Is Silicon Valley seeing an economic turnaround?

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Michael Malone wrote a post that caught my eye this morning saying he’s seeing an economic turnaround in Silicon Valley.

He might have a point. I’m seeing a bit more optimism in the valley. Yes, January was bloody. Yes, we’re still seeing layoffs, and probably will see a few more. Yes, our houses are under water (there are three houses on sale on just my small street and one of them is a foreclosure, so I owe more on my house than it’s now worth in the marketplace).

But I’ve been feeling more optimistic lately. At least about the Valley. After I got back from Davos I was really depressed. Why? Because I heard very few ideas about how to get people working again. But then I got back to the valley and met with companies like Playfish, which has been seeing great growth lately (they are the most popular games company on Facebook).

Also, this week we saw Intel invest billions of dollars in its US plants.

Oh, and some companies, like Craig’s List and Etsy, are seeing increased activity because of the recession. Above is a video I shot on Sunday of Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s List.

Some other interviews you should check out:
Playfish’s CEO talking about how they are building games for Facebook, part I and part II.
Etsy’s founder, in Davos, talking about the success he’s seeing in selling handmade goods.

Oh, and Twitter just closed another round of funding.

Have we hit bottom? It’s too early to say, but it sure is nice to see even a little optimism around.

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41 thoughts on “Is Silicon Valley seeing an economic turnaround?

  1. okay, so it’s not in the valley – but i’m seeing lots of optimism around Gluecon (www.gluecon.com) — sponsorships, registrations, and general excitement.

    hope to see you there! 😉

    Like

  2. okay, so it’s not in the valley – but i’m seeing lots of optimism around Gluecon (www.gluecon.com) — sponsorships, registrations, and general excitement.

    hope to see you there! 😉

    Like

  3. My husband’s entire CO took a 5% pay cut last week and lost free lunch and PTO the day before announcing earnings, so I’d say no. This after a round of layoffs at the previous earnings announcement. We are both trying to be positive but it’s hard when we see friends getting let go or watching salaries drop.

    Like

  4. My husband’s entire CO took a 5% pay cut last week and lost free lunch and PTO the day before announcing earnings, so I’d say no. This after a round of layoffs at the previous earnings announcement. We are both trying to be positive but it’s hard when we see friends getting let go or watching salaries drop.

    Like

  5. Hey Scobleizer,

    It’s true that certain people from SV talk with zest – and I’m not one to talk about doom and gloom – it’s inspirational.

    I had the good fortune of being invited to meet Saeed Amidi from the Plug and Play Center – he was an impressive businessman who was clearly on top of his game. If your readers want to hear him there’s a podcast here http://irishdev.com/Home/News/253-US-Entrepreneur-Visits-NovaUCD.html

    Lastly, I think your connection with optimism and economic turnaround is a bit, well, optimistic!

    Best
    barry

    Like

  6. Hey Scobleizer,

    It’s true that certain people from SV talk with zest – and I’m not one to talk about doom and gloom – it’s inspirational.

    I had the good fortune of being invited to meet Saeed Amidi from the Plug and Play Center – he was an impressive businessman who was clearly on top of his game. If your readers want to hear him there’s a podcast here http://irishdev.com/Home/News/253-US-Entrepreneur-Visits-NovaUCD.html

    Lastly, I think your connection with optimism and economic turnaround is a bit, well, optimistic!

    Best
    barry

    Like

  7. I think the optimism, if real in SV, is premature. Increase traffic on gaming site, CL, Etsy, etc only confirm that more people are out of work w/a lot of time on their hands to play games and make $$ by selling goods.

    Like

  8. I think the optimism, if real in SV, is premature. Increase traffic on gaming site, CL, Etsy, etc only confirm that more people are out of work w/a lot of time on their hands to play games and make $$ by selling goods.

    Like

  9. I think the Tech Industry (at least for software developers) is cushioned more from the hardships because as these companies are going down, they look to technology to help make things more efficient and reduce costs.

    Like

  10. I think the Tech Industry (at least for software developers) is cushioned more from the hardships because as these companies are going down, they look to technology to help make things more efficient and reduce costs.

