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“How do you create jobs and opportunity in suburban and rural America?”

This is the question that Dan, Daniel, and I asked ourselves over coffee one day while we worked together at Google.

For me, this question isn’t academic — its extremely personal, one that I am deeply passionate about answering and solving.

I grew up during the 80s and 90s in Modesto, a city in California’s Central Valley. In the 1950s and 60s, Modesto was a model of economic growth and prosperity for the country — the population boomed as people like my grandfather moved to the city to help support its growing economy. George Lucas’ 1973 movie “American Graffiti” was based in Modesto, a city held up as a model for what the idyllic mid-century American city looked like.

But by the 80s, things had started to change as Modesto’s economy began a slow but seemingly inexorable decline. Over the last three decades, I’ve watched family and friends in my hometown lose good jobs through a combination of factory closures, corporate consolidation, and automation. Two decades into the 21st century, Modesto’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, and talented young people who grow up in Modesto are often forced to leave the city if they want a high-paying job.

Modesto’s story is not unique and sadly is a common story easily recognized by hundreds of millions of Americans. Thanks to a combination of technology, urbanization, and globalization, thousands of suburban and rural communities have slowly bled jobs and lost opportunities for innovation and growth over the last 40 years.

This phenomenon is not sustainable and has led to a multitude of societal ills, including deep political polarization, systemic economic inequality, and an insane cost of living in urban areas like San Francisco and New York.

This is the problem we want to solve, and MainStreet is our answer to the question “How do you create jobs and opportunity in suburban and rural America?”

MainStreet’s mission is as simple as it is audacious: to create jobs in suburban and rural communities. Specifically, we’re going to create more than one million great jobs in these communities over the next decade.

We’re launching this week with a campaign that will pay people $10,000 to leave the Bay Area. We believe that this campaign will draw attention to our company’s bold mission and vision and help people realize that you don’t have to live in the Bay Area (or another expensive urban area) to have an amazing career.

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MainStreet’s “$10,000 to Leave the Bay Area” campaign

Over the next few weeks, our team will be laying out our company’s vision in a series of blog posts, addressing subjects ranging from what MainStreet is to how we’re addressing the human side of remote work.

Our founding team couldn’t be more excited to start this journey to answer the question “How do you create jobs and opportunity in suburban and rural America?”. We hope you’ll follow along and join this journey with us.

Written by

CEO, MainStreet

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