So I thought of this connection between tech workers and immigrants at the outset of our bus contest, but it somehow got scrubbed from my copy. I see this connection again being made in today’s San Francisco Chronicle story on the word “techies.” Enrique Landa, the founder of Betrabrand on Valencia, says this:
He felt the word “techie” fit into a long history of words used by natives to describe immigrant groups.
“Whenever you get a mass migration of a new wave of people, you get a negative connotation from the people who were there before — like Mexicans in the Mission. The new wave always gets a bad rap.”
Comparing tech immigrants to the Mexican immigrants may be hard — Twitter’s IPO just made an estimated 1,600 new millionaires — but, for Landa, the term “techie” connotes “unwanted newcomer” in much the same way as racial slurs.
Yes, on the one hand a stretch, but the tech buses too remind me of the buses one sees in Salinas or any agricultural area. Yes, those carry workers to the campo and not to luxury campuses with perks. Still, however, they are all buses derided by those not in them.
In Latin America, buses are gussied up.
In San Francisco, companies have the funds and the city has the artists to do the same with the tech buses. So, again, we invite you to submit your ideas to our unofficial contest to turn the buses into moving art. We find jpegs work better than written ideas, but send what you like to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It turns out we are not the only ones looking at the entries. Announcement on that soon.