New York Times reporters and ex-S.F. residents Nick Bilton and Mike Isaac just published an atrocious blog post in which they interview one another about what they both loved and what they'll miss most about San Francisco this after Bilton moved to L.A. and Isaac went back to New York. And it pretty well sums up everything that is wrong, tunnel-visioned, and insipid about the tech world's take on New San Francisco.
I'll try to cut them some slack since they were writing for the NYT's Bits tech blog, but when two writers who lived here for ten and three years, respectively, discuss their memories wholly in terms of Moscone Center tech events, Twitter, and venture capitalists chilling at Sightglass, it paints a depressing picture of a city I love in which there are, in fact, hundreds of thousands of people who do not work in, or even care that deeply about the tech sector.
Bilton's entire writing career is basically all about Twitter, having written the best-selling book Hatching Twitter, which is now being developed into a TV series (hence the move to L.A.), but when asked which of the companies or people he's covered here that he's been most impressed by, he says it's Mark Zuckerberg, who's "become an adept chief executive who makes decisions and doesn’t care about what other people think." (Bilton also referred to S.F. today on Twitter as "Techietown." Barf.)
It's Isaac who says he's most impressed with Twitter, saying, "I remember when it was a group of a few dozen people working on keeping the wheels on the whole thing from falling off."
Also, they both talk about drones, driverless cars, and name-check Larry Page, Sundar Pichai, and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mikey Krieger, plus throw in a reference to the Google Glass bar fight.
There are exactly two mentions of fog, with Isaac referring to it as our "beautiful fog."
But here's the thing, and this goes for everyone who's recently moved here: You need to get out of the tech-centric bubble you live in at least a few times a week, because if you leave San Francisco with nothing else to talk about like these two jerks just did, you will be doing so filled with regret and shame.
To Nick and Mike, let me ask a few things. Did you ever take the time to, say, walk from Hayes Valley to Russian Hill on a breezy, sunny day? Did you spend any time hunting down the perfect ice cream, or the best burger, or the Platonic ideal of cioppino. Would you know where to find the best and cheapest dim sum if anyone asked? Did you ever pass a couple hours waiting to eat brunch at Outerlands by sitting on Ocean Beach with a bottle of wine? Did you ever go to Ocean Beach, or Baker Beach, or take a dog running at Fort Funston, or hike up Twin Peaks, or take the stair tour of the city, or follow the wild parrots from that park by Embarcadero Center up to their afternoon roost on Telegraph Hill? Did you ever waste the better part of an afternoon and evening with a bunch of friends in Dolores Park? Or Alamo Square? Or anywhere for that matter? Did you ever go to a show at the Fillmore and study all the old posters in the bar upstairs? Or go to a drag show at The Stud? Or take a quick drive to Sonoma for no other reason besides escaping the fog for an afternoon? Or take a first date to the Musée Mechanique and walk the Embarcadero at dusk? In short, did you do anything during your time in San Francisco among the myriad fantastic things that make this place worth living in besides show up to see Steve Jobs announce the first iPad? Because seriously, man, if the answer to most of the above is no, you have done us all a big favor by leaving.
Have fun driving in L.A./sweating in New York this summer, guys. And buh-bye.