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San Francisco Poaching Tech Talent From Silicon Valley 282

jfruh writes "Silicon Valley, including San Jose and the chain of suburbs running north from it along the San Francisco Peninsula, has long been the epicenter of the tech business and startup scene. San Francisco itself, just a few miles to the north, has always been in the Valley's orbit — but now, more and more, the center of gravity is shifting to San Francisco, and the move seems to be hitting a tipping point. The reason: the young talent companies want to attract would rather live in a hip city than in suburban sprawl, and don't want to commute 45 minutes to work."
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San Francisco Poaching Tech Talent From Silicon Valley

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  • It takes about 45 minutes to commute between places actually in San Francisco, if you don't pick the right ones, thanks to SF Muni having barely had any improvement since the Market Street Subway was built in 1980. Could easily spend 45 minutes on the N-Judah...

  • At least you're not driving, on public transit you get to read while someone else does the driving. I moved to San Jose six months ago and I explicitly picked a location where I could take the Light Rail to work, most of my coworkers drive and live nowhere near transit along the peninsula. I plan to move to SF (along with all the other "young talent") where it might take a bit longer to get to work, but you can go around the whole city without a car, instead of just certain areas. (I do have a car, I just hate driving).

    Of course, the real reason to move is that even San Jose, with a larger population than S.F., feels like a suburb compared to City.
  • Re:And the cost (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @12:59PM (#40751837)

    >>>Cars are a pretty immense financial outlay.

    Yes they are but still cheaper than having to pay two bus or train tickets everyday. Over the longterm the car is less expensive, especially if you keep it over its full 300,000 mile lifespan (400,000 for diesels).

  • Re:Hip City? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Macman408 ( 1308925 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @01:18PM (#40752161)

    It's not just a hipster thing. Everybody in the bay area calls it "the city". Conversely, only tourists will call it "frisco" or "San Fran".

  • by Ryanrule ( 1657199 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @01:34PM (#40752381)

    Its GOOD that its more expensive. FORCE the companies to pay the lower level people better, and the upper level people worse.

    PLUS, its not a 5 minute drive to a golf course like the valley. That should help keep the useless mba people away.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @01:37PM (#40752431) Homepage

    This happened during the first dot-com boom, too. Huge influx of twentysomethings. Then the dot-com boom collapsed, and the number of twentysomethings in SF dropped 40%. (A friend of mine who runs a hip hair salon and throws big parties said of this "and the ones who still have jobs are working their butts off.")

    The first dot-com boom moved into existing real estate. This time, there's extensive new construction.

    Silicon Valley may be in permanent decline. The last production wafer fab in the valley closed in 2008. With impressive systems on a chip like the Allwinner A10 from China selling for $7, the margins in semiconductors are far smaller than they used to be. That threatens Intel. HP is still a mess. Yahoo is collapsing. Microsoft just posted their first loss. Google and Apple continue to thrive, but Facebook seems to be on track to be the next Myspace.

  • Re:And the cost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dlsmith ( 993896 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @02:31PM (#40753375)

    If you want to employ gun-toting rednecks then by all means set up in Hicksville. If you want the brightest and the best then you have to go where they want to live whether you like it or not.

    Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I'm a well-educated, young (early 30s, anyway) computer scientist and I care a lot more about my net pay (after living expenses) than I do about living in a hip city. I find out a job is being offered in a high COL area, and I cross it off the list.

    I think there are a lot of places that offer a much better balance: Austin, Atlanta, Denver, Salt Lake City, ... (I imagine responses will tell me these places are most definitely not hip.)

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:04PM (#40753927)

    What the hell is wrong with feeling like a suburb? Having grown up in a small rural town I'm baffled by the arrogance and snobbery of city dwellers who'd prefer having homeless people sleeping in their doorway than to go somewhere else. Why is suburb a dirty word? What is in SF that anyone would want to live there and put up with all its problems?

  • by TallDarkMan ( 1073350 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @03:23PM (#40754231) Homepage

    The basic answer is that arts, entertainment, or what-have-you...which the suburbs are more limited in. If you're lucky, there's some stuff to do in your (suburbia) town (Marin to the north is very artsy-fartsy, and Berkeley has a lot being a college town), but others (Hayward in the East Bay, or San Bruno on the Penninsula south of S.F.) don't have much more than the traditional malls. So "going out for a night on the town" usually means hopping in your car (or if it's convenient, hopping on BART) and heading to The City.

    The suburbs aren't "bad"....just less stuff to do there versus the city....and I think that's true for a lot of cities.

    Heck, I know of some people who lived out in the Central Valley (to the east of the Bay Area and it's suburbs) but moved to the Bay Area, even though it's WAY more expensive, simply because "there's more there"...

  • Re:And the cost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @04:35PM (#40755485) Journal

    I'm really happy that it's so cheap for you, but you live in suburbia. Nothing happens there. You can't walk across the street to the corner store for a gallon of milk and stop to chat to your neighbours about the concert that's going to be in the nearby park next weekend. You can't walk up to the tennis courts to play a few sets with your roommate and stop for coffee and a snack on the way back while you sit outside on the street and strike up a conversation with the interesting dog owner at the next table. You can't walk to the independent bookstore, on the way bump into some old friends that you haven't seen in years, and instead of going to the bookstore you go to the bar and spend a few hours catching up over cocktails while a pretty lady at the next stool catches your eye and ends up becoming your future wife.

    You suburban TV watchers and couch potatoes can throw as many smart alec remarks as you like about "insufferable hipsters". If you want to live in your cookie-cutter apartment complexes and dorm "communities" where nobody knows your name then knock yourself out. I prefer a real social life where "social networking" actually means getting out there and mingling with people, not sitting in front of a Facebook in the evening with reality TV in the background.

  • What the hell is wrong with feeling like a suburb?

    I live in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco. It's a wonderfully quiet little place with low crime and great schools. I loving living there, walking to the library, driving five minutes to a beach, etc. It's not like the stereotypical suburban wasteland of soulless strip mall after strip mall and the quality of life is wonderful.

    That said, I think I'd go insane if I didn't work in the city. There's so much more energy here, and a million things to do, see, and look at every day. It's a little noisier and more crowded than I'd want in a house setting, but I love working here.

    Oh, my daily commute involves walking a block to the transbay bus, reading a book for half an hour, then walking a block from the bus terminal to my office. For a couple of bucks more and a longer walk, I can also ride the ferry in much less time (to the point that I'd have a hard time finishing a drink you can buy at the onboard bar).

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison