We recently released our tenth annual CEO Business Climate Survey – completed by 177 Silicon Valley CEOs and senior officers, who drive the earth’s innovation economy.
The message was clear – celebrate our strengths, while also acknowledging and addressing our weaknesses.
First, our strengths, which I call the “six “t’s” of Silicon Valley’s secret sauce:
* Access to skilled labor – talent
* Entrepreneurial mindset – temperament
* Proximity to customers and competitors – territory
* World class universities – training
* Access to venture capital – treasure
* The climate and weather – temperature
Second, our weaknesses:
* High housing costs
* High personal income tax rates for our workers and families
* Business regulations – especially the misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act
* Traffic congestion
The full survey results are available on our web site at svlg.org. Let’s make time to make a difference.
Silicon Valley hopes to hear these issues addressed in tonight’s State of the Union address:
- Immigration reform; passage of a comprehensive plan that includes high skilled workers with bi-partisan, bicameral support.
- Comprehensive tax reform; ensuring U.S. companies, domestic and international, can successfully compete and create jobs.
- Education reform; so that kids born in America are equipped with the knowledge to compete with kids educated around the world.
- Cybersecurity; that addresses the safety of America and the economic strengths of American companies
- Infrastructure; investments to rebuild America’s transportation, energy and water systems to keep Americans and America’s economy moving.
These are the pressing issues facing our nation’s innovation economy today that Silicon Valley hopes to hear from President Obama tonight.
In the span of six days, President Obama and Governor Brown gave their State of the Union and State of the State Addresses.
President Obama said “We must keep the promise of America alive.” I agree.
Governor Brown proclaimed that “California’s best days are in front of us.” No argument here.
But how can Silicon Valley help our State and Nation succeed, and what should we expect from the Governor and the President to grow the Innovation Economy?
In California, job one is jobs. We need an education system that prepares our young people for Innovation Economy jobs. Yes, our unemployment rate hovers around 11 percent, but if you have a college degree in ANY subject, the unemployment rate is 4 percent; with an engineering degree, one percent. A great education for potential workers is key, but a great business climate for those creating jobs is equally key. Regulations that are understandable, streamlined, and cost-effective sends a message that California is open for business. The Governor’s new office of Business Development – Go BIZ – is a welcome step in the right direction.
In America, it’s global competitiveness. We can never forget that 95 percent of the world’s customers are outside our borders. As we educate our students at home, we must also attract the best students from around the globe. After we educate them here, we need to keep them here, rather than forcing them home to compete against us. The President must also realize that competing in the 95 percent of the world outside the U.S. necessitates people, facilities and equipment in those countries in order to compete. Penalizing companies for competing globally hurts American companies and American workers.