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Thoughts and actions for the week of November 8, 2021

Thoughts

  1. There is no reason for a startup to be in the San Francisco Bay Area anymore, and lots of reasons to not.
  2. That’s not to say that the Bay Area isn’t great. For me, it’s one of the places in the US with saner politics, better weather, and despite soaring prices, a really beautiful independent culture of artists, writers, and musicians.
  3. But it’s incredibly, prohibitively expensive.
  4. A small two bedroom home will easily set you back over a million dollars to buy. To rent a two bedroom apartment, you’re likely talking three or four thousand dollars a month.
  5. The “low income” threshold for a family of four in San Francisco is an annual take-home of $117,400.
  6. The result is that even though tech salaries are so high as to be a cause of inequality throughout the area, it’s non-trivial for someone earning a quarter of a million dollars a year to own their own home.
  7. Which means families either need to earn astronomically more, or move out to somewhere cheaper.
  8. It also means that creative technologists who aren’t independently wealthy and don’t want to work for a larger company need to move out somewhere cheaper.
  9. Which also means that if you want to hire people who have families or have built a non-traditional career, you probably need to cast your net further afield.
  10. The good news is that investors are casting their nets further afield. There’s no need to live in San Francisco or Silicon Valley to raise money anymore.
  11. The Silicon Valley community is becoming more diffuse. I know of people moving all over the country. It’s no longer about being where everyone else is, because there is no one place.
  12. Everyone’s used to remote working after the pandemic.
  13. Paying Silicon Valley salaries to everyone at your company, regardless of location, is the right thing to do - but a startup can still reduce costs in other ways, like office space, and hire a greater diversity of people.
  14. So why not live in a place where you can afford a home with a garden, and give your company a greater chance of success in the process?

Actions

  1. I’ve been helping to clean out the house we’ve been staying in since the summer. There’s a lot still to do, but we’ve made good progress. I’ve got a lot of scrubbing and packing ahead of me.
  2. I’ve been working on a huge project, and the social aspects are proving harder than the technical ones. I need to spend time consciously researching tactics to make some of these interactions more productive.
  3. On a similar note, I want to do more internal blogging this week. I find it to be a really good way to asynchronously share thinking.