Silicon Valley is where D.C. Political Veterans go to Start Fresh
Veterans of political campaigns and White House administrations are increasingly heading to the west coast because of the opportunity to put their political skills to use in the technology industry. Normally, political veterans would turn their resumes and connections into jobs such as lobbyists, advisers, or nonprofit leaders. The Silicon Valley is the place where members of different political parties, who might have fought each other on opposing campaigns, come together to accomplish shared goals. Political veterans are thriving in the Silicon Valley because the skills that they developed in politics are now in critical demand in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Matt David, the head of marketing and communications for the dating app Tinder, states:
In a lot of ways, a campaign is a lot like a start-up: You have to build it very fast, and be prepared to spend millions of dollars to persuade people your candidate is right. You’re forced to read the news cycle every night when you go to bed, you know whether you won or lost that day — that type of training translates really well to tech.
Those that have moved from politics to the tech industry argue that their work is driven more by the ability to make societal change, in a way that was no longer possible in government, than by the large amount of money they are making. The migration from politics to the tech industry has been ongoing for several years, but it has increased in recent months because of the election results in November. For example, some Democrats who expected to be working for the Hillary Clinton administration needed to find jobs after her unexpected loss and some Republicans who opted not to work under the Trump administration also need to find jobs. Political veterans flocking to the Silicon Valley seems like a strange move, but with the large salaries, generous benefits, and warm weather that the Silicon Valley offers, who wouldn’t want to move there to get a fresh start in the job market.