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March 08, 2022

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Situational awareness: Google has agreed to buy Mandiant, a Reston, Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, for $5.4 billion.

Today's newsletter is 1,153 words, a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: The new tech hubs

Data: Brookings Institution and U.S. Census; Note: Metro areas with fewer than 1,000 tech workers in 2020 were excluded; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

A handful of fast-growing cities, including Miami, Orlando and San Diego, are claiming a bigger and bigger slice of America's tech workforce, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill and Erica Pandey report.

Why it matters: The rise of remote work has provided an opportunity for new cities to lure tech talent from coastal hubs, chipping away at established tech hubs' dominance.

Driving the news: Two new data sets — a report from the Brookings Institution and LinkedIn data tracking tech-worker migration — paint a similar picture: Tech jobs flocked to a handful of new hubs, many of them in the Sun Belt, during the pandemic.

  • Miami was among the biggest winners: It saw a 30% increase in the net flow of workers in the software and IT sector who moved into the region in 2021, up from a 15% gain in 2020, according to LinkedIn.
  • Seven of the 10 fastest growing cities for tech worker inflows in 2021 were Sun Belt cities, including San Antonio, San Diego, Orlando and Jacksonville.

What they're saying: "This does likely owe to remote work," said Brookings' Mark Muro, a co-author of the report. "We don't see a wholesale end of the superstar period of tech centers, but we see a significant uptick in places that are actually growing faster."

Reality check: The big tech hubs — particularly the Bay Area, New York and Seattle — continue to hold the bulk of the jobs. And as tech companies invest in new offices and call workers back, the jobs that moved out of the superstar cities could come back.

  • "The question is are we looking at a disruption of the tech map or is this a temporary trend due to a crisis," Muro says.
  • New York has fared especially well: Its tech sector grew more during 2020 than in the years just before the pandemic, according to Brookings, and LinkedIn data show that boom continuing.
  • "We've seen that as things have started to subside and vaccinations increase, we're seeing people flow back into New York," LinkedIn senior data scientist Brian Xu told Axios, noting that New York was on the rise for all worker migration, not just tech. "I think a lot of workers are just coming back."

Between the lines: Texas and Florida, which are home to several of the cities luring tech workers, don't have state income tax and tend to lighter regulation.

  • And Miami has aggressively courted tech workers. "Miami Hack Week" in January involved roughly 1,000 attendees working on projects in homes across the city sponsored by companies.
  • "It's a great opportunity for tech people to come live here for a week and experience the city," Maria Derchi Russo, executive director of Refresh Miami, told Axios. "And a lot of those folks ended up deciding to move here."

2. Where tech workers are moving

Data: LinkedIn; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Miami sits at the top of the charts for in-migration of tech workers — and crypto is driving at least part of that, Margaret writes.

The big picture: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has prioritized drawing tech to his city, hiring the city's first venture capitalist in residence last year, and boosting bitcoin.

  • Startup funding activity increased in Miami during the pandemic, and entrepreneurs are setting up their new startups in the city.
  • "A lot of crypto people have converged in Miami ... a lot of like-minded people have descended," LinkedIn senior data scientist Brian Xu told Axios.

Another finding from LinkedIn's numbers: San Francisco has not seen the same rebound as New York. S.F. had a nearly 10% drop in the net flow of tech workers in 2021.

  • "San Francisco is very heavy in the tech industry, and tech has the highest percentage of remote jobs," Xu said. "And so that's just increased flexibility for people to decide whether they want to go back to the city."

3. Tech companies increase donations to Ukraine

The most significant contribution that tech companies are making to helping Ukraine is probably their move to halt sales in Russia, which I wrote about yesterday.

However, many large companies are also donating directly to Ukrainian relief efforts and/or matching employee contributions.

Details:

  • Apple said it is "supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region." At last week's shareholder meeting, CEO Tim Cook said that includes donation to relief agencies and non-profits, such as World Central Kitchen, Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee.
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Monday that the company is providing $10 million to humanitarian aid organizations as well as "opening our spaces to support Ukrainian refugees in Poland."
  • Facebook has said it will donate $5 million in cash to various UN agencies and nonprofits, including the International Medical Corps.
  • IBM is encouraging employee donations and also donating $250,000 to People in Need in the Czech Republic and $250,000 to Polish Humanitarian Action in Poland, both of which are engaged in relief efforts.
  • Salesforce said Monday that it and its employees are donating an "initial" $2 million to nonprofit relief groups working in the region.
  • Twitter said last month that it is matching employee donations and will also "make a direct contribution to a partner organization."

4. What to watch for at today's Apple event

An image from Apple's invitation for Tuesday's press event.
Screenshot: Axios

The tease for today's Apple's press event was "Peek Performance," perhaps a hint that we will get a "peek" at something new. And that, more than the prospect of a new iPad or a 5G-capable iPhone SE, is what I am most interested in.

Driving the news: Apple is live-streaming a press event starting at 10am PT.

  • The company is widely expected to introduce an updated iPhone SE, likely with 5G support, along with perhaps a new iPad.
  • New Mac models are also a reasonable bet.

The big picture: More interesting is what the company might show but not release.

  • While I am certainly not expecting to see an Apple car, there's an outside chance the company could preview its mixed-reality headset. But its June developer conference would make more sense for such an unveiling.

Our thought bubble: Even if all Apple does is introduce new models of existing products, I'll be looking for any features within those products that hint toward future directions.

5. Take note

On Tap

  • In addition to the aforementioned Apple event, MongoDB is reporting earnings today.

Trading Places

  • George Slover joined CDT today as its general counsel and senior counsel for competition policy. He was most recently senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports.
  • Rina Pal-Goetzen is joining the Semiconductor Industry Association as director of global policy. She previously worked at Bayer and microTEC, a San Francisco-based 3D printing company.

6. After you Login

Vegetarian meatball subs and burgers are among the plant-based options at The Green House, a new eatery at San Francisco's Chase Center.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Although vegetarian and vegan options have been available at various eateries throughout Chase Center for a while, the Warriors' San Francisco arena is announcing The Green House, a new stop devoted to plant-based foods.

  • I had a chance to try the menu, including a burger and meatball sub using products from Brazilian plant-based meat startup Future Farm. My favorite, though, was the vegan corned beef Reuben.