In Bust Times, Schmooze


A friend of mine worked at a productive technology company that was private. When sales slumped in a recession, the owner turned technical personnel on to creating future products,  and turned them to servicing products when the economy was strong. The company became public and the cycle of stability was reversed: laying off people in slumps and hiring people in booms.

If the investment community had more stomach for the power of preparing and the 3-year timeline of development, we might do networking and have more meetings in bust times. We could talk less about the plight of the moment and more about the future in these times; or maybe we do.

Stability for Silicon Valley should be wrapped up in people being available for new projects, people learning deeply about new opportunities, and people taking time to regenerate their tool sets. The lectures, demos and schmoozes are central.

[Editor’s Note: This commentary is part of a series in response to a question we’ve posed to technology leaders: “What three things can San Francisco and Silicon Valley companies, entrepreneurs, and VCs do to foster a more stable environment for innovation in IT, life sciences, and energy, and become less wedded to cycles of boom and bust?”]

Dr. Ted Selker is Associate Director of mobility research at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley and a visiting scholar at Stanford computer science department. Follow @

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