back to article Startup offers $10,000 to Silicon Valley techies … who will leave Bay Area

A startup is offering workers a hefty sign-on bonus – if they move out of the San Francisco Bay Area. The CEO of web app automator Zapier, Wade Foster, is offering new hires up to $10,000 in moving and set up costs if they promise to leave Silicon Valley and move to less expensive parts of the country (effectively anywhere but …

  1. Number6

    It's not always possible to work remotely either - some jobs require you to be in the same place as a large or expensive (or both) piece of equipment at least some days of the week. If you're doing stuff that can be done solely on computers then OK, it's going to work. If you need to connect an oscilloscope probe to a PCB or machine a few bits of metal and add them to the prototype then it gets harder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      True but there is not a lot of silicon or anything else being manufactured in the Bay Area any more from what I understand. The land is far too valuable for a new fab (and most of the old ones have closed). Most of silicon in the US is actually made in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas with a smattering in Boise, Oregon, BFE Minnesota if I remember right and upstate NY (places for the most part with cheap land). Anon because my Arizona based company recently bought a company (for the IP) with a fab in the Bay Area, closed it and will make a good amount of money selling the land.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: except

        I'm curious why you think that manufacturing is the only possible use of things like oscilloscopes, or the need to be in the physical presence of some equipment. Contrary to popular opinion, one does not simply write VHDL, push a button, and have a completely debugged board with the new chip magically appear. Also a bit difficult to faithfully emulate a 40Gbps link over Comcast's best offering. My previous employer used a contract manufacturer in the Bay Area (about a 20 minute drive from our design office), but of course had multiple copies of the systems in our own office. When we were acquired, the new owner insisted that we shift to their favored contract manufacturer. Now that 20 minute drive to diagnose issues on the line would be a flight to Malaysia. Alternatively, perhaps they could have allowed a remote desktop session over the factory's dialup internet connection?

        Having a duplicate setup in our offices was vital. It would not have fit in my home office.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: except

          >I'm curious why you think

          I don't. And as you say even with that hyper valuable land you can of course have a test lab. Granted I am biased by the industry I have worked in most of my career but manufacturing is an example that stands out to me where working remote %100 is generally not an option for many jobs (except perhaps for some contract work, that will be supported by others on site). Then again like I say those jobs aren't found in Silicon Valley much any more anyway.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: except

        having the tech gear on hand in your home office, PLUS using FedEx to ship things around [as needed], might be a nice compromise. THAT, and some kind of V.R. system where you can set up informal meetings... (if it can be done for World of Warcraft...)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me cynical

    But my first thought on reading this was oh, so they don't want to pay the prevailing Bay Area wages...

    They could be genuine or they could just be cheap, experience makes me think it's the latter case.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Call me cynical

      That is also probably true, wages that one could live on very nicely in other US cities would not let you rent a closet in the Bay Area. So hiring people who will not be in the priciest areas is a good idea if you can do it. You can still pay a locally high wage with no relocation required to someone and create a win-win for both sides.

      Other than some IT positions, most jobs require one to be partially tethered to a physical location so this not practical for all companies or people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Call me cynical

      My first thought was "so why doesn't *he* move out of the bay area?"

  3. robertcirca

    Outsourcing within the USA

    I think this is a nice idea. It costs more than outsourcing to India or Malaysia. However, you will not have any cultural and language problems.

    Indians speak English. (The following sentence has been deleted by the author and was not censored).

    Companies driven by share holders value will not survive in the long run. Before this will happen, a lot of people making really good money NOW will be POOR before they are 45 years old.

  4. Androgynous Cow Herd

    true motivations...

    The company may prefer workers located in places where they can enforce a non-compete agreement.

    I agree with the AC above - this doesn't sound like a policy driven by anything other than frugality. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: true motivations...

      Or at least somewhere that a competitor across the street isn't going to offer them $20k more over lunch

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: true motivations...

      The company can afford to be frugal with it's wages IF

      1) it still ends up employing the right people for the work it's doing

      2) the employees disposable income is greater than had they been living in the aforementioned Bay Area closet

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: true motivations...

        "the employee's disposable income is greater than had they been living in the aforementioned Bay Area closet"

        this is WAY more significant than may be obvious.

        a) "progressive" income taxation means you might have to DOUBLE someone's salary for him {proper grammar} to get an increase of 25% in actual post-taxation spendable income, more often the case at the high income end than at the low end, for sure.

        b) When you factor the DOUBLED (or worse) living expenses in Silly Valley, it's even MORE outrageous of a difference, for sure.

        In short, the extra cost of telecommuting could easily be offset by happier employees that are more productive, more dedicated, and get "just as much" spendable income at a LOWER COST to the company. It's a TOTAL WIN.

        Why aren't more people doing this? IMPROVE that BOTTOM LINE, accountants, and AUTHORIZE MORE TELECOMMUTING!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, but...

    I'm already here, and my housing is MUCH cheaper than my neighbors. They (the neighbors) had to buy up nicely inflated property and now pay nice high taxes as a result. Their costs are possibly 50% greater than mine for such items. So, if I move away, I can't look back as it will never be the same. The $10k is but a small pittance in the grand scheme of things, and I'll only get it if I stay away for a year.

    Sorry, I'm staying here. Yes, property taxes are due (2nd installment) on the 10th of April, and they are not too bad sue to a nice law (Proposition 13) voted back in the 70's. They would likely double if I bought the house I'm living at what it would sell for. Yes, I'm staying here in sillycon valley, it is where the action is.

    1. s2bu

      Re: Yes, but...

      Property taxes are one thing, but CA's state income tax levels are completely insane. It would be one thing if property and/or sales taxes were lower because of it, but they're not.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Yes, but...

