Why Google should move to Baghdad
New research from Pew suggests that 50 percent of Americans want to move elsewhere. As California is clearly facing ruin, we should be looking for a better home for Google and the Silicon Valley titans.
Regular readers of Technically Incorrect, the Slumdog of CNET, know that we believe that every single piece of research exposes enormous and valuable human truths.
The latest slice of deduction from the huge foreheads of the Pew Research Center--motto: Many are Called, Pew are Chosen--merely increases our faith in research's rectitude.
About 2,260 adults were asked about their lives and almost half declared that they would rather live in paradises such as Orlando, San Diego, and Detroit.
I'm making up the last one, but what seems clear is that there is not a rush of people who are desperate to move to Silicon Valley. The reasons may seem obvious to some of those trapped there against their will. (No, I'm not merely talking about H-1Bs.)
California is going bust. Soon, there will be no money. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Hummers will overheat themselves to death. Refuse will pile up in the streets. Vagrants, accompanied by their pet coyotes, will invade offices and ransack them for their laptops and coffee machines. Tax refunds will float off into the bailed-out ether.
Perhaps the biggest sign that the apocalypse is upon us is that the governor is now suggesting a sales tax on golf.
Then there's the drought. Soon, California will not have enough water for Starbucks to operate. Never mind for our self-indulgent showering and pampering in Calistoga. Any remaining H2O will be as feces-colored as the earth.
So it seems clear we need to evacuate the Valley immediately and find for it the kind of shelter within which our greatest talkers can continue to profit from our greatest minds.
And it seems equally clear that Google should, as usual, take the lead in this forward thinking.
According to the Pew research, both Republicans and Democrats are, indeed, very fond of Denver. "It's a city that ranks high on most of the lists," Rich Morin, senior editor of the Pew Research Center survey told USA Today. "It's a new city, a growing city, a younger city on what most people would perceive as the doorstep of God's country--the Rocky Mountains."
Perhaps one can envisage our technological greats being high up in the mountains, Zeuses of all they survey.
Yet Denver seems a little too small for large brains such as Google's and Yahoo's. Similarly, Seattle, where the sweetness of grunge seems largely expunged. (Then there's the potential for conflict with Microsoft execs in the city's highly restrained restaurants.) And Orlando--could you imagine even one of our finest programmers tolerating a single tourist?
This may, therefore, be the time for radical thinking. Do Google and its Valley peers really have to stay in the U.S.? Might it be an idea to move them somewhere more central to the whole world than America's West Coast? A place where everyone could gravitate as it does to fountains and monuments. You know, like Davos, but with a little more energy and dress sense.
I'm thinking Baghdad.
Here is an area where the infrastructure is being built from the bottom up--although some might suggest it's a little closer to belly up. It would be an opportunity for the Valley to define and supervise its own infrastructure (something Google, for example, has wanted to do for some time), to ask for whatever it needs to make technology the focus of all the world's thinking.
This is a chance to create the tech world's perfect Babel. Yes, you most certainly can have a tower. Just have a chat with that nice man from Halliburton.
And just think of the geographical advantages. Only 1,800 miles or so from, some would argue, technology's new heart--India. And only 565 miles from another technological hotspot--Tel Aviv.
Technology is all about thinking ahead and imagining new worlds. Could there be a better time for Google and Co to imagine a new world for themselves?