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Manso: Jay Porter Interview #3, Part 1
[Follow-up: http://manso.jed.co/post/75926441677/why-i-keep-interviewing-jay-porter
Commented on VoSD (crosspost) and Twitter too (no link): http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/02/06/i-just-wasnt-that-stoked-on-where-the-citys-going/ ]

[Also available here: http://jayporter.com/dispatches/san-diego-exit-interview-part-1/ ]

"For me, when I was working in tech, it was an easy decision to come here. I remember specifically turning down a job in Alameda that paid a little more than I’d get paid in San Diego and probably offered better career advancement too.

But it was really easy because you could get so much more for your dollar in San Diego than you could in Alameda in ’99. There seemed to be a lot of potential here. The tech industry was really thriving in San Diego.

I left that industry in 2005, so I don’t know it as well as I used to, but I get the sense that the industry is not thriving the way it was. And I also clearly see now that you get so much less for your money here than you do in Oakland or even San Francisco (with the caveat that you get less housing for your dollar in San Francisco). But you get so much more for your money in every other aspect of your life in Oakland and San Francisco.

The sun tax has gotten pretty steep. Over the past 15 years, the relative cost of living in San Diego has gone way up compared to competitive towns, but without keeping up with infrastructure. Over that same period of time, how many miles of bike lanes have been created in any comparable city, whether it’s San Francisco, Austin, New York, Portland, Seattle or wherever? Many more than have been created here.

It’s hard to say what the impact of the brain drain really is because we don’t have the data to show it. We can only estimate it based on what we’ve seen anecdotally.

What we could see at the Linkery was people arriving from Place X and then leaving to Place Y. We didn’t necessarily see an increase in people leaving town, but we definitely saw a decline in people coming here and moving to North Park, Golden Hill, and the areas that had been previously attracting talented people in their mid-20s. We just stopped meeting them.

Part of that might be due to the fact that I got older and married and stopped going to bars, so I stopped meeting those people. But I definitely got the sense, particularly around 2010 or 2011, that we were getting a much smaller influx of people into the city who worked in the knowledge economy.

Then you see Ted and Erin leave, and then Andy and Flo leave, and then the dominoes start falling. You suddenly realize that you know more people in San Francisco than you do around San Diego.

At that point, not only does the Bay Area offer a better quality of life, but a great social network too. Add to that the fact that there’s a bigger market for the specific business that I want to be in, and for what Katie wants to be in. Not only a bigger market, but a growing market. It all comes together and the decision is clear.

It’s been a year since we made that decision, and at this point, we feel much more strongly that we made the right choice. Our quality of life is better and we haven’t opened the business yet, but all indications are that it’s really well situated.

Both the city of Oakland and the city of San Francisco have been really active in helping us find a great location and open up. The kind of outreach to small business people is not something that I saw from the city of San Diego.

Although the people we dealt with in the city of San Diego were always very polite, they weren’t very forthcoming. We got business outreach from North Park main street, which was fantastic, but we didn’t get much from the city level.

It’s been really neat up there to see that the city wants us to be successful. There are a lot of great things to say so far. We’ll see what I say in 10 years from now, but I’m pretty stoked right now."
jedsundwall  jayporter  linkery  sandiego  food  bayarea  oakland  sanfrancisco  2014  business  community  money  braindrain  infrastructure  bikes  biking 
february 2014 by robertogreco

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