover country as far as techs are concerned. It's almost as easy to hop on a plane and be in Austin, Boulder, Portland, SLC, or any other regional tech hub than it is to drive around in CA.

    I grew up in Merced and have seen this same story too many times in the past... 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s... This conversatio

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)

      I'd almost agree, but what would happen if Google suddenly announces that Google Fiber will be offered in the Sacramento County area? Tech startups would swoop in in literally a blink of an eye....

  • Sacramento isn't in Northern California. Well, okay, geographically speaking it is in the Northern half of the state. But I refuse to acknowledge Sac as part of NorCal in all the ways that actually matter.

  • Why California? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:04PM (#47012009) Homepage

    Why put a new business in California? I've been there on business a number of times, and I just don't see it.

    The climate is nice enough, but boring. No decent seasons, but I suppose it counts as a plus for some folks.

    On the minus side, the politics are leftist, leading to socialist-style government regulations that are downright hostile to business. The legal climate tends to lawyers looking to sue companies for trivial violations of those regulations, like people working through their lunch break.

    On the personal front, holier-than-thou environmentalism is widespread, which is hard to take given that their state has huge monocultures [shutterstock.com], puts rice farms in the desert, and pumps water from Arizona to keep the lawns in LA green.

    It's pretty much the last place I would want to live, and I imagine there are plenty of other techies who would agree...

    • On the upside, the people put a government in place that curbs air and water pollution, and makes it difficult to fire someone because they're gay.

      The legal climate is that of every area that has lots of money floating around: you can hire a cheap lawyer, an expensive lawyer, or anything in between. For what it's worth, I haven't seen anyone be sued for volunteering to work through lunch. Forcing someine to work through lunch without overtime compensation though will quickly get you a letter from a lawyer.

      T

      • On the upside, the people put a government in place that curbs air and water pollution, and makes it difficult to fire someone because they're gay.

        That's pretty much true anywhere, so...

    • leading to socialist-style government regulations that are downright hostile to business

      I keep hearing shit like this but you know, there is NOTHING in the US anymore that is hostile toward business. that's BS talk.

      consumer rights go down each year, employee rights go down, corporations are now 'people' and freedom = speech = buyable.

      if anything, I wish there was a true bit of socialism left in the US, but I see none at all, just fear *about* it existing from ultra conservs.

    • which is hard to take given that their state has huge monocultures [shutterstock.com]

      FYI that's not a monoculture, most almond orchards have at least two varieties, usually more, for cross-pollination purposes.

  • by virtualXTC (609488) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:07PM (#47012049) Homepage
    Tech innovation hubs are centered around bleeding edge academic institutions because start-ups need academics to consult for them. Sacramento does not offer this.
    • by mrheckman (939480)

      Tech innovation hubs are centered around bleeding edge academic institutions because start-ups need academics to consult for them. Sacramento does not offer this.

      UC Davis, as the article states, is a top research university. Here are some statistics, collected by UC Davis itself (http://admissions.ucdavis.edu/about/rankings.cfm):

      * 14th in research funding among U.S. ranked public universities and 22nd for public and private universities
      National Science Foundation 2011 R&D Expenditures

      * 9th among public research universities nationwide and 39th among public and private research universities
      U.S. News & World Report's 2014 "America's Best Colleges"

      • by mrheckman (939480)

        I have to add, however, that UC Davis has been a top research university for many years, but that has not led to the creation of a large number of start-ups. Having a bleeding-edge academic institution in the region may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for creating a tech innovation hub.

  • Because anytime an article headline starts with the word 'could' the answer is no. If the answer was yes the journalist would have had enough of a story to make a statement.

  • Clearly they've never been to or spent much time in, Sacramento. One of te dreariest most boringest cities EVER. Makes San Jose look like Amsterdam.
  • (26 C vs. 39 C)

    There's other things besides hipness to consider when moving.
  • by Skynyrd (25155)

    Sac has a terrible reputation in California. It's always been the laughingstock of the area; like a bigger Fresno or Merced. I stayed for a few days a few years ago, and was *frequently* asked by locals, "why are you *here*?".

    Oakland, on the other hand is 1/2 the price of SF and a 20 minute subway ride away.

  • Nevada County..Grass Valley, Nevada City..

    Reasonable housing prices

    GREAT quality of life!

    60 miles from Sacramento

    • Almost no access to broadband Internet other than big$$$$ leased lines purchased by a few local broadcast technology companies. Average age 60 (plus or minus 20 years). Housing prices on average twice that of Sacramento due to being primarily a retirement community. Both towns turn off the lights around 7:00PM. Limited tech employment opportunities. Not uncommon for talented employees to stay a few years then be vacuumed up by Bay Area / Sac / Roseville companies at 2-3 times the pay.

      Lovely weather. Beautif

  • I couldn't help laughing at the article.

    No one in the Bay Area wants to live in Sacramento. Not many people in Sacramento want to live in Sacramento.

    1) In SF, you're 4 miles from the beach, at the most. In San Jose, while the salt marsh at the south end of the San Francisco Bay is not quite a beach, you're only 35 miles away from Santa Cruz.

    2) The South Bay is still overloaded with large industrial buildings and is still cheap to run a tech business in.

    3) When the economy crashes again and tech TANKS like i

  • How many years have I been hearing this? The South Bay was too expensive. Everyone was moving to Vegas, or Austin, or Massachusetts. They moved all right - to the only place outside Manhattan that was more expensive. Like real estate prices you have to believe it can't go on forever, but it can go on a lot longer than you expected.
  • HP tried this during the tech (real estate and traffic) boom of the mid 1980's. Moved a whole bunch of R&D and operations to Roseville and other environs near Sacto. Pretty much for the same reasons.

    A failed experiment.

    The SF/Silicon Valley area occasionally succeeds because of pure critical mass, it's density of top research universities, tech talent, and crazy people with more money than sense. Very few other "corridors" continue to put that much money into crazy people's ventures.

  • why I used to call it Suck-ramento.

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