Silicon Valley: Where Millionaires Feel Like "Nobodies"

By the way it has a knack for being referenced in pretty much any financial report, you might guess that Silicon Valley is some sort of mystical land made entirely out of money... and you wouldn't be that far off. Of course, the wealthy region is not literally comprised of dollar bills, but the sheer amount of buying power that has been concentrated in the area is, by all means, mystical.

So distant to societal norms is Silicon Valley, which lies in the southern region of the San Francisco Bay area, and so out of touch is the broad community, a place that Palo Alto mayor Gregory Scharff regarded as a "national treasure," that the standards of "rich" have been drastically altered.

Where else could a man worth millions feel like he is on the bottom half of the socioeconomic ladder?

"You’re nobody here at $10 million," said Gary Kremen, the founder of referring to his personal net worth at the time of this New York Times article.

"People around here, if they have 2 or 3 million dollars, they don’t feel secure," said David Hettig, a fellow Silicon Valley resident, in the same report.

You may think that Kremen and Hettig, who are most definitely not the 99 percent, are crazy, but when you consider that they may be neighbors of billionaires, you might just comprehend how their definition of "nobody" is all relative.

Silicon Valley, after all, is the place that has become synonymous with the internet boom. It is the home of mega-tech corporations such as Google, Apple, Yahoo!, Cisco, YouTube and Facebook and all the many executives of these companies that make tens of millions of dollars. The list can go on and on, but the point remains the same.

This place is for the stinking, dirty, filthy rich to the point that those worth a modest $5 million can't help but feel like their bank accounts are mere specs of dust.

Such is the extent to which Silicon Valley has been built up that even "regular people," the public servants common to every neighborhood, cannot be found in the large area.

We are becoming a community where our teachers, our police, our firefighters, our nurses, they can’t live with us, said Russell Hancock, chief executive of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, also to the Times. They have to come in from other places. Healthy communities have all these people living together.

Much of that, of course, would sound unusual. But then again, not much regarding people and their socioeconomic place is usual in the mystical Silicon Valley.

Photo via Business Week