14 things you don't understand about Silicon Valley (unless you're from there)

Now that we have our own TV show (heyo!), it's probably about time that you learned a little something about Silicon Valley, home to the world's largest tech companies, thousands of start-ups, and hundreds of thousands of hoodies.


1. We all have cars

That's because, while Silicon Valley is slightly more populous than SF (the San Jose Metro Area alone accounts for 1 million people, compared to 830K for SF), it's also a zillion times bigger, spanning almost two entire counties (Santa Clara and San Mateo).

2. But we don't take them to Giants games

Mostly because drinking on the Caltrain is totally sanctioned by the Official Board of Totally Awesome Public Transit Rule Makers.

3. 280 > 101

No matter where you are going, it’s worth the extra time to get there. Plus, it means getting to see the Flintstone house.

Flickr/Rebecca Williamson

4. It's at least 10 degrees warmer than SF at all times

And we have no Karl the Fog. In fact, Redwood City was officially designated as the place with the "best climate" in the US.

5. Stanford's bars aren't actually in Stanford

That's because Stanford was a dry city until 1971, due to founder Leland Stanford’s temperance. Local watering holes like Oasis and Dutch Goose are strategically located at the border of the prohibition zone because, well, they're geniuses.

6. A town you've never heard of, Atherton, is now the most expensive zip code in the US

And it only has ONE restaurant: a sushi place set up inside of an old pet shop. Right.

7. Everyone knows East Palo Alto for two things

1) It had the highest murder rate in the country in the '90s, and 2) it's where the IKEA is.


8. Everything you've seen on The Social Network or Silicon Valley on HBO is actually true

Everyone down here has had this exact conversation at least once.

9. If you're looking to buy a house...

... you will be routinely outbid by a 20-something.

10. The real way to tell if we are in a tech bubble is to watch the traffic on 101

Good economy = busy 101. Bad economy = not busy 101.

11. We will try to impress you with random trivia

The Grateful Dead (or at the time, "The Warlocks") played their first-ever show at a pizza place in Menlo Park. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was about a VA hospital in Menlo Park. And Dangerous Minds was based on Carlmont High in Belmont (even though it was filmed at Burlingame High!).

Grant Marek

12. No one calls it Alpine Inn

Or even Rossotti's. It's Zott's, and only Zott's.

13. Felt Lake is on private land that no one has ever considered all that private

If you duck through the back of the little league field on Alpine Rd and walk past a bunch of nurseries, you definitely won't find yourself and a dozen other people at the lake drinking and swimming.

14. No one recognizes the term "Silicon Alley"

Just stop, NY. You're embarrassing yourself.

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Jamie Davidson is a Bay Area native and technologist. After nearly a decade spent misplaced in SF, he has re-embraced the 'burbs of Silicon Valley. Find him on Twitter @jamiedavidson.