Author Topic: Google to Build Company Town  (Read 642 times)

Brad

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Google to Build Company Town
« on: September 04, 2020, 07:32:26 PM »
Bay Area real estate is so high even Google employees are having trouble.  Solution? Google wants to build a corporate town for it's employees.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/09/04/google-has-master-plan-to-build-a-massive-corporate-town-for-its-employees/#6275ed542d78

Mackin USA

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2020, 12:39:26 PM »
Will local government demand "low income housing" in order to gain approvals?
Mr. Mackin

ergophobe

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2020, 07:25:37 PM »
Maybe Google will hire their own teachers, firefighters, police officers, waiters, cashiers, etc because there's no way those people can afford to live there long term at prevailing wages.

Just for kicks, I looked it up - it looks like a police officer in Mountain View starts at about $100,000/year, more with overtime and an average high school teacher makes about $126,000

That's better than I expected and good to see. I remember a lot of stories about police officers and teachers living over a two-hour commute from the communities they serve, which is bad (I believe anyway) for a society. Those salaries are not so far behind what starting software engineers at the big firms get. Of course, apparently those engineers can't afford to live there either, so maybe that's a bad index.

https://joinmvpd.com/police-officer-job-description-salary-and-benefits/
https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2018/school-districts/santa-clara/mountain-view-los-altos-union-high-school-district/job_title_summary/

rcjordan

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2020, 08:05:56 PM »
>Bay Area real estate is so high even

>a police officer in Mountain View starts at about $100,000/year, more with overtime and an average high school teacher makes about $126,000

Hmmm... I think I see part of the problem.

littleman

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2020, 09:06:42 PM »
>$126,000

Not really enough to buy a home in the western half of the Bay Area.  A townhouse can go for $1.4 million.


>"low income housing"

To qualify that would be $117k/year here.  You wouldn't exactly get riffraff in your neighborhood at those numbers.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 09:11:53 PM by littleman »

ergophobe

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2020, 10:33:51 PM »
>> $ 1.4 million

So about 75K in mortgage payment, 15K in taxes and add-ons, and maybe 5,000 for insurance, plus maintenance and utilities. So one entire salary for a teacher goes to housing. And that's assuming that you can pay off your student loans and pay rent while you save up 140K to 280K for your down payment, which is not going to happen.

I just don't see what the end point is for a place where none of the genuinely important jobs pay enough to live there, but if you know how to program dark patterns into a social media site you can write your ticket.

littleman

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2020, 11:13:14 PM »
Well, yeah.  Here's my prediction.  The market here isn't going to fall over the long term, but housing inflation will diminish relative to the rest of the country.  20-30 years from now the Bay Area will be more inline with Southern California.  There isn't really a reason for all the tech to be here anymore and companies will seek cheaper pastures.

ergophobe

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2020, 12:13:24 AM »
I could see that.

I know someone who is 35 and works for a fully-distributed company now, but he continues living in Santa Clara after 10 years for two reasons

 - if this job falls through, he knows it's still the best place to pick up a new software engineering job, especially if you've been there for a while and you now have friends in many companies. He's had three jobs in 10 years and has not had to move.

 - his landlord has not changed rent much over the years, so while his apartment was pricey for him when he moved in, it's not that out of step with what he would pay if he moved to a cheaper city and, with raises, it's a less painful price.

If you have some tenure in the area, you might be doing pretty well even though a new hire coming into the same job that you started in ten years ago would just be gut-punched by the prices. If everyone were in the position of the new hire, squeezed by lower salary and higher rent, the situation would be more dire.

grnidone

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2020, 01:25:54 AM »
Why would they build a new town when Covid has taught companies that most people in tech can work from home?

Instead of putting money into real estate office space, use it for something else....

ergophobe

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Re: Google to Build Company Town
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2020, 04:43:14 AM »
Yahoo!, Best Buy, IBM and many other companies pulled back on their remote work programs. In some cases it's due to poor performance, but in general most studies I've seen show remote workers are more productive.

I think the problem is more on more fundamental issues that most organizations haven't unlocked for remote work: mentorship, teaching, creative collaboration.

I've spent most of my working life working remotely, going back to 1989 when "remote" meant sending stacks of paper and CDs through the mail. I've found that there's more variation to remote work. When you're doing well, you do really well. But it's easy to fall into a rut.

Also, I noticed when I started working outside of my areas of mastery and was trying to learn something really new, not having access to mentors and teachers right at hand made growing my skills much slower. I felt at times that I would fast-track my growth if I had access to a collaborative workspace where I could watch and interact with people who did have mastery. Apprenticeship is really hard to do remotely.