Omead Afshar shared a stunning photo of Giga Texas yesterday in which you can see its skeleton coming into shape. The building’s ongoing construction is set against the rolling expanse, under a seemingly endless sky. A couple of weeks ago, we reported about the double tees going up, and how Tesla could impact the trends of Austin’s housing markets.
Saw a video of them lifting five steel beams into place at a time. I can’t even do that with my Lincoln Logs. pic.twitter.com/ynwd6AXRcm
— Mac Hoskins (@SwingTraderMac) December 20, 2020
As Giga Texas continues coming to life, another thought has arisen. Dice posed the question as to whether or not Texas could replace Silicon Valley as the country’s top tech hub. With Elon Musk making Texas his new residence — his official residence, not Tesla’s headquarters (for now) — and with Oracle actually moving its headquarters to Austin, many are probably wondering as well. Austin has long been a great tech center, and it’s been growing in prominence.
The article noted that Texas is already home to several well known tech companies, such as Dell and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). CNN called Austin “Silicon Hills,” and pointed out that according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, several companies (39 in total as of November) had relocated their headquarters to Austin.
Tesla Giga Texas this morning 🤩
1. What is that interesting hole in the roof?
2. Are the two nearest horizontal beams misaligned?
3.Timeframe for Cybertruck? pic.twitter.com/uqfcdrcpTA
— Gail-Texas-DOGE (@gailalfa1) December 20, 2020
Laura Huffman, President and CEO of the Austin Chamber, told CNN, “We talk about ourselves as the Human Capital.” She added that the city’s diverse and highly educated population is one reason that many companies are relocating, while noting that 47% of the city’s working population has a bachelor’s degree. “I also would not underestimate the importance of quality of life,” she said. “There are a lot of things about this community — it’s got a great local flavor, a great music scene, it’s an outdoors city. That’s where people want to be. I think 2020 has taught us all that we have more choice when it comes to where we live.”
CNN listed several companies that are leaving or have left the Bay Area for Texas just this year. They are:
- Hewlett-Packard Oracle
- DZS Inc.
- Questions Pro
- Elon Musk — although Elon is a person, not an actual company, but he does joke that he’s a business magnet.
- Drew Houston — again, a person, not a company, but he’s listed because he’s the CEO of Dropbox CEO.
I can see where it gets confusing when a CEO moving to a new city results in media outlets assuming or at least insinuating that the companies they run moved also. In the case of Tesla, it is building its newest gigafactory in Tesla, but I’ve noticed that some outlets have stated that Tesla relocated there (as in, Tesla’s HQ) — later correcting that once the error was publicly noted.
From a writer’s perspective, it would make for a great story to share — if it was 100% true. As of right now, Tesla hasn’t relocated to Texas even though CEO Elon Musk did, and saying otherwise is, in my personal opinion, not right. I firmly believe that not all great stories have to be twisted with just some kernel of truth embedded. The truth is sometimes not a click generator, and although clicks matter, so do honesty, integrity, and truthfulness.
Forbes pointed out that it wasn’t just tech companies leaving California. New York is also seeing businesses moving out, including big banks. In both places — New York and California — the areas have reputations for some of the highest costs of living in the nation as well as high tax rates.
Charles Gasparino wrote in an article for the New York Post that Jamie Dimon would very likely relocate chunks of JP Morgan Chase away from New York City. His piece noted the fact that Dimon wanted to find a better way to store the company’s computer servers several years back, which were on a floor in the bank’s most expensive real estate, and did so. “I can’t tell you where JPMorgan eventually put those servers other than to say they aren’t located in the Big Apple anymore. And the same will soon be said of many other banks and financial businesses now seeking to move out of the once-friendly confines of New York City, which isn’t so friendly anymore,” Gasparino wrote.
Whether or not JP Morgan chooses Texas or another state for that project isn’t known. What is known is that companies are deciding that the high expenses of California and New York are no longer as glamorous — especially in light of the pandemic. In my opinion, that expense was never glamorous. I know people who are literally living on the streets of Los Angeles and New York while working full time — if working full time isn’t enough to pay basic living expenses, then we have a serious problem. This is one I faced while living in Atlanta and was also sleeping in parks around the city.
It’s great that companies are moving to Texas and bringing jobs into the South, but we do need to keep in mind the impacts of these decisions, and when we can do so, I also do think we should support our local charities that help those in need.