Bay Area exodus continues into 2021; Drone deliveries will soon take to the skies; Google completes purchase of Fitbit; and more

1 important thing: Bay Area exodus continues into 2021

The home to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the Bay Area has long been seen as the pinnacle of tech success. Google, Apple, and Facebook are there, as are hundreds of thousands of workers who tend to jobs in a region that contains the highest concentration of tech positions in the U.S.

But for all its appeal, Bay Area workers have experienced an influx of challenges over the years including long commutes, rising rent, and high taxes.

“If you lived in San Francisco, you might have commuted an hour south to your job at Apple or Google or Facebook,” notes The New York Times. “Or if your office was in the city, maybe it was in a neighborhood with too much street crime, open drug use and $5 coffees.”

As a result, many workers are fleeing to other cities in the hopes of a more livable and sustainable life. Remote work has played a large part in what’s driving Bay Area tech workers to relocate to other areas of the country. Since the start of the pandemic, an increasing number of workers have had the option to work remotely long term.

Destination, Austin? As a city with a population of one million, Austin has a growing tech scene and an increasing number of former Bay Area residents. Apple is opening a new campus in the city and “Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook have all either expanded their footprints in Austin or have plans to,” notes the Times. “Elon Musk, the Tesla founder and one of the two richest men in the world, said he had moved to Texas.”

In addition to Austin, popular cities for former Bay Area residents include Atlanta, Miami, Chattanooga, and Savannah, among others. A large appeal of these cities lies in the lower cost of housing.

Transplants from the Bay Area who arrive in Austin and other U.S. cities are often able to purchase homes for around the price as their former Bay Area apartments.

Sahin Boydas, a start-up founder moved is family to Austin, and for the same price of their former San Francisco apartment, they where able to buy a five-bedroom home.

“We’re going to get a cat and a dog,” Boydas told the Times. “We could never do that before.”

What this means

  • While many are making the choice to relocate, the Bay Area remains the dominate tech epicenter and will likely retain that position. While tech workers disperse in an era or remote work (which I believe will stay with us), Silicon Valley and San Francisco continue to have the highest number of tech workers. And, as a result of relocations out of the Bay Area, the region’s housing costs are beginning to fall as demand subsides. This makes it more appealing to those who desire to live and work in the Bay Area. In a nutshell, we’re likely going to see large tech hubs spread across the nation, with the Bay Area being the largest.

📦 Drone deliveries will soon take to the skies

With the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) having recently release its long-awaited set of guidelines that will allow companies to make drone deliveries, cities are now preparing for low flying drones to take to the skies.

The FAA’s rules address security concerns around drone deliveries by creating guidelines that require Remote IDs, which will be akin to license plates on cars.

“The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” says FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”

Companies preparing for drone delivers

  • UPS received first government approval to operate drones in 2019

  • Amazon may begin testing drone flights following federal approval

  • Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has received U.S. air carrier certification

  • And Walmart is planning a pilot project for grocery and household product delivers

What this means

  • What once seemed like a futuristic technology is now at hand. Get ready to see and hear drones flying overhead as you walk down the street.

What’s trending today

⬆️ Samsung announces new tech including Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, Galaxy Buds Pro, and SmartTag tracker.

Good to know

  • 👎 How Facebook Incubated the Insurrection (NY Times)

  • ⏳ Big Tech scrambles to prevent inauguration threats (Axios)

  • 💬 Millions Flock to Telegram and Signal as Fears Grow Over Big Tech (NY Times)

  • 👟 Google completes purchase of Fitbit (The Verge)

I’ll leave you with this quote

  • The whole world now seems to understand that Facebook is not building apps for them, Facebook is building apps for their data,” Moxie Marlinspike, the founder and chief executive of Signal, tells The New York Times.