Over the next 15 years, I don’t think the prospects for San Francisco look good. I wouldn’t want to live there and it’s no longer necessary to start a tech company there. Real estate costs are too expensive for what you receive. For the vast majority of companies, it makes sense to staff people in lower-cost cities such as Provo, Boise, and Boulder. Fundraising is one of the biggest benefits of living in San Francisco. But people with strong networks and online audiences can build connections and fly to the Bay Area only when they need to. With that said, I write these words with only 60 percent certainty. Admittedly, I may be under-estimating San Francisco’s network effects and the tacit knowledge required to buy a venture-scale company. If you want to build a billion dollar business, there’s still no better place to be.
Over the next 50 years, I have a positive outlook for the city. It’s destined to be a hot-bed for innovation and economic opportunity. Beyond that, the center of power in America continues to shift towards the San Francisco region. Bay Area built technologies are disrupting the East Coast: New York (finance), Washington D.C. (government), and Boston (academia). The Bay Area will benefit if it retains its network effect on tech-savvy talent.