I can finally announce some big news: just last week, I was offered an exciting position at Zinio, a small, growing mobile company in San Francisco, and I’ve accepted it. So after many years, Heather and I are leaving San Diego and moving to San Francisco. I’ll continue to be very busy in both cities for the time being, executing the rather elaborate relocation transition with Heather (preparing the house for rent, the giveaways and yard sales, moving our remaining stuff, etc.), and then be up there permanently after mid-to-late October.
I’ve daydreamed of living in San Francisco, on and off, for most of my adult life. But I never could quite make the stars align before now. The last time I was looking for work was over ten years ago… and in those days, San Francisco really wasn’t on the map in high tech. The real jobs were in Silicon Valley, but I didn’t want to spend two hours of every day of my life stuck in traffic, and I didn’t want to live in the Valley. Too many grey cubicles in grey buildings connected by grey highways. I wanted to live and work in San Francisco, or at least work somewhere nearby like Oakland that connects via BART. But it so happened that San Diego came together for me instead.
Time has passed and things have changed. San Francisco now has a vibrant high tech hub centered in Soma. It’s alive with VC-funded tech startups: mobile, Internet, social media, cloud… all the sexiest technology buzzwords are well represented. Most of these companies will fail, but it doesn’t really matter. The point is, San Francisco has come into its own as a true tech hotbed, much more so than it ever did in the dotcom era. And that means I can now develop my career there. It’s exciting.
I have absolutely no regrets about having lived in San Diego. It’s a great city, a true paradise compared to almost anywhere in the world. I met Heather and married her here, and we have a wonderful home. I have a rich network of friends here that I’m really going to miss. I didn’t expect to live here for so long, but I’m happy I did. I made a life here, one I feel very lucky to have had.
Nevertheless, San Francisco is where I want to be. I can work pretty much anywhere in the US I like, anywhere in the world really, so it comes down to a lifestyle choice. I love urban life, and culturally, San Francisco is right up my alley. I love entertainment and art and great food and the notion that your own unique self-expression is something to be encouraged and celebrated. San Francisco is a global city. By comparison, and this is the painful truth, San Diego’s somewhat of a culturally barren backwater. It still has the DNA of a Navy town. It’s dominated by LA and is becoming more LA-like all the time. There’s so little music and art on display; a comfortable, unchallenging sameness pervades. Why, in this gorgeous Mediterranean climate, did they build so very many dingy strip malls here, but so very few cafés? Why on Earth does the Trolley go out to Santee and Lemon Grove but not Clairemont or UTC, OB or PB, Mira Mesa or basically anywhere north of Mission Valley? I want to be able to commute without a vehicle, to be able to get around on foot or ride a bike. In San Diego, that’s a joke.
And San Francisco is beautiful. I love the row houses on the hills, the feel of the neighborhoods I’ve explored. I like the Mission. I like the architecture in the Financial District, where I’ll be working. I’m eager to explore and look at all the possible places to plant roots. I already have a number of friends up there and I’ve been reconnecting with them, and it’s been great. I’m looking to make new ones too.
That’s not to say San Francisco is some utopia. There are way fewer homeless gutter punks in San Diego and far less litter. Parking is risky at best. The cost of living is much higher and rents in some neighborhoods are just unspeakable. In San Diego I can actually let UPS drop off packages at my front door while I’m out and reasonably expect them to be there when I return; that’s unthinkable in San Francisco. And of course, a lot of the time it’s foggy. That doesn’t really upset me; I used to live in the Pacific Northwest. But people in San Diego find that repellant. Personally, I’m looking forward to the cooler climate.
Anyway, that’s the news! The sad part is that I have to pull out of the Firefly project and skip San Diego Decom altogether. But I still hope very much to see the project succeed. Give it your support!