8.22.2013

Musings of an Urban Tech Entrepreneur

Google shuttleThis article from the LA Times about the conspicuous wealth of newly minted Silicon Valley area millionaires has so much going on it makes me woozy.  So apologies in advance if this post is a little rambly.  But consider all of these angles:

First of all, how fascinating is it that rents have gone up and restaurants have popped up around the locations where shuttles run by Apple, Facebook, Google, et al stop?  I'm not aware that the world has ever seen this form of transit-oriented development, which usually happens around fixed investments or at least transit hubs that carry large volumes of people rather than a relatively small albeit rich crowd.

Second, the gentrification story is at its hottest in San Francisco, because it is there that the rich-poor divide is most noticeable, and also because it is the part of the Bay Area that is richest in history and culture and so there is more to lose from the takeover by the techies.  I can't say I'm particularly fond of SF myself, but I do hold it in high regard as a beautiful and gritty and iconic and important city.  So it will be interesting to see how it responds and what it becomes.

Third, note the growing awareness of the tech millionaires that they need to engage with and not thumb their nose at their less well-off urban neighbors.  The article references a series of blog posts by local entrepreneur Chris Tacy, whose blog should be called "Musings of an Urban Tech Entrepreneur."  Tacy drops the knowledge on the boors whose newfound wealth has translated into some really ghastly behavior.  He also (going back to my previous point) laments what has happened to San Francisco as a result: "San Francisco used to be weird. And we were proud of that. Now it's shockingly vanilla and suburban and conformist. It once felt like a city. Now it feels like a suburb. And that's sad."

I'll be sure to keep my eye on my old haunting grounds on this particular issue.  There's so much going on and I am curious to see what happens next.

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