Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Population Shift Coming? You Betya

It was almost 13 years ago when I moved my first Internet-based company, (SBC Computer and Components) from the NY suburbs of Long Island to Milford, PA, a small historic village in far Northeastern Pennsylvania.

One of several motivating reasons was the cost of doing business was less than one third of what it was in NY.

Culture shock? ... you bet.  MUCH bigger bottom line.  Absolutely.

So here's a hypothetical scenario for you 'economic trend predictor types'. 

Pennsylvania is ALREADY exploring new gas leases through almost half the state.  The state already has at least one wind farm and a clean coal plant.

In the small cities and even smaller villages near universities, there's a host of young and experienced IT and Internet design talent.

Pennsylvania is being used as an example.
There are numerous other states where the cost of living is dramatically lower than the 'tech power centers'.

If it costs a company 50% less to do business (and they can buy up houses for their employees at fire sale prices), could we see a shift of some operations from the cities?

While I'm sure 'the Valley', Seattle, New York, and Boston will retain their tech status, there's something moving forward, that could be actually demanded by stock holders at some point.

8 or 9 years ago (before gas prices spiked) there was a huge move by people (not just in eastern PA but throughout the country) into the rural suburbs. Urban sprawl was well underway. 

It was controversial in many places as 'green' tracts of land were gobbled up for new homes at an alarming pace.  Cities, towns, villages, and counties banded together quickly to buy up as much green space as they could, as, 'they just kept coming'. 

That trend slowed when the cost of fuel skyrocketed.

We moved our primary residence further west for a number of reasons but mainly because we had gotten used used to the 'quiet' and unique quality of life, and broadband had finally made it's way into most of rural America.  So why not?

No rocket science here.  If the 'downturn' continues, will auto companies (domestic and foreign), tech companies, and other industries begin to eye 'the countryside' when this time, there might be a welcome sign ?

As someone famous recently said ... "You betya".

edited Oct 21 PM cba