This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 10, 2000

Location, Location, Location

79 Days until January 1, 2001

Most realtors selling residential or commercial property will tell you that the three most important factors are location, location, and location. With all the choices available today, people are making more conscious and careful decisions about where they will live, work, and play. Some folks choose to live close to work or work close to where they live. With expendable income, some people choose to play far from where they work or live.

Employers have chosen to locate to gain proximity to the workers they need. As industries grow, more employers seeking the same kinds of employees migrate to where the pioneers went, hoping to lure their employees away. There are numerous examples of these trends, notably the "Silicon Valley" area south of San Francisco. As more people move in, the costs of housing increase under the competitive pressure around supply and demand.

The situation can turn ugly, as it has in Silicon Valley. Housing is unbearably expensive. Those prized high tech jobs in hard-driving companies that expect you to work long hours are not as attractive anymore. The location attraction diminishes, even backfires. People with talent, the ability to move to apply their skills elsewhere, begin to look elsewhere. Other cities scramble to bring in the kinds of employers that will attract highly-paid professionals to do work that won't pollute the environment. Look at Northern Virginia, Austin, and Curitiba in Brazil.

People move where they can find jobs-and many can easily telecommute these days-and other advantages that lure them to new locations. Most employees at the new operations of Egghead Software will live in Vancouver, Washington. A large factor in the move is the appeal of the new locale. "Not only are housing costs lower, especially compared with Silicon Valley, but Vancouver is in a great location on the border of Washington and Oregon. There is no state income tax in Washington, and there is no sales tax in Oregon. People live in Washington and cross the bridge to shop in Oregon. It is a good area to recruit and retain people," observes a company official.

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