SF Techie Explains Why the World Should Revolve Around Bay Area Techies

Oh snap.

They have to come here. One of the great promises of the Internet, after all, is liberation from the petty constraints of geography. But in practice, that's absurd -- if you want to be anyone in tech, you have to be in the Bay Area. Which means that, this one time, the Internet didn't actually live up to its promise to change something. But that's the only time that happened, or ever will happen. That and ending racism. And raising the living standard of the middle class. It turns out the internet has failed to do any of that.

But that's it. We should be confident that every other promise made about the Internet by tech-funded economists, tech-funded journalists, and tech-entrepreneurs, will come true. Why? Because: Technology. Disruption. New Economy. 2.0. [...]

Study the roots of our new tech economy, and you'll find that it differs in important ways from the Internet bubble of the '90s. That blip was fed by the promise of future billions that we were certain to realize from the web economy. Today's tech industry, on the other hand, is fed by the promise of future billions from the mobile economy.

It's a completely different economy. And unlike the web, which never caught on, people actually use mobile devices. [...]

Why should we assume that the thousands of new aspiring tech workers pouring into the Bay Area will decimate the arts, cultural diversity, tolerance, and neighborhoods of San Francisco, just because that's what happened last time? Technology is about innovation. If the industry destroys your city the same way twice, it hasn't done it right. We've obviously learned from our mistakes, the same way Wall Street has. [...]

These newcomers are not barbarians at our gates -- these are people whose values largely mirror those of the city dwellers they are ruthlessly pushing out. They're just like you, only whiter and able to live here. There's absolutely no rational reason to expect you won't enjoy knowing they're living in what used to be your apartment.

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12 Responses:

  1. Chris Randall says:

    See, this is why I like Phoenix. Every time someone gets a little big for their britches and wants to be all startupy, they they move to your neck of the woods. I consider that a win. This city may be deep-in-its-bones crazyland, but we have a net yearly loss of the sort of people that pop their collars, shop for c. '83 Vuarnets on eBay, and think $25 is a perfectly acceptable price for a hamburger.

    Also, Arizona scoffs at your Libertarians.

    • MattyJ says:

      "people that pop their collars, shop for c. '83 Vuarnets on eBay, and think $25 is a perfectly acceptable price for a hamburger."

      If that's your idea of what the average San Francisco tech nerd is like, then thank God you've sequestered yourself to Phoenix.

      • Chris Randall says:

        Not the average, no. Not by a long shot. But it only takes one of those dudes to ruin your whole month.

      • Chris Randall says:

        Also, look up "sarcasm" in Wiki-something-or-other. My comment was written in the spirit of the article. I guess I'm not very good at it if it wasn't clear.

  2. Mark Welch says:

    This rant takes me back to the 1990s. Some number of people I knew then could have written something like this, with just a few words substituted. Truly nothing has changed, right down to the steep price curves.

  3. phuzz says:

    Without reading TFA I might not have noticed the satire. Well played SF Weekly, well played.

  4. Beakers Bro says:

    that is some of the more brilliant sarcasm i have read in a while.

  5. Joseph Brenner says:

    I like this Jen Sorenson cartoon on the subject: The Gentrification Cycle. It's both right and wrong about everything.

  6. Vegan Taxidermist says:

    Thank God that such techies voluntarily sequester themselves within San Francisco; then we don't have to deal with the horrible legislative consequences state-wide of having a city full of $25-hamburger-eating Vuarnet-wearing who make life unbearable for us average schmoes in average parts of the state who just want to be left alone.

    (And no, I'm not in Arizona, but we still scoff at your "liberatarianism" here in Ohio, which is a tad farther east. And our startups are doing just fine.)

    • Tom Lord says:

      Don't be so damn smug.

      It starts with little more than a ping pong table, darts board, or foozball table in the unused part of the floor plan in that dirt cheap office space you rented with growth in mind. Maybe some at-cost coke and junk-food fending machines in the break room.

      People start coming back from out of town conferences with soft fabric novelty "frisbees". A couple of jokers will buy nerf guns to keep around the cubicle farm and "blow off steam".

      The boss decides that discounted gym memberships will be the new perk and hook's up with that blond "trainer"/sales rep from the 24 Hr. Fitness down the street.

      Pretty soon the asshole-parked 2-space sports cars start claiming all the closest spots to building and some tool puts up a volleyball net on the small patch of grass between the parking lot and fetid creek.

      The leaches move in. The commercial real estate speculators. The high end realtors. Dealers in designer drugs. Just a few too many cafes and did you hear they closed that excellent dive bar that used to be just off the exit on the way to work?

      A few upscale, slightly over-priced, bedroom community 3br apts show up, managed by national corporations and populated mostly with H1-B types.

      The local paper hires a new food section editor. Someone who made good on options buys and restores the old classical cinema house (it'll shutter in 5 years).

      Your "start-up culture" slides inexorably towards becoming an acquihire economy. Your native investors are pushed out by delegates from the coasts. Two too many Whole Foods open and the grocery store for normal people starts to languish.

      Some restaurants starts selling pork belly and collard greens for $37 a plate. The vietnamese nail salons gradually get displaced by yoga studios.

      While you weren't paying attention the speculators bought up 40% of the residential properties in your 'hood.

      The bowling alley gets knocked down the city council members start yammering about density infill and smart growth.

      There's no good place left to go on a Saturday night without spending an arm and a leg. Your neighbor's kid can't afford to move out on his own.

      It'll happen to you, too.