10 ways to open your heart to San Francisco — The Peter Shih Edition 

A love letter from a dreamer to a “d-bag”

Anisse Gross
8 min readAug 16, 2013

Peter Shih’s Disclaimer (that he altered after receiving negative feedback): This post is an opinion piece by me. It was intended to be humorous satire. Hate all you want, but please stop bringing my company into this.

My Disclaimer: This post is an opinion piece by me. It was intended to be sincere! Hate all you want, but please stop bringing your hate into my perfect city. Also, I don’t have a company, other than my friends and family, so you can bring them into this. They’re fun. You’d like them.

Dear Peter,

I’m writing this in response to your hate-bashing of my town. My home. My love. San Francisco. I could respond the way everyone else has, by focusing on your unbridled misogyny, classism, racism, etc. etc. But I’m tired, and it’s the end of the night, and I’m listening to a trumpet player on the corner and staring at the purple sunset behind Coit Tower. I’m pretty happy and I’m sure you’re a nice guy who just said some thoughtless shitty things and I just don’t have it in me at the moment to shame you more than the cruel Internet already has. I feel as in love with San Francisco as ever, and I wanted to help welcome you to my home, because it makes me sad that you have so far been unable to witness its beauty and strengths.

Welcome to the greatest, postcard-perfect city in America. It’s a tiny place that’s long been home to entrepreneurs, and people looking to capitalize on its bounty. But it’s also been home to the wayward souls and the dreamers, queers and artists, poets and the immigrants. That’s what makes it a great city; in fact heterogeneity is what makes any city great. The second we become solely a place that a person like you would enjoy is the second we stop being a city. You’re not supposed to like everything about a place, but landing on your two feet here ready to tear into this city’s soft heart is a little premature my friend. Why don’t you give it a chance? In fact, here are some strategies to learning to love what should be an easily lovable place.

1. Try walking

You’ve ranted about parking and public transportation, but guess what? This is a 7x7 mile city, so it should be pretty apparent that driving and parking isn’t really part of the package.If you do drive, you better learn to love it, because it’s tough and filled with parking tickets. I still drive because it’s a luxury I can’t afford, and cruising around these city streets in my old gold mercedes brings me a joy I can hardly contain. And as far as MUNI goes, well sure it’s got some problems, but it’s also where you might, you know…encounter real life. Real life Peter! Aside from that, why don’t you try walking (since we see you hate biking too)? San Francisco is the prettiest of ladies and she looks good from EVERY angle. She’s got the most breathtaking views, and to top it off, climbing those hills will work out those ever-apparent kinks you have lodged in EVERY NOOK of your ENTIRE BEING.

2. Love the Weather, especially Karl the Fog

You’ve likened the weather in San Francisco to a woman who is constantly PMS-ing. I’m going to put aside my entire dissertation on your hatred of women (including the fact that a uterus is the reason why you are here!), and just let you know that you should fall in love with the temperamental, seductive, ever-changing wonder that is San Francisco’s weather. It’s never freezing and it’s never as put-ice-between-my-legs hot as New York. We also have fog, which if no one ever told you, is the most magical weather phenomenon that ever existed. It’s a cloud that’s low to the ground! If you’re doubting its sway, just ask filmmaker Sam Green. (yeah, get to learn who’s who around here.) We even have a name for the cheeky fog fellow. It’s Karl. And yeah, we’re the kind of place where the fog has a Twitter and an Instagram. Also you don’t want to be the kind of person who complains about weather; that’s for really boring people who have no understanding of or respect for nature.

3. Start Being Kind & Be Grateful You Have a Home

Hating on homeless people in your life and online is beyond beyond. I know you claim to have been writing “satire” but that isn’t satire. (I don’t have my satire dissertation handy). That’s just you being an asshole. It might do you some good to consider the factors that contributed to their situations and see what you can do to help. There are countless awesome organizations for you to donate your time (since apparently there’s nothing else cool to do in town), and great places to donate your stuff (not that you know, anyone wants your Dockers.)

4. Stop hating on Start-Up Guys because they are never leaving and because you are one of them

You say: “There is more to life than who raised money from who and which startup got acquired by Google.” Ah, so true Peter. So true. You’re a guy, working for a start-up. So is almost every other guy in this town. You’re one of them, so learn to live with them and love them, like the rest of us who have managed to survive their insufferable presence amidt the vast economic disparity they have helped to create. It hasn’t been easy on us either PETER!

