Brexit sends shockwaves across the tech world. Now what?
Surprised OMG shocked woman image via Shutterstock
Over 17 million people voted in the UK’s EU referendum on Thursday to sever ties with the politico-economic group of 28 (now 27 remaining EU members) and roughly 15.9 million to remain part of the European Union. The value of the British pound slumped to a 30-year-low low following Brexit vote, but the bad news keep coming. Let’s take a look at how the tech scenery might change in the aftermath of the shocking turn of events.
A recent survey by Juniper Research, a technology research company, showed that nearly two-thirds of British tech employees believe exiting the European Union would have a dire impact on the global tech industry. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google established international committees ahead of Brexit to figure out what they would do if the UK votes to leave the European Union. Their nightmare came true on Friday morning when Britons woke up only to discover that the UK is no longer part of the European Union.
Tech sector, regroup!
Microsoft was among the first tech giants to oppose the UK’s departure from the European Union. The company’s U.K. chief, Michel Van der Bel, wrote the following:
Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe.
London’s tech and startup sector has argued against Brexit, especially since the city is the home of different talents coming from all over the world. Talent is not the only problem though — regulations are likely to create problems for any tech startup or giant that wants to hold on to their offices in Britain.
Brent Hoberman, the co-founder of online travel booking site Lastminute.com, told Forbes that London is a “talent magnet” and companies from all across the world often pitch their tents in the British capital because they consider it the gateway to the EU. That ship has sailed now. Hoberman, who also founded Founders Forum, a community for global entrepreneurs, CEOs, and investors in the digital, media and technology sectors, revealed that his group carried out a survey of several hundred startup founders in Britain and discovered that over 90 percent did not like the idea of Britain leaving the EU. Talent remains one of the biggest reasons why the tech sector dismisses Britain’s decision; most companies import talent not only from Europe, but also from across the world.
A survey from tech investment firm GP Bullhound revealed that the UK has the highest number of unicorns, or startups valued at over $1 billion, in Europe (18 out of 47). Meanwhile, the Boston Consulting Group announced that technology contributes approximately £180 billion a year to the British economy. Many tech CEOs are concerned that companies (both startups and tech giants) will gather their toys and move elsewhere.
Brexit from the tech side— a danger to diversity and cooperation
The tech industry has spent years trying to break down barriers, encourage cooperation and foster diversity. Metaphorically speaking, Brexit is the opposite of what the DevOps movement is trying to achieve. During our recent DevOpsCon in Berlin, most speakers concluded that DevOps is the engine that unites teams and breeds transparency and eventually success.
Brexit has the potential to affect diversity and hinder success. The decision to leave the European Union is no less harmful than shadow continuous delivery.