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

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What would we do without you?
Last week technology reporter Farhad Manjoo wrote an impassioned defense of the city's tech sector for SF Magazine. By chance our own tech-savvy correspondent, SF Techie, had written a very similar article, often using the very same words. We're proud to present it now, in support of his well thought out case.

By SF Techie

I recently met a 23 year-old who's launching a startup while living out of his car. As a young tech entrepreneur, on or off his meds, he represents San Francisco's future, and he's not alone. Hundreds of thousands of equally qualified people are all moving to the Bay Area.

They're coming here to innovate. And is there anything more innovative, in this day and age, than being a twenty-something with an idea for a startup?

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.

You can't argue with that.

No other region is better positioned to take advantage of the new tech forces shaping the world than the Bay Area, except perhaps the Virtual Bay Area being constructed by Google. It's where the Singularity will live, if it can afford an apartment. (Our best engineers are still testing whether the Singularity can create a real estate market it can't buy into.)

Nowhere else besides the Bay Area has anything close to the density of funders, product managers, engineers, journalists, strategists, and data miners that you find here living out of their cars. And if someday those cars drive themselves, then we'll have finally revolutionized homelessness, too.

All those brilliant and ambitious engineers and scientists working together with government support can only do good things, the way they once did in Motor City or Tuskegee. These were extraordinarily productive times for technology and innovation, and no one got hurt.

Which means there's only one thing standing in the way of the Bay Area becoming a permanent capital of the next global economy: democracy. If the small minded, myopic, and reflexively antagonistic people who live here decide they don't want to reinvent their neighborhoods for the good of the technology industry, and use their votes to prevail, then we may have to take their votes away, like we have so many minority-owned homes. Real estate, after all, is a meritocracy.

But don't be pessimistic! As a tech journalist in constant contact with industry executives, founders, investors, and engineers, I've been struck lately by how giddy the techies have become -- how often they seem to pause in slack-jawed awe at their industry's potential to reshape our lives over the next decade. To be sure, many of these people are professional smoke blowers. And yet I believe them. That's called "Journalism." Or, at least, "Pando Daily." And it's never been wrong.

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.

The vast infrastructure created by personalized big data collection incorporated across biometric mobile platforms in no way cross-synergizes empty buzzwords the way the 90s tech boom did.

So what San Francisco really needs is more tech workers. Just as only technology can solve the many, many, problems created by technology, so only more tech employees can solve the many, many problems created by tech employees.

The fact that we deny causing them only proves how much better we'll be at solving them than you.

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.

If you want to see the benefits that the tech sector brings to San Francisco, look no farther than Airbnb, which refuses to pay hotel taxes, and the ride sharing site Uber, which won't adequately insure its drivers or accept the non-discrimination clause taxis do. They boldly show that the tech industry doesn't respect your laws or your regulations, which is how you know they'll be great neighbors.

Uber, it should be pointed out, is also greening the city by discouraging people from using public transit or bicycles. And you haven't even thanked them.

So San Franciscans have to find new ways to accommodate the tech industry. The tech industry would be glad to find new ways to accommodate San Franciscans, too, but it's busy innovating. That's much more important than anything you're doing. Trust us. We're innovators. It says so in our mission statements.

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.

What cities in the Bay Area need to do is to develop policies that better support young entrepreneurs: more Single Room Occupancy units, for example, that can be given to tech workers instead of actual homeless people. We're not asking for a government handout, we just want the government to support the development of our industry through massive tax breaks and civic realignment without getting anything in return.

Which you have to do because, if you don't, we won't locate here. Except that we have to locate here, because if you want to be anyone in tech you have to be in the Bay Area. Which ... hmmmm ....

Ah screw it, just give us the tax breaks and your houses, and let the trans-humans figure out why. They'll be smarter than both of us put together, which is how we know they'll agree with me.

The Bay Area has finally found a source of economic prosperity that will keep on going no matter who it hurts. Let's not ruin that by worrying about unintended consequences. There's no historical evidence to support such fears. When has a new industry ever had unintended consequences?

It's never happened. I checked my Twitter feed.

People who are worried about how a boom industry that refuses to play by the rules of democratically elected local governments might lead to unintended consequences for their communities just don't understand how the world works. They're naïve, which is why the people who decided to come to the bay area and live out of their cars while pursuing a startup will crush them.

What I'm saying is: we will destroy you. But don't worry about it. We're just like you.

Benjamin Wachs is a Literary Chameleon

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14 comments
sumiallen
sumiallen

Here's another idea.  Has anyone considered opening a trailer park for just young professionals who have demanding schedules and responsibilities? 
Or for student/professsionals with similar goals?

WIth maybe a common bath area in a townhouse style complex situation where there are flushing toilets, running bath water, etc. 

Trailers and RVs will probably retain more value than the current real estate prices will.

