Goodbye Silicon Valley, hello global labor force?

Woman working from home with coffee and laptop, cut out against a bright orange TechTent brand background

Woman working from home with coffee and laptop, cut out against a bright orange TechTent brand background

As the coronavirus blockade begins to ease in some parts of the world, debate about the future of work is intensifying.

In Silicon Valley, some tech companies are rethinking about abandoning their offices and allowing everyone to work from home.

But at Tech Tent this week, we’ll meet a tech entrepreneur who believes his staff can work from anywhere after the office is over.

Podcasts are now available

Podcasts are now available

Phil Libin is a serial entrepreneur who until recently couldn’t imagine working outside of Silicon Valley. As CEO of the note-taking app Evernote, he wasn’t a fan of working from home. In fact, he banned video conferencing in the company and believed that people needed to be in the room to make the right contributions.

But now he moves to Arkansas, His latest venture is mmhmm, A video presentation tool designed to enliven these endless calls in Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

In addition, he told employees what he described as a “decentralized” company, saying there would never be an office for them to attend.

He tells TechTent that there are many superpowers in this type of business, the main of which is the end of the commute. He asks us to imagine what would happen if we called a meeting to change that remote work system.

“We try new things. I need each of you to sit in the traffic for two hours every day,” he says.

“Yes, it’s not productive, you can’t work, you’re not spending time with your family. And yes, it’s bad for the environment. And it’s stressful and unhealthy. But you I know, I’ll just need everyone to go ahead and do it. “

He says the company’s board of directors will fire him on the spot.

One global wage

Another example he gave is that anyone can be hired anywhere in the world. This makes it easy to solve the long-standing problem of finding talented people.

I will never write a job description that says “I’m looking for a machine learning engineer in San Francisco” or “I’m looking for a graphic designer in Tokyo”. Currently, 100% of job listings are written as global. I will explain.

As it has worrisome implications for the wider American workforce, which certainly looks expensive compared to Silicon Valley as a base for tech companies and skilled staff employed in countries such as India. It seems.

But when asked about this, Ribin has a surprising answer. Take care of your productivity. “

Currently, his company has only a uniform salary policy across the United States-engineers are paid the same whether they live in San Francisco or Kansas City-but he plans to be world-class. Claim to have the same salary in.

It’s hard to imagine shareholders of a large company approving a policy of effectively spending money on workers who accept far less, but perhaps Ribin is ahead of the curve.

He acknowledges that many Silicon Valley companies may have different views on the future of their work. “The only thing we know is that there will be big changes in the world,” he says.

Last year we showed how quickly our work life can adapt to new situations when we have access to high-speed connections and advanced digital tools.

Employers who require workers to go back to the old way may find that they are facing a rebellion.