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Silicon Valley's Youth Problem 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-many-people-want-to-be-a-rock-star dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times has an article about the strange cultural rift around tech innovation in Silicon Valley. The companies getting all the press are the ones developing shiny new apps and attempting to reinvent their industry. This attention — and all the money that follows it — is drawing in many young, talented engineers. The result is that getting people to develop needed and useful existing technologies is a harder sell. 'For better or worse, these are the kinds of companies that seem to be winning the recruiting race, and if the traditional lament at Ivy League schools has been that the best talent goes to Wall Street, a newer one is taking shape: Why do these smart, quantitatively trained engineers, who could help cure cancer or fix healthcare.gov, want to work for a sexting app?' This is more evidence that the tech bubble is continuing to inflate: '[I]n the last 10 years in particular, there has been an exacerbation of the qualities for which it's been both feted and mocked: Valuations are absurdly high for companies with no revenue. The founders are younger; the pace is faster.'"
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Silicon Valley's Youth Problem

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  • Obviously.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DigitAl56K (805623) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @04:26PM (#46467971)

    Why do these smart, quantitatively trained engineers, who could help cure cancer or fix healthcare.gov, want to work for a sexting app?

    Because as an employee in America, your CEO makes on average over 273x your pay, whereas if you join a startup early enough you stand a chance of actually benefiting from your companies success.

    Next stupid question?

  • research pay sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @04:42PM (#46468141)
    " who could help cure cancer " BWHAAHAAHHA. I work in academia/research. The pay, compared to industry, is garbage. Pretty decent educational benefits, great paid time off...but the money coming in the door is, as I said, garbage.
  • by Jmstuckman (561420) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @05:06PM (#46468377) Journal

    "who could help cure cancer"

    PhDs in the life sciences are more likely to be unemployed than employed [theatlantic.com] at the time of graduation, and the trend is only getting worse

    Why would a medical research lab hire some random coder to cure cancer, when PhDs in biology can't even find jobs?

  • Re:Obviously.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @05:39PM (#46468743)

    The font end, maybe. See, we allow the states to control our insurance. Healthcare.gov not only has to create it's own database, but has to integrate into 5 health insurance companies for every state. Each state has different regulations, and since it's such a hot topic, law makers change those regulations on at least an annual basis. It also has to be able to handle the initial blast of customers. It also needs to be highly secure, because you are dealing with health data, which is covered under HIPAA and HITECH, which are very stringent.

    Any jackass can create HTML, the trick is the back end. Keep flattering yourself.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @05:40PM (#46468759) Homepage

    I knocked around "10 person" class startups for a while, coming in as the "chief software officer" or whatever they wanted to call me, and the position usually rated 0.5% of the current stock pool, vesting over a 3-5 year horizon - this was what they offered as incentive to get/keep me, not what I asked for, though I did have one outfit offer me "shares" verbally, then put "options" on the paper offer - I protested that one, and, incidentally, that one is the only one that has turned into cash for me over time, not much cash, but if those were options instead of shares, it would have been zero.

    Now, if you think that 0.5% stays 0.5% after round D investment brings another $20M to the table, you obviously haven't done this before.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @06:53PM (#46469277)

    You realize that the correct word for what you describe here is ... 'pyramid scheme.'

    You do realize you have no clue what a pyramid scheme [wikipedia.org] is, right?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @09:58PM (#46470315) Journal
    I don't think that's the problem, the problem is the 'established' companies aren't paying enough.

    I spent the last few months looking for a new job in Silicon Valley. What I found was startups are paying roughly as much as established companies, but the startups also give stock. For a programmer right now, it's not even a hard choice which to choose (of course, there are exceptions, like salesforce.com and Google.com that still pay well or give stock, even though they are established).

    Seriously, why would you take a lousy job building internal C# software when you can work for a startup and get paid the same or more?

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