Indeed, I have relocated to Austin TX. After 17 years or so, I decided to leave Silicon Valley.
This answer could be a mini-novel, but suffice to say, here are a few reasons:
I wanted to move to Austin after college but didn’t get the job at Trilogy Software. Since 2007, I’ve visited Austin every year and felt the pull to move there each time. It a wonderful exploding scene of art, music, film, tech, food, and more. The people are also – in general – much friendlier.
After effectively “retiring” from angel investing 2 years ago, I have no professional need to be SF or the Bay Area.
Silicon Valley is often a culture of cortisol, of rushing, and of fear of missing out (FOMO). There is also a mono-conversation of tech that is near impossible to avoid (much like entertainment is some parts of LA), where every dinner has some discussion of rounds of funding, investing, and who is doing what with Uber, Amazon, or someone else. This can be dodged, but it takes very real and consistent effort. I don’t want to spend 20-30% of my daily mental calories on avoiding the mono-conversation.
Even though Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of brilliant people I’ve found anywhere in the world, it also has the highest concentration of people who think they’re brilliant. The former are often awesome, keenly self-aware, and even self-deprecating (let’s call that 15% of the population), but the latter are often smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, and intolerable (let’s call that 60% of the population). That ratio just no longer works for me. It’s too much. This asshole inflation usually corresponds to bubbles (I’ve seen it before), when fair-weather entrepreneurs and investors flood the scene.
Silicon Valley also has an insidious infection that is spreading – a peculiar form of McCarthyism (McCarthyism - Wikipedia) masquerading as liberal open-mindedness. I’m as socially liberal as you get, and I find it nauseating how many topics or dissenting opinions are simply out-of-bounds in Silicon Valley. These days, people with real jobs (unlike me) are risking their careers to even challenge collective delusions in SF. Isn’t this supposed to be where people change the world by challenging the consensus reality? By seeing the hidden realities behind the facades? That’s the whole reason I traveled west and started over in the Bay Area. Now, more and more, I feel like it’s a Russian nesting doll of facades – Washington DC with fewer neck ties, where people openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified. It’s weird, unsettling, and, frankly, really dangerous. There’s way too much power here for politeness to be sustainable. If no one feels they can say “Hey, I know it makes everyone uncomfortable, but I think there’s a leak in the fuel rods in this nuclear submarine…” we’re headed for big trouble.
Golden Gate and tech are terrorist targets, and I don’t like being close to the bullseye. This is based on good information from friends who work full-time in threat assessment.
I really like the sun and SF is foggy.
Austin is far more dog-friendly than SF.
Sometimes you need to think about the “where” of happiness and change your scenery to prompt new chapters in your life.
In the end, I absolutely LOVE the Bay Area, but it’s become a perverted Bizarro world version of what attracted me there in 2000. Many of my best friends in the world are there, and it pained me to leave, but I had to relocate for my own sanity, growth, and happiness.
Even though Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of brilliant people I’ve found anywhere in the world, it also has the highest concentration of people who think they’re brilliant. The former are often awesome, keenly self-aware, and even self-deprecating (let’s call that 15% of the population), but the latter are often smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, and intolerable (let’s call that 60% of the population).
Are you the 15% or the 60%? The other 25%?
Based on our past conversation, you want to move from the other 15% to the 60%. Are you there yet?
Since 2007, I’ve visited Austin every year and felt the pull to move there each time. It a wonderful exploding scene of art, music, film, tech, food, and more. The people are also – in general – much friendlier.
So I’m not the only one who think Austin is suitable.
Tim is worth 100M. He genuinely dislikes BA culturally and politically, there’s no affordability issue
"Tim Ferriss is an American author, entrepreneur, investor, and public speaker who has a net worth of $100 million. "
Timothy Ferris was born in East Hampton, New York in July 1977. He graduated from Princeton University in 2000. He then worked at a data storage company and started his own internet business. He founded BrainQUICKEN in 2001 as an online nutritional supplement company. The company’s products included Brain Quicken and BodyQuick. He sold the company in 2010 to a private equity firm in London. He has acted an angel investor and advisor for startups. Some of the companies he has been involved in include StumbleUpon, Lyft, Evernote, DailyBurn, Trippy, and TaskRabbit. He also has had small equity stakes in Twitter, Uber and Facebook. Ferriss has written the books The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef. Workweek and Body were both #1 New York Times bestsellers. He is a member of the National Advisory Council for DonorsChoose. Timothy Ferriss holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records’ for most consecutive tango spins in a minute and set the record on Live with Regis and Kelly. He has been accused of manipulating the review system on Amazon.com to make his books appear to have four and five star reviews.
More than 70% of the people in the BA are not even in tech
The guy is full of shit
I don’t miss the BA… But for me it is the traffic that is the most annoying… No wonder the nimbyies rule…
The place is just full, but not full of shit.
I think he could have just moved to Walnut Creek.
Austin has plenty of its own disadvantages…
I appreciated his openness. The thing that went down at Google really has me upset. A guy says “Women want life-work balance” gets fired. Google still offers exactly ZERO part-time jobs, but claims it thinks more women should be in tech. Will I get fired if I say similar things? Or do I get a pass as a woman? He’s totally right, but if it really is only here, then maybe I should leave too. I just thought it was the case in all blue areas.
I don’t think people in the Bay Area realize how far left it is. Most of the country is far more moderate.
Wednesday, I was talking to a coworker about plans for the thanksgiving weekend. He’s from India. I was worried about asking if he has family in the US in a non-offensive way. That’s insane, but I have to worry about it. Sorry, but that’s a giant step backwards for society.
One of my good friends from college is Jewish. Around the holidays people would say Merry Christmas. He’d say thank you and wish them a merry Christmas too. Now there’s people that’d throw a fit about being discriminated against. His take was the person was being polite and wishing him well, so he was polite and wished them well too.