There is nothing America likes more than a comeback story. From sports to politics to business, we simply can’t get enough of the same plot line. This reasoning holds especially true for the coveted tech industry. From the bubble pop through the rise of Google the Great, tech hubs like the Bay Area have been churning out business dramas since Fairchild semi conductors. Given the sweeping effects of the recent recession, it seems only fitting that American technology firms are pumping their fist and editing together their best montage scenes to prepare for 2011. Battered but not beaten, let us all turn our eyes to the west for tales of redemption and success. The tech industry is back on its feet and ready to take on the next challenge.
The recession hosted a period of financial turmoil rivaled only by the crash of the great depression. Financial markets froze up and financing disappeared. Venture capital firms who already tolerated an exceptionally high level of risk in the best of times were forced to clamp down and wait out the storm. The evaporation of the venture and angel investor markets killed many startups before they could leave the crib. Business concepts that may have held promise were left on the shelf.
Even established tech players began to reevaluate their business models. The giants of the industry focused in on their cash cows and spent fewer resources on extraneous projects. Despite some high profile developments in areas such as smart phone technology, innovation as a whole was temporarily smothered by the need to mitigate risk. The tech industry took a hit in the one place they excelled the most, big ideas. Akin to a well placed body shot to the liver, technology companies across the board were forced to take a knee.
As with most cyclical events, the deepest darkness comes just before the dawn. Eventually the economic situation began to turn. With the housing market in the gutter, and the manufacturing sector in shambles, the technology industry remained with enough resilience to carry the sword. The turnaround of the tech industry has been marked by blazing success stories and money conscious innovations. Companies like Facebook led the charge with unprecedented global growth and a high flying Hollywood biopic. Other phoenix like concepts rose from the ashes to extend value to consumers with lighter wallets. Groupon, the social coupon site, combined consumer volume with highly discounted coupons to revitalize the age old coupon market.
Beyond the standout companies, smaller to medium size startups began to find increasing traction in the reviving market. The horse’s mouth is the best place to get the facts and in the tech market hiring is a direct indicator of overall industry health. In a recent interview with a San Francisco recruiter, the comeback story gained fidelity. Across the board, small to medium sized startups are back on the hiring wagon. Technical candidates are now seeing multiple, competing offers come their way before the take the plunge. The recruiting firms themselves, recently living a state of near hibernation, have been forced to bring on fresh recruiters to meet the new demand. Tech hiring is experiencing a bull market.
The tech industry is back on its feet and back to what it does best, innovation. With the globalized market increasing competition, innovation is a last true bastion of competitive prowess. No one innovates better that the American tech industry. From web 2.0 to search engines to smart phones, American tech players still retain an innovative stronghold in the global marketplace. For the sake of the economy let’s hope that innovation continues to boil over to manufacturing sectors like the auto industry so we can all get back to our feet and forget the dark days of the downturn.