Ivan Tolmachev

@itolmach

Where do we go from here, San Francisco?

San Francisco, home to about 840 000 people, 6-12% of whom work in tech, according to Quora. Add to that people with law and financial backgrounds, whose primary clients are tech companies. Simply put, San Francisco today is a city made up of techies and the rest.
San Francisco occupies a 7x7 mile area between Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. You can easily walk the city across in less than 3 hours and San Francisco’s land deficit is the real issue.

You’ve heard of the gentrification crisis in the Bay Area. Long-time residents getting evicted in order for techies to come in and pay $3000+ a month for shitty 1-bedroom apartments.

Every week entrepreneurs, programmers and designers from all over the world fly in to San Francisco in search for their “gold nugget”. Limited land combined with seismic activity in the area — meaning mostly low-rise housing, aka less apartments — multiplied by high salaries in the tech industry means the rent climbs month after month, both for residential and office spaces, which are now the highest in the US.

Slowly, most of those working in the service industry, unless they’re lucky and got rent control and a landlord who isn’t an ass, start moving out of the city, as living in San Francisco becomes less and less affordable. And while the majority of people move to the East Bay — 1.5 hours a day commute time — the cost of living rises further, and mega-commuting from Sacramento or Las Vegas is now actually a thing.

San Francisco is exploding right now with the tax money pouring in, but even with minimum wages at $12.25/hour — up $5, compared to US-average — you can’t afford anything but a room in Tenderloin.

One day everyone outside the tech-industry would move to South California, Oregon or Nevada, leaving us techies on our own. Bart trains will become automated, Lyft will come up with self-driving cars to drive us to Mission on a Friday night, Amazon drones will deliver us packages and Onfleet will deal with everything else you need delivered. Robobaristas will become an ordinary part of our lives and bars will use Spotify to put the music on.

So what are the problems the tech industry is solving? Are we disrupting industries or is our industry the disruptor? Are we solving the problems that need to be solved or are those the problems we ourselves created?

Shop-assistants, bartenders, waiters, taxi-drivers — all of the professions that will become obsolete in the next 50 years because there isn’t enough land in the City by the Bay.

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