A South Bay man accepted hundreds of offers from open houses. But the homes weren’t for sale. They were for rentals that he’d arranged through a website for short-term leases.
He got a check in a few days. Or maybe he didn’t.
“I never got a rent,” said John Gagliano. “And we’re still looking for the money.”
He is one of many business owners who have experienced sudden losses during the downturn. And he is one of 1,000 or so who aren’t doing anything to protect themselves from what’s coming.
The problem is that for the first time in the history of Silicon Valley, no one has yet built a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery and prosperity. The best that can be said for now is that many are trying — and hoping that it all turns out okay.
It certainly has been enough to cause a lot of frustration.
That’s because for the most part, the signs of the financial panic that’s beginning to engulf Silicon Valley are invisible. And this makes it all the more painful for people who’ve been hurt by it.
For example, you might think that if there are reports of bankruptcies and defaults, it would be bad.
But in California, when it comes to people like John Gagliano, the financial crisis hasn’t hit the real world. Instead, he’s been in it forever. His companies have been on the brink of bankruptcy from the time the dot-com bubble burst in 2000.
John Gagliano used to make a living making Web sites. In the early ’90s, he built websites that were wildly popular, but he wasn’t making enough money to support his family — a situation made worse by the fact that he was living in his parents’ garage. So he and a college buddy, Michael Marrone, decided to sell their Web sites. They were able to get about $