San Francisco’s flaws.

Before coming to SF, I thought it’s a city that’s the pinnacle of technology. Flying cars will be everywhere. People will be walking around with Google Glasses everywhere. Every coffee shop I step into, I will see groups people working on their startup. I mean, it is startup capital of the world. Startups are created to make the world a better place, thus it must be the best haven in the world. That’s not true.

A few things you will quickly realize when you arrive to SF.

Firstly, there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor. Really, it’s huge. Coming from a Canadian family, I was accustomed to the middle-class bandwidth. Everyone was in it together. In SF, tech rules. This is due to ridiculously large valuations of companies that raise millions and millions of dollars and seek to go on a huge hiring spree. Basic economic rules (supply and demand) begin to apply. Lot’s of startups with lots of money need talent -> not enough talent -> price increases (salary) -> more people with money -> things get more expensive (again, S&D) -> rent is expensive -> people priced out and hate tech. Natives to SF hate us. And don’t be surprised to see a 1 bedroom go for $3500/month in SF and people signing the lease without taking a look at the place. That’s normal.

Secondly, tech is great, but you can get sick of it quickly. Everyone you meet at events, parties, get togethers, etc. works at a startup and likely a software engineer.

Thirdly, the Tenderloin. It’s the ‘most dangerous area in SF’ and somehow it’s literally right in the dead center. It was even referred to as part of downtown in earlier days. Coming from Toronto, it was okay to walk anywhere, you’ll be safe. Gosh, I wouldn’t be worried for my fiance walking home at 10pm in Toronto. Goodbye to that in some parts in SF, such as the Tenderloin. It’s not extremely dangerous but I’d advice you walk with someone else at night, but during the day you’ll be fine — it just has a reputation for the highest number of crimes.

Fourthly, billboards. Startup 101 pushes you to think about your ROI (return on investment). Some startups in SF have so much money, they are okay with splashing the city with billboard ads which are known to be the worst kind of investment because you cannot calculate your ROI. They are everywhere! Funny ones, silly ones, useless ones.

As always, I try to keep my posts as short as possible. If you have any suggestions or questions, please do let me know!

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