Silicon Valley and its Competitor Regions: Not a Zero Sum Game

It’s a jungle out there.

That’s the premise of the Silicon Valley Competitiveness & Innovation Project: That other regions are vying for the tech jobs that have made Silicon Valley what it is, and we have to fight them off.

And that’s true, as far as it goes. History is littered with booming regions that lost their boom when leaders became complacent. But as supply chains have become more complex, and markets more far flung, the us-vs.-them paradigm is less of a fit than it once was.

Our recently released survey of executives brings this into clear relief. More than 56 percent of respondents expect to grow their headcount in Silicon Valley between now and 2025. But nearly two-thirds (63%) of those expecting to grow in Silicon Valley also expect to grow their presence in other regions of the United States.

This suggests that we are wrong to think of innovation job creation and economic development as a zero sum game. The jungle metaphor is perhaps appropriate for – wait for it – Amazon, and their Survivoresque sweepstakes. But over time, healthy companies don’t grow in just one place. They grow where their customers are. They grow where their supply chains are. They grow where the talent is. Note Google’s quiet boom: $13B in real estate investment alone in communities across the United States, from Nevada and Ohio to Texas and Nebraska.

The best case for Silicon Valley is broadly distributed job growth – in our region, to be sure, but also spread across the U.S. and beyond. And on that front, the news is good.

– Brian Brennan, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and State and Federal Coalitions, Silicon Valley Leadership Group | April 17, 2019