Its been exactly one month (February 15th) since I moved back to San Francisco. My blog has suffered because of it. I’m staying in a cool “in-law” unit in the Upper Rockridge section of Oakland, right near the Rockridge BART station. Great location. I’ve spent most of my time reconnecting with friends, going to conferences, meeting new companies, visiting some of my favorite sites and writing and playing new music. San Francisco is a great city for all of that. I really miss living here. Yes, its changed drastically over the last six years, but its still home to me. After all – I spent the majority of my adult life here – over 20 years.
The first few days I just unpacked and caught up with friends. I’ll leave names out to protect the innocent (or guilty) depending on what day I saw you. It began by catching up with my friend that lives in Santa Cruz and spending time with him and his family in his new house by the ocean. It was fabulous to wakeup and be able to walk to the ocean everyday.
I dove “head first” back into the startup, tech, social impact and investment community here. The first conference I attended; a Mobility Conference where the focus was on new and emerging tech that can get us from “point A to point B”. Personally, I’m intrigued by the “scooter” trend. They are everywhere – here and in Detroit. But how profitable are these companies? I don’t know. It seems they are raising lots of money. I’m starting to research the industry. Don’t know if I will ever invest though.
The tech impact and influence can be seen almost everywhere. The massive Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco is one example of the wealth being generated in the industry. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Tesla’s in one place. The rents and home prices are out of control. There’s an area of San Francisco called the “Dogpatch”. In the early 90s when I originally moved here – there was not much going on there. You never heard people saying “I’m going to hang-out in the Dogpatch”. Now its full of small entrepreneurial companies, restaurants and shops. I was there on a Monday afternoon, and there was lots of foot traffic and new housing developments popping up everywhere. And to cap it off — I saw a 335 sq/ft studio for $2,800 a month!
I’ve also spent a lot of time connecting with the independent music community here. One group in particular is the “Balanced Breakfast” group in both San Francisco and Oakland. Its a networking group for independent artists with chapters all over the US, including Detroit. Its made up of songwriters, singers, producers, performers, musicians et al. Its been a great place to network and meet new people in the music industry.
Overall, there is one narrative that has remained constant and thats the story I hear from native “San Franciscans”. Its that the culture and heart of the city is slowly being eroded away by the tech industry and the people that they employ. I don’t recognize the “Mission District” anymore. It was the heart of the latin community in SF, but now – its gentrified just like the rest of the Bay Area.
Still it remains culturally diverse. Its one of the things that attracted me here originally. I enjoy seeing and meeting people of various backgrounds and cultures. And the Food! lets not forget the food! On any given night you can have cuisine from almost any place on the planet. And I have. I’ve eaten out every night since coming here. I’ve gone back to some of my old favorites like Wazwan (Indian) in Emeryville. Best Tandoori Chicken I’ve ever had. The new spots are too many to mention in this blog. I think I’m gonna devote a new blog just to the new food I’d tried in the bay area.
I think I’m gonna wrap up this blog entry with something I just did this week.
I reached out to two of my cousins I found on Ancestry.com. One is black and the other is white. I’m meeting with both of them over the next two weeks. We haven’t figured out the familial connection yet, just the shared DNA according to Ancestry. I’ll be writing something about meeting them in an upcoming blog entry.