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VentureBeat Blueprint Explores Reno as Tech Hub

More than 200 tech sector CEOs, executives and government leaders flock to Reno for the inaugural VentureBeat Blueprint event.

These tech superstars will examine Reno’s potential at holding the blueprint for emerging technology hubs at this invitation-only, three-day gathering. Their goal is to craft a plan for heartland cities and other areas that feel left behind by the ongoing growth of the industry.

After the 2016 presidential election, VentureBeat noticed an unusual trend with their website. Their traffic dropped by a drastic 20% for about two weeks. Their readers were more interested in knowing what was going on in the nation’s political realm. Along with the drop, Silicon Valley was under a lot of criticism. The west coast tech hub is seen by many as being aloof, insular and out of touch with the rest of America. From this trend and the results of the election, VentureBeat came up with the idea for the Blueprint.

The nation’s heartland feels like it has been left behind and they don’t have the internet skills, training or the venture capital that has been invested in coastal companies. With the ongoing disruptions in today’s new economy paired with the challenges that come with doing business in Silicon Valley, tech companies that ignore middle America, or even smaller cities like Reno, are making a big mistake.

Costs in the Bay Area have always been high, and they continue to sky rocket. Bottom line, it is an expensive place to do business and to live. In 2017, the median 20% down payment in San Jose was equal to the full median price of a home in the entire nation (Zillow). Just in December, San Francisco posted the highest average rent in the United State for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,253. San Jose came in third with $2,397 and Oakland was sixth on the same list.

These costs in the Bay Area just make Reno seem even more appealing, especially due to its close proximity to Silicon Valley. The cost to hire employees in Silicon Valley is also high and has business considering hiring outside of the area. Paying the Bay Area premium for staff wages is becoming more and more unsustainable. In most other places, $100,000 would be seen as a nice annual salary. That income is not even enough when taking into consideration the high cost of living in the Bay. Let’s not forget about the area’s “mercenary culture”, the high turnover rate for employees because they hop from one company to another.

Reno is the perfect place for VentureBeat to kick off its event from March 5 to the 7. The Biggest Little City has made an impressive comeback after what some have described to be the worst recession in history. This makes Reno a beacon of success for communities that might be feeling left behind by ongoing tech expansion. The city also shares many of its values with the heartland communities, with less emphasis on the cutthroat, mercenary culture that pervades larger cities.

See the full list of attendees on the Venture Beat website.

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