One of the things I was unprepared for when I moved back to San Francisco after a nearly 20 year absence was how much of a one-industry town the city has become. It’s now a lot more like Los Angeles (movies/TV) or Washington (politics) than it is like, say, New York or Boston, which have much more diversified industries.
A map of the mile around the Adaptive Path office with the names of technology companies and design firms on it would be a massive cluster. That map of the Bay Area might even be crazier. You don’t have to find people in the tech field here, they find you. Other parents at my kid’s school, people you meet at parties and at the park…it’s all tech tech tech. We went to a client’s office and realized we had another client in the same building and one in the building around the corner. This is probably not an unusual circumstance.
While this is interesting–the person next to you might be someone you’ve only read about–it also creates a (dare I say it) bubble effect. We’re so over hyped trends before non-geeks even register them. We get wound-up by companies and technologies that don’t affect anyone outside our technology circle.
It’s easy in SF to fall into this trap. The harder part is to look beyond the Bay Area and find real applications for the technology and design ideas we’re having. We need to apply our talents to where they are really needed–most of which aren’t a mile from our offices.