You could maybe even move them to Mexico with 0% CAPITAL GAINS TAX RATE.  The laws in Mexico state that you have to be an actual natural born citizen of Mexico to own land, so if you can't own the land you can move the tribe elsewhere because it's already on wheels!  :)

My recently late great uncle did that for a while and really enjoyed it down there.  

Santa Monica has also been nicknamed "Silicon Beach".  The great part about La Ciudad de Lost Angels is that there are at least 8 great Universities here (USC, Poly, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Northridge, Pepperdine, Clairemont, Loyola, ***CIT!!!***, Cal Lutheran, etc.).  Los Angeles has probably the best marketing teams in the world, esp. because of the entertainment industry and that's a network you want to have at arms reach, esp. with new companies that need the publicity. 

Right now, it currently costs $750/month for renters to SHARE a room!  That's in West LA, near SMCC and UCLA.  Along with the 405 construction mayhem (don't ask- it's beyond words right now)... there are LOTS of vacancies in Santa Monica, Brentwood, West LA, etc. apparently because nobody seems like they can afford to rent at the going prices.  

Angelinos are adventurous- I could see the group working to pull something together because yes there has been homeless students (because of missing scholarships at UCLA, etc.) - quality students. 

Think outside the box.  We have LOTS of options.  THe only trouble is the boomer voting majority that has this bad habit of voting out of narcissism.  

sumiallen
sumiallen

Stop getting the narcissistic boomer majority elected government to ruin this or exploit anyone to death BEFORE they get a chance at life please!!!!  Hear me out.
Here's why shelter is unaffordable to begin with.

According to Compliance Technologies, the majority of those who took out Adjustable rate mortgages were upper class, caucasian "non-materialistic" flowerchildren-aka BABY BOOMERS (realtors and speculators) to artificially increase "demand" and price of homes.  (no they were not poor minorities who share $1 bil of net worth between them who would leverage themselves out of poverty first, or student loan borrowers or any of those red herrings).

In order to get the financial inventory to pull the ponzi scheme with, The subprime lender banks sold subprimes (that were supposed to be collateralized with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bonds)  to investors.  And they lied to the investors.  The banks gave the investors the impression that subprimes were backed by these bonds when infact these subprimes were totally slutting out (one bond to 20-30+ subprimes).  So these investors were cheated, they knew about it even back in 2003 and the courts were corrupted by the CFTC (Summers/Rubin/WendyGramm/Judge Levine).

Skadden in LA has a rap sheet of all of the good cases against the banks that were erroneously dismissed under the Sec Act of 1933-34 and the investors are technically owners of the foreclosures.  Instead, the DUMB legislators robbed taxpayers for the benefit of criminal bankers and took the foreclosures away from the investors and gave them to the banks. 

Why?  Because they're bought off idiots, that's why.
Please don't let the government handle this, they'll totally f*** it up to stop competition to already existing bureaucrats who already have money to bribe them to block competition.



sumiallen
sumiallen

Maybe the idiot boomer majority elected legislators should stop giving banks free loans and stop bailing failed banks who sold counterfeit subprimes to gouge people in need of shelter.  IN A SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

Here's how it works.  The realtors (and speculators, most who are caucasian upper middle class boomers, not poor minorities)

Cynthia McGarvie
Cynthia McGarvie

I always enjoy a bit of a priori reasoning every now and then.

abledart
abledart topcommenter

While there's a lot to make fun of in the growing tech sector, I'm puzzled as to why you'd make this sort of response to Manjoo's article. It was actually a well-thought out, non-fatuous piece that among other things called for more (genuinely) affordable housing. Nor do I understand the slavish devotion to cab companies, which are among the most racist and dangerously run companies in the city. 

You'd make better sport of the techies if you stuck with stalking Sarah Lacy. Right now you look like a stalking horse for leeches like SanGiacomo, the rest of the local real estate cabal, and their NIMBY puppets. I know Brugmann did quite a stretch with that routine, but I thought your Canadian overlords were more ambitious than that.

Mimia Frisco
Mimia Frisco

These hipsters/techies/yuppies ruined San Francisco. Now, the whole bay area is starting to become that way. Hate it!

Kim Kibler
Kim Kibler

mayor lee and the techies have changed the landscape of sf forever- and not in a good way.

Robert la Bohème
Robert la Bohème

They ruined San Francisco, for sure. It's now New York City when it comes to housing and anxiety about housing. It's no way to live, nor is being near them overhearing their banal, me, me, me conversations, and thinking themselves so into diversity while dissing the ethnic waiter when he's out of earshot. Sad. It's ruined the place for me. It was great from 1986 until they arrived on the scene.

Dave Eaton
Dave Eaton

The world should revolt against Bay Area techies. Driving up the rents, making it impossible to live in shit holes like the Mission or Oakland.

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