Yesterday afternoon, a devastating fire hit the new Santana Row shopping/residential complex in San Jose. Lots of questions on my mind this morning — beyond how did it start. Unfortunately, San Jose and Santa Clara County don’t need any of the additional economic impact that will result from this disaster. Jobs lost (hundreds of construction workers will presumably be furloughed while the project is re-assessed — although some of them will probably be put to work doing demolition). New retail stores that won’t open, won’t hire workers, and won’t pay taxes. New apartments that won’t get leased, etc.
In Sunday’s Mercury News, Michael Malone commented on the situation in Silicon Valley today:
Last summer, I predicted that the current valley recession would last until autumn 2002. I based that prediction on logic and experience, and then proceeded to ignore everything I wrote. By December of last year, I was ready to get rolling again, cover the hot new companies, meet the next generation of entrepreneurs, and spin the wheel one more time. By February, I was walking around the house in my bathrobe, muttering about retirement and the joys of Oklahoma farm life. I only had to look around at the bored professionals killing time at my local Starbucks to appreciate that I wasn’t alone.
Malone, editor at large of Forbes ASAP, goes on to suggest that a Google IPO might be just the ticket to reawaken the Valley and inspire new confidence. He says, “Pray for Google. Pray for us all.”