5. Love Women. Do you really want to be a guy adding to the culture’s pervasive misogyny?

You said you hate the 49'ers, “No, not the football team, they’re great. I’m referring to all the girls who are obviously 4's and behave like they are 9's.” Guess what? In San Francisco, we don’t rate people like we’re a statistic. This is a place of celebration, a place where it’s okay to be whoever and whatever you want. There’s no such thing as a girl who is a 4. Stop acting like a zero. Especially if you’re planning on landing any of them.

6. The Bridges and the Bay

I shouldn’t have to sell the Pacific Ocean to you, but the bridges are hands down some serious stone-cold foxes. They’re good to drive over, bike over, walk over, sail under and just ooh and ahh at. They sometimes even light up at night. And if all else fails, and you find your self still filled with misery and SF-hate, those bridges are there to lead you out, creating space for someone who actually wants to live here.

7. Glorious Greenery

San Francisco boasts the best parks. I know you love your little Empire Manhattan, but Central Park is peanuts compared to Golden Gate Park and its lakes and lonely bison. There’s Dolores Park (to see all the women and bicyclists you hate), and a park or more in every little neighborhood. It’s never going to be snowing here, and it’s rarely so hot you can’t laze about. The company you work for is called Celery. I’m pretty sure you’re seeing little else than a computer screen, so try to get out. It’s gorgeous out here.

8. The Freaks Come out at Night and hopefully eat you alive.

“Nowadays I don’t even want to go out because getting kicked out of a bar/club at 2AM, which usually is the peak of the night”. Sing it Peter! We hate that the bars close at two as well! But considering San Francisco consumes more alcohol than anywhere on EARTH, it’s probably a good thing. Also, if you stay out at night, you’ll see the most glorious bevy of the rainbow. All the people you hate will be out. It’s a sight to see, this home of diversity. And if you ever, ever complain about transvestites making it hard to get a cab, then watch your back because a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence might get you and Lynn Breedlove of Homobiles will never give you a ride.And then you’ll REALLY be missing out.

9. Food & Wine & Beer & Vittles

You work for a company called Celery (it’s like I’m doing free PR for you!, but that’s cool cause I’m not an ENTREPRENEUR, so I can give my talents away!), but if you ever want to actually eat some, you’re in the right place. There is no city in America with better access to produce and the finest in everything mouth-consumable. From the farmer’s markets to the ridiculous range of restaurants, you’d be hard pressed to be sour-faced about food here little Peter. Even Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place to visit is San Francisco. You want to be cool, right Peter? Anthony fucking BOURDAIN!

10. Bicyclists Rule

Stop hating on bicyclists. They’re the ones who are leaving no carbon footprint while you’re busy hating on women, homeless people, and earning your living helping figure out how to help companies use credit cards. They’re busy wheeling around on two rubber tubes delivering flowers. So you know, find something better and more worthwhile to take down and pick on. Also, the next time you threaten a bicyclist’s life, you may want to rethink your “sense” of “humor”. Also they can “clothesline” you too.


You wrote, “I’m seriously tempted to start fucking with people and pay for homeless guys to ride the Powell street cable cars in the middle of the day, that ought to get the city’s attention.” Well, they would probably love a ride on the historic cable car; who wouldn’t? I dare you, Peter Shih,to ride the Powell Street cable car, alone, end to end on a foggy day. Take the day off work even! You’ll find yourself crammed between tourists who will be smiling ear to ear as they crest the hills of one of the world’s most beautiful places. If by the time you reach the end of the line, your spirit hasn’t opened, then maybe this isn’t the place for you after all. No one has failed this challenge so far.


In summary, you have come to San Francisco to profit. You are working to making credit card transactions easier (do we really need that?). So the next time you’re out, and it’s getting close to 2, and you find yourself in a cool bar like Specs or Dear Mom, instead of bitching about how lame that is, why don’t you stop and realize how fortunate you are. Open your little,shriveled raisin of a heart, take out your credit card, wave it in the air,and because you’ve made credit card processing so easy, yell out, a la Mickey Rourke, “To all my friends! Drinks are on me!” Because that my friend is the spirit of this place, and that is how it’s done.

p.s. You might not want to talk shit about San Francisco when you’re here trying to get your company off the ground — it doesn’t work like that around here, or anywhere for that matter. Goodnight friend — see you in the fog, Anisse