Current San Francisco dogma says that there is nowhere in the world that presents more opportunity. This is why everyone wants to move here. This is why you can't find parking, why toast costs $4 and why your rent is going to be more than $4k a month here. Right? Kind of hard to argue against this, yeah?
I just returned from a visit to my old stomping grounds (Portland OR) and I have some new perspective on this topic.
Honestly, I kind of thought I'd be writing about how Bay Area tech is a virus that is destroying its hosts (as illustrated by PDX). And while it was sad and a little disgusting to see that the brogrammer culture has gestated in Portland as well - this isn't what is sticking with me from this trip after all.
While in Portland I realized something important - or at least important to me - about opportunity and definitions.
Portland is incredibly ripe with opportunity and potential. It's all around you and it's inspiring.
There is, however, a huge difference between the opportunity and potential available to you in Portland and in the Bay Area.
In Portland, you have the opportunity to do what you want to do and to be who you want to be.
In the Bay Area, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to become a highly valuable asset and resource.
I'm not saying one is universally better than the other - but rather that you should know this and own your choices.
But frankly it's hard to not be reminded of what SF was like back in the early 90s - when it too was rich with opportunity for self-creation, self-identification and the pursuit of crazy dreams. And it's hard to not worry that the dream of PDX will follow the same path and the destruction of that dream will be yet another loss that Bay Area tech will have to answer for.