RIP the place that was Silicon Valley.
Talent is fleeing the Bay Area at warp speed. Capital will flee too, but more slowly (as always). Soon-to-be-enacted tax hikes will accelerate the trend.
Remote-first is the default now.
But long live the dream, the idea that is Silicon Valley!
As a location, Silicon Valley is the new Detroit, a vestige of its glory days. When this is over, people will point to the Pandemic as the killer, much as one might point to an earthquake that fell a rickety old building.
But the real culprit was a toxic cocktail of NIMBYism & hubris. The NIMBYs created an utterly preventable housing crisis that made middle class newcomers feel unwelcome & unattached, because despite sky-high wages, they could not afford homes.
Underneath all this, a deep rooted cultural hubris took the technology industry––the greatest golden goose that has ever existed in the history of mankind––for granted. Like an abusive husband, municipalities took the technology industry for granted, figuring she would never leave.
Oh, how wrong you were.
To the fair city of San Francisco, I say this: Go fuck yourself.
Because you are truly fucked.
I wanted you to love me, as I once loved you. But you did not want me, because I was the other, an upwardly mobile techie. Instead, you made me feel unwelcome.
Now, me & my friends have left or are leaving. “Good riddance!” you will say.
…until you look at your wallet & see it containing a giant hole left by the thousands of dreamers you so despised who have now abandoned you.
That tax base you took for granted is no longer.
Did San Francisco leave me bitter? Yes it did.
Perhaps it was the $2,900/month studio apartment in SOMA that was the only place I could find when my son was 2 & I was struggling to pay the minimums on a $100k in credit card debt from a failed startup.
Perhaps it was all the subtle ways––one might call them micro-aggressions––that I was told by your denizens that I was unwelcome in your city because of my profession, because of my dreams.
Whatever it was, I look down upon you now from my mountain perch overlooking Lake Tahoe and can’t help but think you’re about to get your just desserts.
Eventually, I’ll get over it and feel bad for you.
But now––today––the vengeful sadist in me is eager to see get your come uppance.
The suicide of Silicon Valley will be great for opportunity in the rest of America (probably). Wealth creators will no longer simply agglomerate on the coasts. Opportunity will be everywhere.
Yet there is a real risk that something, some magic will be lost in the transition.
Will the end of Silicon Valley the place ultimately result in the end of American primacy in technology, much as the end of Detroit resulted in the end of American primacy in automobiles?
Or was the end of Detroit a symptom, not a cause? Does the analogy hold?
I’m not educated enough on the history to be sure.
Nonetheless, change is afoot.
Old empires are crumbling. New ones are being built. And no one––absolutely no one––knows exactly how this will all play out.
But after 2020, the world––and Silicon Valley––will never be the same.
Some Tech Douchebag