Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Tech Economy is Booming

It really feels like 1998. And I'm not saying that because I'm both a barbeque maven and a techie. I base that on my personal indicator of economic activity:

The Grilling Greg Restaurant Service Indicator -- GGRIS. When it's high (100) service is great, but nobody can afford to eat out. When it's low (0), service is terrible and the restaurants are full.

During the tech bust of 2000, restaurant service was fantastic. Lots of people that fancied themselves web designers ended up waiting tables, and were glad for the job. As things loosened up, they moved on to better jobs, but the overall quality of people available to fill the service positions was still pretty high. In general, there were more people than jobs, so restaurants could be a bit picky about who they hired. And there were less people at restaurants because the techies had less disposable income, so service wasn't so strained. If you were lucky enough to be able to ride out the tech bust with a good paying job, service at restaurants was downright great for a few years.

As techies become employed, they started to eat out again. And the pool of highly qualified people started to dwindle. Now we're back to 1998, where you're lucky if your waitstaff even speaks english in a comprehensible fashion. And the restaurants are full of techies with big salaries, so restaurant management could really care less that their service is terrible. Where else are you going to go for lunch in RTP?

I think the GGRIS is running about 10 right now. If you're a techie, I suppose you'd rather have a low GGRIS because then you can afford everything else. But until the tech bubble bursts again, I think I''ll just devote more time to making my own barbeque -- which is better than any restaurant can produce, but that's another post.

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