The tech stuff is inane. I despise the tone deaf, endlessly optimizing, bro culture of Silicon Valley. I live in the Mission where the tension alternates between simmering dirty looks and Google-bus vandalizing boil. Valencia Street is awash with a startling amoung of white dudes sporting technical fleece who only seem able to communicate in meaningless buzzwords. (Let’s reduce burn so we can maximize revenue streams and make an EPIC exit, broh!)
What stings me the most is that San Francisco is (and always should be) welcoming to the type of person typically associated with tech: nerds, dorks, dweebs, whatever ugly term that’s been applied over the years to someone who loves getting into the guts of code. San Francisco is the home of people who feel like freaks and outcasts, always has been. It's the small minority tech bros who've ironically seen their class suddenly ascend to prominence and taken up the bullying mantle that ruin the perception of tech people for everyone.
I hate it. But whenever my urge to scream into a pillow reaches a fever pitch I remind myself of something Bill Gates said in a 2014 interview about the state of Silicon Valley:
“…half of the companies are silly, and you know two-thirds of them are going to go bankrupt, but the dozen or so ideas that emerge out of that are going to be really important.”
He’s right. If you search hard enough past the crab-pricing-on-demand services and the musical pants start-up you’ll find companies that either do something actually useful or are hell-bent on improving the world. Look at Watsi, a startup that crowd funds medical surgeries for people in developing countries. Or Give Me Tap, a company that helps build water pumps in Africa. Or L Condoms, which strives to donate condoms to women in countries where contraceptives are not easily available. Even the more ambitious companies like Tesla and Stemcentrx -- who are trying to eliminate human driving and cure cancer, respectively -- while bigger or more profit driven still have intentions to make life better for millions.
Outside of those game changers, this is not going to last forever. Multiple signs already point to a tech bubble burst. Or, at the very least, a deflation. This is the natural state of things. Peaks and valleys. Ebbs and flows. But no matter how much money flows in and out, there is something else that San Francisco retains, something deeper. Something intangible.