        >but CA's state income tax levels are completely insane...

        No, they're not. They're also deductable from your Federal tax bite. Then you have the California trade-off -- I pay more income tax than many in the Heartland but I don't have anything like the utility bills that they have. I enjoy a climate that's pleasant -- not hot, not cold and rarely humid (so no insect attacks). Its also consistent so I get to enjoy the numerous recreational attractions pretty much when I want to.

        Its expensive in the Bay Area (and Los Angeles) because there's the work. Most of CA has housing and other costs comparable to the bulk of the US.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Yes, but...

          You Americans and your whining about taxes... You pay bugger all. Admittedly you get bugger all for what you pay, but still.

          I pay around 45% of my income in Tax. Does that bother me? Not at all. For that i get good and cheap health care, good roads, good schooling, a nice social safety net (which thankfully I've not needed), and a great amount of Holidays (a bit over 8 weeks a year between public Holidays and my work Holidays).

          If you guys sorted out your insane health care System, and paid a bit extra in tax you too could have these things. But it will never happen, as for some reason you (in the sense of Americans in general, backed up by the fact you, as a Nation, voted for Trump!) seem to feel a social safety net and good schooling are evil, commie ideals to be fought by going for an every man for himself mindset. Every time I read a Tom Clancy novel I cant tell if he's either mocking the American mindset or if he actually believed the bollocks...

          I need Coffee....

          1. Matt Ryan

            Re: Yes, but...

            You're not in the UK then...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes, but...

            > I pay around 45% of my income in Tax. Does that bother me? Not at all. For that i get good and cheap health care, good roads, good schooling, a nice social safety net (which thankfully I've not needed), and a great amount of Holidays (a bit over 8 weeks a year between public Holidays and my work Holidays).

            Nice, but have you ever wondered where the rest of your (and your peers') 45% goes *after* all that which you mention has been paid for?

            Tax systems are notoriously inefficient, and your statement above is analogous to saying "I paid [$£€]94.99 for this icecream cone, but got this nice free biscuit with it and so did my neighbour¹". The icecream is nice and so are the biscuits, but you're still getting ripped off.

            The goals of solidarity and common well-being *are* of course highly desirable, but the choice of execution leaves a lot to be desired.

            ¹ Except close to an election, when the whole street gets "free" icecream.

            1. lglethal Silver badge

              Re: Yes, but...

              "Tax systems are notoriously inefficient"

              Yes because the health care system in the US (being private through and through) is such an outstanding beacon of efficiency and low costs for the public.

              Governments are good at infrastructure. They may not be efficient, but every time infrastructure gets privatised, the costs involved for the public go up and the quality goes down. Doesnt matter if its power, roads, health care or education. The private sectors goals are to deliver as low a quality product as they can get away with and to maximise products by cost savings where possible. In each of the things I mention above that is not desirable.

              I'm happy to pay a bit more tax to a potentially inefficient provider (government) in order to get high quality product in each of those categories. The US health care system is the great big warning light for what happens when you let private industry control a highly important piece of infrastructure.

        2. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

          Re: Yes, but...

          please tell me how to get my CA income tax or any part of it deducted from the Federal income tax?

          Because there isn't anything on any forms Ive ever filled out, nor even playing in TurboTax that gives me ANY break for paying State income tax.

          I DO however get taxed by both the State and the Fed for any *refund* I may have received from both or either.

          And I don't even own property.

          Not rich enough to invest either so at "normal people" income levels, between the Fed and the State I approach near European tax levels. And almost require a SUV simply to commute on roads that are so potholed, rutted and neglected that Ive heard Mexican and other Central American nationals complain. Solar is almost a mandatory thing because the power grid has issues every summer and since there's been no expansion to water retention infrastructure but *thousands* of new housing units authorized and filled over the last couple years, gonna need some sort of Tatooine type moisture harvesters atop apartment buildings to deal with an Eternal Drought(tm). Not sure what exactly the State taxes are going towards. Or the County taxes. Or the sales/purchase taxes...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Telecommuted 3,000+ miles for 4 years

    Only time I saw people in person was when they would fly me in for the xmas party...


  7. martinusher Silver badge

    What's this obsession with Silicon Valley?

    I've worked in California for 30+ years but I've only ever visited the Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Its only a very small part of the overall technology picture of the west coast but somehow its the one that always gets written about by (often overseas) journalists. Currently the Bay Area is overcrowded and seriously overpriced; there's no particular reason to site a business there, especially one that just involves programming rather than needing a significant investment in plant or machinery.

    (I actually like San Francisco, its a beautiful city, but I wouldn't live there for two reasons. One is the weather, its often cold and foggy. The other is that its built literally on top of a, or rather, the biggest fault in California.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suck it up or move...simples!!!

    "the enormous cost of living in the Bay Area means many people in technology companies are stuck sharing small houses for extravagant rent with little disposable income. The same salary in other parts of the country would offer a much higher quality of life."

    Same as London then?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Tech start up wants to move away from California..

    In other news grass is green.

    People moving out of California isnt new news, recently its started being described as a stampede.

    But on the upside other states have had big boosts to their tech centers Texas in particular.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Tech start up wants to move away from California..

      "People moving out of California isnt new news, recently its started being described as a stampede."

      I've been considering Texas for a while, now... still liking the weather in San Diego, paying the "sunshine" tax and dealing with "the !@#$%" coming out of Sacramento. So yeah, it's not "bad enough" quite yet [but close].

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tech start up wants to move away from California..

      "recently its started being described as a stampede." only by (usually right wing) people or media outlets trying to make a political point, California's population is still growing through net positive immigration every year in addition to increases from people born here.

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