If the Pilgrims Had Landed in California, The East Coast Would Be Wilderness Still

Yesterday I had coffee with a San Francisco-based VC who’s lived and studied in the Bay Area his whole life. “On the one hand I feel like I should explore the east coast a bit….” he said. I interjected: “Hey — it’s hard to leave!” We both grinned.

Two nights ago I met some school friends. One guy just got a tattoo on his arm with “Oro un Paz, Fierro en Guerra” (Gold in Peace, Iron in War) — the San Francisco motto. As we were talking I looked at my own clothes. Through sheer happenstance I was wearing a “The City” t-shirt, SF Giants authentic MLB fleece, and a “The City” hooded sweatshirt. Everyone in the Bay Area refers to San Francisco as The City. When I was in Europe and an American asked me where I was from, I’d always say “The City” and then have to quickly correct myself.

Three nights ago I went to a “Toast to the Bay – Celebrate the 415″ barbecue at Crissy Field some college-aged friends organized, before they head off to their chilly locales around the country. Awesome setting near the Warming Hut overlooking the bay, Alcatraz, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Last night I had a meeting at the San Francisco Chronicle. The VP of their online division noted how the Chron web site is much farther along than other newspaper web sites. One guy said, “For example, on our site when you register, the gender field has three options: male, female, and undecided.” That’s what I love about San Francisco.

I guess what makes me sad is that Chris Yeh‘s kids are going to have no city pride. I mean, who really wants wear 650 on their sleeve?

4 Responses to If the Pilgrims Had Landed in California, The East Coast Would Be Wilderness Still

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    Dissing the 650 again?

    Lest you forget, this is the area code that gave the world Stanford, HP, Intel, Apple, Google, and roughly, oh, 10 gazillion startups.

    It’s also the area code that hands out about 50% of all the venture capital in the United States, and cranks out a disproportionate share of the world’s greatest brains.

    What would your fashionable city life be without computers, the Internet, or iPods?

  2. TK says:

    It is very funny to me to talk about regions of the country. I spend a lot of my time in NYC and Boston now. I can tell you that many of the people in the Northeast think that the only opinions that matter are the ones that are found in this area. I cannot tell you how upset friends of mine were when GW won the last election. One of them actually said, “The country is doomed when the thought leaders of the country are outvoted by the rednecks in the rest of the country.”

  3. WH says:

    Your love of the place you grew up reminds me of a business
    trip to New York City some years ago.

    One forty something resident of Manhattan admitted that he had
    never been more than 50 miles from home in his lifetime. “Why should
    I go”, he said “I’m already here.”

    We Chicago residents realize that our city isn’t perfect – especially in
    January and February – but we can enjoy visits to both coasts and
    almost everywhere in between.

  4. You know, Ben, maybe next time I come to SF, you can show me your city. I love the connections I make with people there – genuine, clever, open-minded, inquisitive people – but the city itself leaves me a bit cold. I can appreciate the beauty of the Sutro Baths area or Golden Gate Park, but overall, the idea of living in San Francisco makes me break out in hives (slight exaggeration). I’d love to tap into the passion some of its residents – like you and Tim – obviously feel for the place.

    NB I wonder if the Chronicle has ever had complaints from people who were offended at the ‘undecided’. “I HAVE decided, thank you very much – it’s society that hasn’t decided to accept my choice!”

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