The capital of creativity is where people can do their best work...and now we’ve got a train!
Throughout the Bay Area, there are some of the brightest minds in the country. They’re at Stanford, top tech companies, creating their own ventures, or investing in others. They live in a place where tech rules all; where startup culture dominates conversation, and where the tech bros go to the Marina neighborhood Safeway (“Dateway”) to find love. Studio apartments rent for ~$3,500 a month, a bargain for those who get funded and get their shot at unicorn status.
By contrast, Los Angeles is the heart of film and television, with actors and writers scrounging their way through Hollywood through any niche they can find. The palm tree-dotted backdrop is bright with sunlight and tinted with smog, full of gridlocked traffic and stunning scenery. Nothing is predictable each day except for the essentially perfect weather. People are used to living gig by gig — actually, they thrive on it. They live permanently out of their comfort zones, aiming to reach the point where they can get back-to-back jobs: the pinnacle of consistency.
So why should a startup consider LA instead of SF?
What makes your startup stand out may not be landing the top engineer from an Ivy League school, or an Ops Manager with an impressive resume. It just may be a creative diamond in the rough who looks at things from a different perspective. Someone who can solve problems and create solutions out of nothing. Every day, all over the county, in offices, coffee shops, at home, and on location, Angelenos are learning on the job. They are seeking out ways to improve and compete with the best in the business. That’s what it takes to stand out above the crowd.
I find the creativity swirling around Los Angeles to be contagious. Even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, the energy that drives the city also makes you drive towards being the best version of yourself. Complacency doesn’t get anyone far here, and Los Angeles always finds some way to challenge you. There’s a beautiful contrast of laptops warmly glowing late at night alongside hazy, lazy beach days. That’s why I ultimately returned here after leaving for a few years.
San Francisco is also not an easy place to live, and people there are hustling around the clock as well. There are also clear benefits that come with being located in the top tech hub in the country; namely, the networking and potential connections. But the groupthink that comes with such industry saturation can be distracting from your company’s vision, and the competition for talent is persistent and brutal.
Los Angeles’ “Silicon Beach” is growing fast, but is still a tight community. Companies set up shop here because of all the benefits that come with a Southern California lifestyle. Although expensive, it’s still cheaper than the Bay Area. You may not even really need a car, in the place where the car is king. The Metro Expo line goes from Downtown straight to the beach in 45 minutes, hitting most of the startup community along the way.
I (selfishly) want more companies to join the Los Angeles startup community because although the city is well-known for being home to the rich and famous, it is really so much more than that. It isn’t widely known for being home to some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met — both inside and outside “the biz.”
The talent startups want is here. They may just be hiding in plain sight.
Thanks for reading. You can connect with me @kristencreag on all social media and at kristencreager.com.