Will San Francisco Become a Bedroom Community?

Thursday morning, Googlistas waiting for the bus.

This is a question the Silicon Valley Watcher asks. It’s not a new question, but it is worth thinking about it. Tom Foremski describes San Francisco as an innovator of media that is losing ground to Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is fast becoming a Media Valley. Its fastest growing companies are media companies. Google publishes pages of content with advertising, so does Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are technology-enabled media companies and not tech companies.

And many of Silicon Valley technologies can be best described as media technologies because they enable the publishing of data and information.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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    • Kaliman


      No. SV been a on-off-on-ff type bedroom community and will be over with the next tech/media bust.

      • John

        You can date SV back to the formation of Hewlett Packard before the second world war. And while the tech business has seen it’s share of cycles (your point, I believe) it is impossible to rationally claim that it will somehow dwindle to zero if the NASDAQ takes a hit.

        The tech haters seem to rely on the cyclical nature of enterprises to underpin their fantasy that tech will vanish and that SF will somehow magically regress back to the hippie era.

        Better hope that doesn’t happen because I’d be willing to bet that, one way or the other, your paycheck depends on a healthy local tech industry.

  1. John

    In a sense, SF has been a bedroom community for Silicon Valley for a couple of decades now. Strip out the southbound commuters, the professional services and finance entities supporting SV and the spillover affect of equity and RE appreciation, and it’s not hard to see how SF might look as depressed as many other US cities by now.

    BofA and Wells Fargo used to be two corporate titans based in SF and now they are run from Charlotte and Minneapolis. Our industry has gone, as have the docks, and our main industry appears to be tourism, which is a fickle trade.

    It’s not unreasonable to see SF’s main role as a Switzerland to the tech industry, with a weirdo theme park thrown in to bring in the tourists and their dollars.

    If SV had happened somewhere else, SF would now be like Oakland and Oakland would now be like Detroit.

  2. Frank

    Should the city encourage Facebook, Google, etc to build more offices here? Stronger ties to the city, no bedroom community effect, fewer commuter buses. That should make everyone happy, right?

  3. dude


  4. missionnite

    There is no free market. City hall polices sets the direction and influences the market.

    • John

      I think you exaggerate the power that the Mayor and Supervisors really have. The tech industry is a phenomenon of the entire Bay Area, and it’s epicenter isn’t even in the city.

      All the city pols can do is hope to catch some crumbs falling from the master’s table.

  5. poor.ass.millionaire

    What happens with future “industry” in SF is a good question. We have a problem most cities would die for. So far Newsom and Lee have reasonably courted tech, but now people are crying hard about it. In comes a leftie mayor and yeah, tech may start bolting otta here. But no matter. Prior to the late 90’s tech wasn’t prominent in SF, and it still was an expensive city.

    Nothing happens overnight, but even if tech did drift away, SF would still become an expensive play land for rich adults. Mixed in with cheap SRO’s and some rent controlled tenants. Sorta what it is today, but that trend will continue, with or without tech.

    I heard google is contemplating moving into the upcoming trans bay tower. I have no idea if they would designate it their HQ, but that move would be frickin HUGE! Anybody have any info on this?

    • John

      The whining about tech is generally coming from people who would vote for a left-wing Mayor anyway. So I’m not sure the current temporary uptick in whinery is predictive of any change to the long-term pattern of SF voters choosing a moderate mayor. We haven’t had a leftie for Mayor since the amiably bumbling Agnos and he was a one-termer.

      The moderates have a lock on the Mayor’s office and, if anything, the demographic changes that are happening will further cement that lock, as poor displaced tenants move to Oakland and make that city more liberal, while SF becomes more affluent, gentrified and moderate.

      Indeed, I think the real reason that SF progressives are so vociferous right now is not because they give a crap about the odd low-income resident who has to move, but because they see their power and voter base being gradually eroded.

      Don’t know anything about that Google possibility, I’m afraid, but it does sound very exciting. At least one tech behemoth should be HQ’ed here, IMHO.

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