Friday, May 31, 2013

San Francisco/Silicon Valley vs New York

If New York and San Francisco/Silicon Valley (which I will henceforth refer to as the Greater Bay Area) were compared, who would make the better "leader"?

According to Auren Hoffman (a native New Yorker who now resides in San Francisco), in the Greater Bay Area it is more profitable to be ethical than it is in the ecosystem of New York. Hoffman uses spousal fidelity to demonstrate ethics:

"In my twelve years here, I have only known one SF guy who cheated on his significant other. Only one. (for some reason, I have known five SF women that were not true to their spouses). This is probably because the town is so small, one would likely get caught. Hence it is more profitable to be ethical.

In New York, by contrast, cheating on girlfriends and wives, while not commonplace and still unacceptable, is much more common.

And whether it is one's sex life, or their business transactions, one can screw over a lot more people in New York before one's reputation globally suffers." (Source.)

Hoffman observes that New Yorkers also tend to judge others more on their appearance as opposed to judging others by their brain power. Judging others by status symbols of address, clothes, family name – materialistic traps of the Industrial Age. New Yorkers are less open-minded, they tend to box others in with labels associated with religion, ethnicity, education, family ties - so not relevant in creative techno-wizardry of the Greater Bay Area, incubator and home of techno-geniuses... Like Hoffman, I have experienced the coldness of the people in the Greater Bay Area. New Yorkers are friendlier and my techy neighbors are connectors; they will connect you with an entity that can help. I read somewhere that Silicon Valley has the most greedy people in the USA, but also have some of the best public services. Generosity is not a trait I would associate with my neighbors, but generosity is a quality of the politics here where social services make for a more ethical appearing community. So, I conclude that the appearance of being ethical in the Greater bay Area is a driving force or, at least, being associated with a socially ethical community is a driving force. Maybe it's easier to obtain tax money if you have an "ethical" political agenda, at least in the Greater Bay Area?... Business connections are important in both cities, but in New York business relationships are coveted, networks are within old money circles, and found within embedded family relationships and established networks; whereas the Greater Bay Area is more collaborative and encourages new ideas and innovation.

My conclusion is that the Greater Bay Area (consisting of San Francisco and Silicon Valley) is the "leader". Home of creativity and innovation.

To sum up, Hoffman says,

"And clubs ... how many people in SF do you know that joined a social club? I think I might know three. But many of the people I know in New York are part of some club -- whether it is the Harvard Club, the Metropolitan Club, the banana-split with all the toppings club ...
Why the difference?
Because New York is about those boxes ... SF is about off with the suit and tie ..." (Source.)

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