8 things you should not live in in Silicon Valley

    Disclaimer 1 : I have been living in the valley for 4 years, where I work as a programmer in the Google headquarters.

    Disclaimer 2 : I know that sometimes the valley is called Siliconova, sometimes Silicon. I personally prefer "Silicone", although both options are correct.

    The most important disclaimer : Everything described below only talks about the flaws - this article was originally conceived as one-sided. In the Valley there are still a lot of advantages, about which I am not writing here. And for so many (including me) these advantages outweigh the flaws. Therefore, we do not pack our bags, but stay here to live.

    Important Update : This is a one-way article, only about flaws. There are virtues in the Valley, and I wrote about them too, just separately. Just later I had to remove the link, as my site fell victim to the habraeffect.

    Not so long ago I wrote about a job search for a programmer in the USA . And the first place that comes to mind when talking about the United States and programmers is, of course, Silicon Valley. It has a rich history, there are undeniable advantages, and the salaries for programmers there are quite decent. But there are no ideal places, and the valley also has its drawbacks. They will be discussed today.

    So, let's get started ...

    Property prices

    About the price, how much is in this word? So, let's say you want a house in a good area, with good schools. How much does such a house cost? Let's try to find a house with a maximum price of 1 million in Palo Alto:

    Found it. Adyn pieces: A

    house vidok is at least questionable:

    How much does a relatively normal house cost? We are expanding the price range to 1.25 million - another house has appeared:

    In general, I will not torment you for too long - 1.7 million is the lower limit, when you see a house and do not want to quickly close the page in the browser. However, Palo Alto is a very good area. If you look at the areas a little worse, but still reasonably close and with good schools (relevant for those with children), then the lower limit will drop to 1.2 million for "nothing special, you can live." In general, all the same dohrenstva.

    Here's a comparison, you can buy in Maryland for 1 million. And this is the first house that caught my eye - I did not even look much. By the way, schools are all 10 out of 10, unlike the above houses:

    So with real estate here. If you want:
    1) A safe area with good schools
    2) Not very far from work (<40 minutes by car on a weekday)
    3) To make the house at least aesthetically acceptable and larger than the shed,

    prepare at least 1.5 million . If you want something closer to a million, then select any two points from the above three.


    Taxes are here too - Mama Do not Cry! Not only the federal tax (which all Americans pay) will be deducted from your salary, but also the 13 +% state tax. And then you still pay almost 9% VAT in the store (however, food does not fall under VAT - this is good). By the way, California has the highest state tax:

    And while California is all in debt like silk.


    Here's a typical view of the valley in summer:

    Everything is yellow, the grass is dry, there is almost no greenery. And so it is everywhere. Because there is very little rain - they go somewhere from November to February. In the remaining months, this is an almost unbelievable event. However, after a couple of years of life here you even begin to understand and love this special “beauty”.

    By the way, if you have a small garden at home and you want it to be green in the summer too - hello water bills! It will be necessary to water your kindergarten every day, otherwise everything will dry up.

    Radicals of all stripes

    Fortunately, California is not France with its strikes and historically socialist culture. But, for some reason, people who consider communism to be a very correct world order are quite common to me. Moreover, not drunk philosophizing homeless people in the gates, but quite successful engineers at Google.

    Still, with all the democracy, when all points of view are equal, some points of view here are all the same "equal." If I start saying that same-sex marriage is unnatural ( I don't care ), that the American people made a mistake by choosing Obama ( it is possible ) that women are actually less adapted to the position of manager than men ( probably not ), and that every embryo has the right to life from the moment of conception and abortion should be prohibited (probably not ) - I think that at least I will get the fame of a strange person with looks from the Stone Age.

    Therefore, if I really thought so, it would be unreasonable to spread it . Freedom of speech, cho.


    This is a typical daily traffic jam:

    I really feel sorry for those who live in San Francisco and get daily to work on Google and then back. I lived like this, and in order not to get into severe traffic jams, I had to go to work at the latest at 6.45 in the morning. And from work the earliest at 7 pm. An alternative was to go 1.5-2 hours one way.

    Now I live closer to my work, but I still regularly got stuck in traffic jams. Even leaving home at 7.30 in the morning. In the end, I switched to a bicycle, at least for the summer. Yes, go longer, but guaranteed no traffic jams. And the views are much better.

    In any case, the people here all go and go and go. And literally a few are leaving. And the infrastructure at all already ceases to be a bit lacking.

    Social ladder

    Once upon a time I read an article that seemed very sweet to me. Some product director in a good company was crying that he wanted to get on the school board at his daughter's school. And that his annual salary is 500 thousand dollars. And that he was refused, and all this because the board is all at least vice-presidents and CEOs, and they earn at least a million dollars a year.

    True or not true - I do not know. But for those for whom the title, prestige, level in society are important - in the valley of high positions it is quite difficult to achieve. Around you there will always be a bunch of people who will earn an order of magnitude more than you, have success and a position in society is much better than yours. And almost all your friends will know such people personally, so you won’t hit anyone with the phrase “I earn $ 500,000 a year.” However, most likely you will earn at times less.

    You earn $ 100,000 a year, or $ 1,000,000 - it doesn’t matter. If you are not Larry or Sergey, you will never feel at the top of the social ladder, or even close to it.

    Bubble again?

    I constantly read news that says something like, “Silicon Valley is one big bubble. Soon it will burst, and everyone in the valley will be very, very bad. ” I think that this news has been appearing with enviable regularity for a couple of decades, and if they annoy me sometimes, it’s not very much. Even very slightly.

    But if I had to make a decision - whether to buy real estate here for $ 1 million (an average house), then I would need a lot more nerves. Or if I already had such a property. What if the bubble really is? And tomorrow it will burst and cover my millionth real estate with a copper basin.

    Yes, surely some of those who have expensive real estate here and 30-year mortgages for fabulous sums sometimes sleep poorly at night, and try not to read the news much, especially about the bubbles.

    Well, where we do not

    In the valley it is very difficult to get rid of the feeling “Or maybe I am missing something in my life?” Startups here grow like mushrooms, sometimes some of them are even sold for 16 billion to large companies , while others get hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for some kind of garbage.

    Many of those who work in large and stable companies read this news and think: “can he give up everything and go to startup?”. But usually they don’t go anywhere, because you have to pay children for kindergarten, save up for Stanford, pay outrageous mortgages. And in startups, salaries are usually not the same anyway. But the level of happiness from the current work, these constant "maybe" lower significantly, I think.

    On the other hand, those who sit in startups - often not the first ones, just the previous ones went bankrupt - are sleeping and see how they will work for a large solid company and finally buy themselves a normal house. But, on the other hand, they are being held "maybe this startup will still shoot?", And it is very difficult to give up the prospect of cranes in the sky for the tit in hand. Which, however, does not negate the constant doubts - what, maybe, throw these roller coasters nafig, and go to work in a normal company?

    In general, the people here live in the feeling that they are probably missing something in life. And no matter how great the situation is, there are always lots of examples around where the situation is even better. This makes it difficult to enjoy life.

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