Confession time… Although I was an athlete in high school, I wasn’t actually in the “jock clique.” On the contrary, I was loosely affiliated with the “nerds,” as several of them were on my swim team. Perhaps empowered by the 1984 film “Revenge of the Nerds,” this group of friends and other nerds across the country started becoming successful, and their revenge continues to this day.
I predict that a new group of nerds will rule over the next ten years. While engineers have enjoyed high wages over the past couple of decades, experts are predicting that software development will generate double-digit employment growth rates, with average salaries near $100,000. At Relus Technologies, we plan to hire 40 such people over the next two years, all with six-figure incomes.
In a recent blog, I discussed the future of Peachtree Corners. Relus is currently located in the heart of Technology Park, yet we need to do more to attract a new generation of technical software developers. Just as we did in high school, I have found that nerds of a feather still flock together. I have been optimistic that Gwinnett County and our new city of Peachtree Corners would pull out all the stops to start attracting these high-income employees. We need places for them to socialize, congregate, share ideas, relax, and hopefully spend their money.
For a while, it seemed as if we were moving in the right direction. Across the street from the Forum shopping center, several acres of undeveloped forest have been waiting for years to be developed. As if under the delusion that nerds hate trees, we chopped them down and started building. This large tract of land is merely a Segway ride from Technology Park. I could already envision a huge influx of Frisbee-golf-playing software developers descending on the area to enjoy outdoor activities, coffee shops, live music, a robot store, a virtual reality game store, and funky restaurants where you make your own pizza and drink craft beer, while charging your mobile devices. Vendors could set up booths selling comic books, manga (look it up), vintage records, and legos. Nerd paradise!
Buildings have indeed started going up, and I must admit that my optimism has faded. One of the first buildings to open its doors was a bank – and on behalf of nerds everywhere, I need to say, “Why would anyone with a computer ever need to go in a bank?” More trees fell, and from the ground rose a nail salon and a store called “Sleep Number.” No, this is not a shop with computers that work while you sleep, or robots that wake up and do math, nor is it a cool store where programmers can congregate and sit on programmable furniture, while they drink coffee, eat pizza, and play video games. The store sells mattresses. I have nothing against a good night’s sleep, but I only need a new mattress once every ten years.
In summary, I hope nerds like shopping for mattresses. In my recruiting efforts to lure young, affluent professionals to Tech Park, the proximity to quality mattresses will surely be in my pitch.