[Must watch!] Youtube Co-Founder Steve Chen Comes Home (Brain Gain Thread)

Interview answers are in English, but summary anyway:

  1. Taiwan is a better place to work for me, wife, kids.
  2. Wasn’t planning on staying long-term but Covid changed that.
  3. Spent first four months talking to startups here.
  4. A lot of successful Taiwanese entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but for some reason startups in Taiwan haven’t been successful in the last decade.
  5. It’s a mistake to not begin writing the first line of code if you haven’t thought about billion dollar idea yet. If you have a solution to a problem that you personally face, that’s enough to start something. E.g. Facebook.
  6. Too many businesses focus only on China. Need to swing for the fences. Go for global market.
  7. 1399 ARC Gold Cards given in 2020, 30% from the USA.
  8. Can see a lot of familiar faces from Silicon Valley in Taibei now, including Twitch co-founder and serial entrepreneur Mr. Blah Blah Blah.
  9. Many Taiwanese in Silicon Valley flying back with their experience, their funding, their companies, their staff. Recreating Silicon Valley here.
  10. Taiwan’s Silicon Valley gang is created.
  11. There are so many Taiwanese-Americans in Silicon Valley that want to help Taiwan. We can do more to strengthen that bridge.

You’ve posted this in the visa thread because?

See Point (7).

Basically it has to do with the Gold Card. They gave out less than 200 the first year -2018-, then it crawled to like over 400…and this year they have rapidly crossed the 2000 mark and expect to breach 3000 even 4000.

And yes, plenty are given to Taiwanese descendants. This fellow and other startup guys who have worked for big names like eBay and Amazon now are here…in their own words escaping COVID and the election mess in the US. They claim Taiwan offers “normal” life.

They coming here is not the problem. Keeping them here, and not only helping them expand their business, hire more locals at competitive salaries -meaning internationally competitive, not the crumbs people get here- and hopefully influence the work environment, both in terms of creativity and flexibility and more fulfilling/balanced lives, like modern companies, not crusty cost-cutting monoliths, that is the challenge.

TLDR: Nice to have Yahoo, gives lots of boasting rights but how good is it long term for Taiwan? How long is he going to stay?



Translation: as long as his mom says so?

I remember an article that touched on rich women from China living in Singapore being called ‘black crows’, stealing wealthy bachelors.

I remember articles describing affluent Chinese traveling to Hong Kong, slowly pricing the locals out of living in there home city. Think of what Google did for blue collar and middle class San Francisco.

Maybe it can’t get much worse for the little guy over here, but I sincerely doubt silicon valley can make it much better.

That is my fear too.

And why are they getting Good Cards if they are descendants of Taiwanese? Those give them tax breaks…but not indefinitely, like in Singapore. So that is why I believe they won’t stay long.

They bring their teams and interact with their pals. What benefits do they give to the rest then, in terms of learning valuable skills/access to world class resources? Or will that be kept only for the Silicon valley gang?

I also wonder how much Taiwanese they are. Are they like their folks escaped from China to the US on ROC passports or do they actually have roots here?

I understand your concern.

What should Taiwan do instead? Stay poor?

That’s a good question. That was an infographic the program presented, but Chen did not talk about that himself.

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You won’t have homeless in Taiwan like Silicon Valley. You just won’t.

It’ll just be like every time more like Shinzu.

Taiwan is very wealthy, and a long term silicon valley covid refugee camp would benefit Taiwan. Which parts and parties thereto is the question.

The rich get richer, and the poor, the poor have children

Yup, Taiwan needs more than tech. Heck, Taiwan needs something besides semiconductors. That’s why machine tool makers are important; they are SMEs and would distribute the wealth. But unlike IT exports, which are tariff-free under the WTO, machine tools face a tariff of about 4%.

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This interview is almost all I’m English, on Steve’s part.

He said engineers in Taiwan are just as good as in the U.S.

What silicon valley offers is connectivity to the rest of the world.

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