VOX: Non-compete Enforcement Hobbles Tech Ecosystems
Non-enforcement of non-competes helped give Silicon Valley its tech startup supremacy. That might change.

Silicon Valley has soared on the strength of tech innovation while the “Massachusetts miracle” fizzled, Vox writes, in a piece that analyses how non-compete agreements in employment contracts have affected tech startup ecosystems.

California has gone further than other states to nullify such clauses. They’re not just void in the sunshine state; employers can be held liable for refusing to hire someone for not agreeing to sign one. The unfettered job-hopping freedom that results has helped to support companies like Intel, Tesla and YouTube.

In contrast, Boston-area ventures Digital Equipment Corporation and Wang Laboratories, behemoths in their day, are gone. (You might want to keep the volume down when you hit the Wang Labs link.)

However, the Bay area’s edge may get blunted.  

“Most states have laws like Massachusetts, and recently policymakers from Massachusetts to Hawaii have been considering reforms to noncompete agreements,” Vox says.

That might give Boston, as well as other areas boasting institutional strength in academia and venture capital, a chance to catch up.

 

IBM BlueMix