I love London, I hate London. Like many residents in the UK capital, I am caught between enjoying the bountiful attractions, food, culture and pubs the city has to offer, while resenting the bank-draining cost of living, crowded tubes, lung-blackening pollution and obnoxious black cab drivers.
But I need to be in London to effectively carry out my job as a technology reporter because the biggest tech firms, along with hundreds of tech startups, are based in London.
I don’t blame them for this given that London is arguably the capital of the world as well as the UK, and is full of financial powerhouses, cultural diversity, transport links and political clout.
All of which makes it an attractive place for major tech brands and startups where they can receive support and funding.
The so-called Northern Powerhouse is touted as a bastion of technology startups and businesses opportunity, but London still draws talent, skills and wide-eyed optimism from the rest of the nation like a vacuum cleaner for post-university 20-somethings.
This concerns me, as the continuous influx of people into London from around the UK and abroad runs the risk of draining talent from other areas, and crams more people into a city already bloated with humans.
As this trend continues, house prices soar beyond the realms of affordability, rents become crippling, transport grinds to a halt and pollution smashes yearly targets within days, in effect making the city’s population outstrip its infrastructure.
Simply put, I believe that if technology companies keep prioritising London for their European headquarters the ramifications for the city and the rest of the UK could be very damaging.
Instead, I would like to see the likes of IBM, Salesforce and Microsoft looking beyond the M25 and London’s satellite towns, and considering setting up shop in the North, Ireland and Wales.
This is already happening to some extent. Alert Logic, for example, has set up a security command centre in Cardiff.
But I would like to see this accelerated to the point that London is not the default location for tech companies, and cities and towns across the UK, like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberystwyth and Canterbury, become new centres for technology growth, fuelling local economies and offering talented techies an alternative to the capital.
My logic for such a proposition is not only to break the shackles of London's influence on the technology industry, but to bring about much larger socio-economic change.
If major IT firms spread themselves across the UK they will inevitably spread some of the wealth being consumed by London into areas that need an economic boost.
And with economic change comes a form of redistribution of wealth that heralds positive social change.
Poor areas with high levels of unemployment could become new meccas for fresh-faced graduates. Zones of dilapidated housing could be transformed into modern, eco-friendly and affordable housing. Towns with basic infrastructure could see faster broadband, better mobile network coverage and new education and research facilities.
Technology companies are already awash with philanthropic endeavours and pseudo-charitable activities, and many promote diversity. Yet I think the largest positive impact they could have, at least in the UK, is to be a little more savvy when it comes to location.
The companies stand to benefit, as the cost of renting or building HQs outside London is lower and they could attract talent that would otherwise have been put up off by the London lifestyle.
Of course, taking such an approach is not easy given the sheer magnetism of London in attracting people and companies from across the globe.
But with a little bit of effort we could see the technology industry in the UK transformed in a far more significant way than better phones and smarter fridges.
In the meantime, I remain trapped in London, caught between delight and despair.
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