The Bay Area as a declining tech company

An interesting piece from Peter Yared comparing the Bay Area to a declining tech company like Yahoo.

I’m tempted to write about San Francisco all the time, but usually manage to control myself. It’s a subject that’s already debated to death, and there’s still an incredible number of civic apologists who will go straight for your jugular should you dare to utter truth about their golden city.

All the article’s points ring true to me (modulo Web3 talk). Unlike the author, I didn’t experience SF’s peak in the 90s, but I did see the early 2010s, which were similarly good. Seemingly everywhere you went you’d meet interesting people, be exposed to fresh ideas, and have unexpected and serendipitous experiences throughout a myriad of street events, tech offices, conferences, and cafes. All of that’s completely gone now – not only have so many inspiring people fled (and not been replaced as they would have been in previous iterations), but even meeting new people and talking to strangers is still unspoken taboo as the city continues to dabble in Covid-foreverism.

Sometimes collapse is exactly what’s needed to breed opportunity – say Berlin in the 90s or SF after the first tech bubble in the early 00s – but that’s going to be pretty hard this time around. A key element to rekindling is price. Creatives need to be able to live relatively cheaply and be able to do interesting things with affordable physical space. But the world’s inflation-is-a-myth-actually central banks have ensured that despite an unprecedented downfall, real estate prices and rents are higher than ever.

HN comments are more mixed than usual, but still predictable. “SF will be reborn stronger than ever!”, “Miami is evil!”, “2008 was way worse”, etc.

The next few years will say a lot.

The Bay Area as a declining tech company

December 17, 2021

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