Something is stirring in Silicon Valley again. I drive around and still see a lot of empty commercial lots in the industrial area where I work. Even still, larger new buildings are being built around me. Even weirder, the lunch crowd is becoming larger. I've been noticing this slow change over the past 6 months or so. Where lines at the local Togos and Subway used to be easy to get through, they are now extending well out the shop door. More people are starting to work in the area. The job market looks like it's starting to pick up.
The old days of semi-conductor giants springing up over night are gone. The new industries of the valley are Biotech and Solar. Solar is starting to take off so fast that a new nickname for the valley might end up being Solar Valley. Biotech is growing rapidly too. It's contribution is a little more dispersed thoughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Either way, you cannot throw a rock without hitting someone that is currently working in either of those fields.
Another thing I've noticed is that the Ward Cleavers are back. These are the slightly older guys that wear slacks and shirts that make them look like they just stepped out of a Leave It To Beaver episode. I guess they think they are dressing up. Or maybe their wives are picking out their clothes thinking that the old rules from the 50's still apply. Either way, they are filling the lunch lines with their open discussions of confidential information about their new jobs.
Late last year, I overhead this one group of younger guys. They were not the Ward Cleavers, but they were dressed up a bit in the way that younger guys dress up (all name brand clothes, but not well coordinated). Anyway, they were going into very exact detail about the technology of their start-up Biotech company. Let's just say I understood what they were talking about. I heard so much that the only piece of information I needed to make the information useful would've been their company name. I tried and failed to catch a glimpse of their door badges. I think they figured out I was eavesdropping at that point, so they smartened up. They really shouldn't have been talking about the proprietary matters in line at a sandwich shop in the first place.
The lull in the crowds and traffic was nice while it lasted. It looks like we have another boom cycle getting ready to take off and soon as the economy turns more favorable.