Thursday, February 26, 2015

What I miss about the Bay Area

I'm coming up on six months into my move to Seattle. I would say it's been a challenging, but overall positive experience. I find myself at times pumped up about my new job and the different type of writing I'm now doing. I also go through episodes of Bay Area withdrawl. I miss the scenery, the weather, the food, the diversity of people, the nightlife, the public transit, the visible Mexicans. What I what miss most are my friends, networks I built up and something intangible and harder to pinpoint, but what I'll call the spirit of innovation. America is a place defined by haves and have nots whether that is education, money, power or opportunities. The Bay Area is no different and in some ways, the barriers are even harder to overcome than anywhere else, but it is a place with a huge sense of optimism, wonder, ambition and drive. People there think they can change the world and they do. Google, Facebook, Uber, just to name a few. People value great ideas and hard work -- as long as they produce results, which they don't always do of course. But, the idea that going from nothing to changing the world is a norm. That's a pretty amazing mindset. It doesn't mean everyone is achieving or excelling, but it fosters more people to at least try.
Some of that sentiment exists here in Seattle. It is the #2 city in America for technology, I learned yesterday. Seattle is a place that's evolving more into a world class city, but many people fight or resent the transformation that's going. Everyone complains about traffic, but don't ask themselves, how can I stop driving? The housing prices go up and people complain about newcomers and technology companies ruining the region. Developers revamp neighborhoods and people say, they are just getting rich and making everything more expensive. I am both dismayed and frustrated by those attitudes.
Cities do end up becoming pools of disparity and social problems like poverty and crime. But they can also be places where people come together to build and create a society that is bigger than a sum of its parts. I think Seattle is on the right track, but I wish people here were more excited about change and progress. I wish people felt more empowered by the possibilities verses complaining that they are being left out. If you want a seat at the table, find a chair and sit down!

No comments: