So 5000 people all working in Thames water's complaint call centre makes it a competitor for silicon valley?
Wokingham is a town that's not famous for anything in particular. But that could be set to change after it was named the unlikely tech capital of Great Britain. A report by accountancy firm KPMG claimed the mundane town boasts a proportion of tech workers which is five times the national average. The municipality, located a …
Meh its better than giving Steve Bong and co a load of money to piss away on cloning instagram.
The whole Silicon Roundabout really shows how stupid and narrow minded the politico's are about the world outside of London (AKA Here Be Dragons). Lets start a new Silicon Valley, now where to put the funding:
* The F1 belt and its associated tech businesses?
* Wokingham and others
* Somewhere not normally tapped for this sort of thing (Cornwall, Wales?)
Because if there is surely one place in the uk that will never get redeveloped unless there is some incentive it is London, not like the place is super expensive and short of space or anything ( which usually guarantee's some form of private redevelopment)
Since it was a slow afternoon I've downloaded the bean counter's PDF and had a read. They base their definition of a 'tech job' on just five Standard Industry Classifications (SICs), namely
■ Software publishing (SIC 582).
■ Computer programming, consultancy and related activities (SIC 620).
■ Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (SIC 631).
■ Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products (SIC 26).
■ Manufacture of electrical equipment (SIC 27).
I'm fairly sure that this would exclude a lot of the consultancy and R & D outfits in, say, the Cambridge area for a start.
Electronics and computing are just so 20th century anyway - what about biotech?
Back in the late Jurassic, I started my IT career working for a software house on Molly Millars Lane in Wokingham, which had a few tech companies even then. 1983, I think it was.
I had my suspicions at the time that this cluster was mostly due to the number of decent pubs within a short walk of the place, these being the happy, carefree days when the IT industry was mostly pissed a large percentage of the time.
I spent some time working in Wokingham for different s/w houses back in the late 80s and mid 90s. You're right, getting pissed at lunch/morning/afternoon was a necessary feature. The necessity of doing this seemed to disappear about ten years ago. Maybe we all just got older.
Err... Thames Valley Park, Wokingham?
Whoever wrote this report needs a map, I know loads of people who work there, not a single one would describe where they work as Wokingham, it's Reading. The council boundaries may say otherwise, but Wokingham are part of RE3, the three Reading councils group.
.. and some fish. That doesn't make it "fishier" that a larger pond with proportionately fewer fish.
However, following the same statistical misdirection that only accountants would consider valid - OK, maybe lawyers, too - , I nominate my house as a technological hotspot since every worker there is in IT.
Are they sure those figures dont include every tech worker stuck on the motorway during their "counts"?? Some of them may get counted 10-12 times during their slow, unsteady journey to work.
(On the basis the motorway system around London is so slow, several councils are thinking of charging council tax on cars sat in their borough for so long.)
Rest assured that the PHB needed that executive car because it takes at least an hour to get in or out of Wokingham from around 3pm onwards.
Wokingham, also home to Azlan (or whatever they are now) who used to do very fine food on their CNE training courses. Proper ginger pudding with custard!
Physical offices for some types of IT, particularly start-ups, I reckon is diminishing. I suspect more and more developers/entrepreneurs are working from home a great deal, even if their company does have an near empty registered address/office in some town-to-be-seen-in. I wonder if KPMG considered this at all.
Cause and effect: IT moves in, most depressing people housed in the worst architecture, doing the most asinine, boring work, town goes down the plughole as a place to live and worse for pubbing. Well, Slough may have been bad already. Shakespeare was unkind about it and Betjeman pleaded for the Nazis to do something constructive:
Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
and lots more in the same vein.
Wokingham Borough is indeed home to many techies, with the likes of Microsoft and Oracle nearby; but it's not a hub of innovation. Those dinosaurs arrived in the 1980s and 1990s at a time when London was considered a dangerous urban wasteland with poor schools and high crime. Today's dynamic tech companies (Google, Facebook, even the likes of LastMinute.com) choose offices in central London, and their staff seem to prefer London living to the comparative delights of suburban Berkshire.
True, but living in London isn't conducive to raising a family economically with the cost of living premium... so those of us who have settled down and don't mind working for the giants for some guaranteed income and no travel time are quite happy in the 'burbs.
Although the last time I visited Microsoft I felt old at 31, so clearly it's still attracting young talent.
Then there are the likes of me, a techie, who think London is a sinkhole, with rude indifferent people who actually only give a shit about themselves and have no concept of community.
Give me village* life any day
*proper village, not commuter fuck off from Monday - Friday type place .
Have you ever been to Wokingham? You could have chosen any other of the surrounding towns, from Bracknell, to Winnersh, to Reading, to Farnborough, who have a much better gathering of the "tech" companies you try to allude to. There is a big Tesco's, Asda and Waitrose in Wokingham. There is no big tech hub.
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