    Like

  11. Our new company (www.seniorservicematch.com) is seeing some great things happen in this economy. While not in the Valley, we are getting a feeling that Tech is still extremely viable – if the ‘tech part’ solves problems for people (i.e. – saves $ form their current process).

    Like

  12. Our new company (www.seniorservicematch.com) is seeing some great things happen in this economy. While not in the Valley, we are getting a feeling that Tech is still extremely viable – if the ‘tech part’ solves problems for people (i.e. – saves $ form their current process).

    Like

  13. The same optimistic spirit can be found in cleantech too. Tech and cleantech are busy creating amazing new stuff, no time to be gloomy. Good.

    Tech and cleantech will lead us out of the the current mess.

    Like

  14. The same optimistic spirit can be found in cleantech too. Tech and cleantech are busy creating amazing new stuff, no time to be gloomy. Good.

    Tech and cleantech will lead us out of the the current mess.

    Like

  15. I’m pretty sure we won’t hit bottom until at least Oct 2009. Unfortunately, for the economy, all those bailouts we see are poisonous. The fall will take longer, and also the recovery. Then, after recovery, we’ll head directly into the next crisis which is high inflation. So, finding the sweet spot between holding cash and increasing investments again, will be crucial.

    Like

  16. I’m pretty sure we won’t hit bottom until at least Oct 2009. Unfortunately, for the economy, all those bailouts we see are poisonous. The fall will take longer, and also the recovery. Then, after recovery, we’ll head directly into the next crisis which is high inflation. So, finding the sweet spot between holding cash and increasing investments again, will be crucial.

    Like

  17. It is too early to say i think. But again, i see there are lot of opportunities coming in IT services for health care. Innovative services that can reduce the health care cost will stand to gain in obama administration. let us hope for the best.

    Like

  18. It is too early to say i think. But again, i see there are lot of opportunities coming in IT services for health care. Innovative services that can reduce the health care cost will stand to gain in obama administration. let us hope for the best.

    Like

  19. Still like that old time irrational exuberance
    That kind of economy just soothes the soul
    I reminisce about the days of old
    Just take those dot.coms off the shelf
    I’ll sit and use em by myself
    With that old time irrational exuberance
    That kind of economy just soothes the soul

    Like

  20. Still like that old time irrational exuberance
    That kind of economy just soothes the soul
    I reminisce about the days of old
    Just take those dot.coms off the shelf
    I’ll sit and use em by myself
    With that old time irrational exuberance
    That kind of economy just soothes the soul

    Like

  21. Part of this issue is about where the turnround comes (and where Government should invest in support / stimulus)

    The green shoots of recovery are generally in innovation and new(ish) 1st generation business. 2nd generation and more particularly 3rd generation (old manufacturing / big corporate brands) are gonna struggle. But the key question is whether supporting those big corporate brands is going to do anything sustaining – if a big auto / a big bank / a big computer company was inefficient and greedy, will support / stimulus change anything?

    Like

  22. Part of this issue is about where the turnround comes (and where Government should invest in support / stimulus)

    The green shoots of recovery are generally in innovation and new(ish) 1st generation business. 2nd generation and more particularly 3rd generation (old manufacturing / big corporate brands) are gonna struggle. But the key question is whether supporting those big corporate brands is going to do anything sustaining – if a big auto / a big bank / a big computer company was inefficient and greedy, will support / stimulus change anything?

    Like

  23. I have Craig to thank for 3 jobs (including the job I have now that is becoming a dream job), the sale of a washer/dryer set, the trade of a couch, the acquisition of the perfect-sized dining room table (a feat) and…kind personal responses to tweets and beautiful birdawtching updates…but mostly, Craig’s work to elect Obama and his current work helping veterans as a civilian. His humor, civility, accessibility, and kindness are a beacon and an example. He has high standards and he has a sense of humor. Yay.

    Like

  24. I have Craig to thank for 3 jobs (including the job I have now that is becoming a dream job), the sale of a washer/dryer set, the trade of a couch, the acquisition of the perfect-sized dining room table (a feat) and…kind personal responses to tweets and beautiful birdawtching updates…but mostly, Craig’s work to elect Obama and his current work helping veterans as a civilian. His humor, civility, accessibility, and kindness are a beacon and an example. He has high standards and he has a sense of humor. Yay.

    Like

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