If your solution is to shuttle employees to the main office on a supertechnotrain, you're doing it wrong.

It seems like there is something missing from this Medium post about Silicon Valley startups shipping low-paying customer service jobs off to “remote” locations.

The techno-utopian idea of this sort of thing is that, because Lyft, Salesforce, and their ilk are technology companies, their people should be able to work from anywhere. In theory, everyone wins: these companies get access to a much broader pool of people to hire, people in places like Nashville and Phoenix get access to careers opportunities they would not otherwise have had, and the whole thing offers a potential way out of the ridiculous hot-house of the San Francisco tech scene.

Dollars to donuts, though, that’s now how it actually work out. These guys will identify what they consider to be the most expendable employees of the company and ship those jobs off to remote locations, and despite the fact that the Internet gives them the opportunity to keep people who work anywhere just as integrated as people who work in a central office, they will cut them off from the heart of the company, where the decisions are made.

Just look at this bit from the post:

At the LAUNCH conference in San Francisco earlier this month, venture capitalist Jason Calacanis brought up Yelp’s customer service controversy while interviewing a creator and investor with Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s 700 mph pneumatic tube of transit. He asked whether someday the Hyperloop could shuttle workers from Phoenix to Yelp headquarters in San Francisco, turning other states into Silicon Valley bedroom villages. “Are we going to build a Hyperloop to nowhere, then nowhere becomes somewhere?”

Investor Shervin Pishewar rolled with the idea: “You could take land in upstate New York and build a new New York and transport people back and forth. The car century is coming to any end.”

This is the mindset here–spend billions of dollars on a utopian fantasy, an extreme version of the Google bus, rather than take the relatively simple steps of making sure people who aren’t in the office with the cool kids are part of the company as well.

Show Comments