Friday Perspective: San Francisco - Different, Yet the Same

Every Friday I give quick perspectives, opinions and thoughts on the world of marketing and beyond. This week’s entry is below.


Warning: not writing about marketing this week. Enjoy a little change of pace.

I've been in San Francisco this week, five months after leaving the city by the Bay to move to Boston. In that short, five months I've heard much about how the city has changed - both from friends here in the city and from random writers on the interwebs. Rental prices have skyrocketed. Home purchase prices continue to rise. Over-gentrification has led to a devolving of the diverse culture that San Francisco was built on. Lots of the complaints center on the tech culture taking over the city.

I can see all that. Walking around SoMa, getting coffee near Moscone, it's clear the city continues to be driven even more heavily by the tech economy while the population gets more and more affluent. It forces the middle class to the suburbs and ironically, for a city so rich in culture, creates a class of citizens remarkably uniform.

It is a change, I suppose, yet all that feels very familiar. In fact, maybe it's not a change as much as it's a progression of the environment I left five months ago. People talk about how the change the city is going through is resulting in a less desirable place. I can see how that would be true. When San Franciscan friends talk about it not being the same, not being as charming, as diverse, as unique, I can't really argue based on some of what I've seen this week.


Yet, as I look west out of the third floor windows of the friend's apartment I'm staying in, I can't help but marvel at this city. This is the San Francisco I remember and grew to love. The rooftops of homes and apartments sitting atop rolling hills leading to the Pacific Ocean. The tall masses of trees of Golden Gate Park and the Presidio in the distance. The fog rolling in over the Richmond district. This is San Francisco.

When I walk along Geary the atmosphere feels very much like it did five months ago. Vibrant, diverse, full of life. The bars are divey, the restaurants down to earth, the people interesting. This is a San Francisco that feels completely unchanged, as if I never left.

When I fly back to Boston to my new home this weekend, I won't remember San Francisco for SoMa, the Moscone center or the tech chatter overheard. I'll remember my old home for everything else it was and still is. All the things that make it special and different from every other city. You can get a SoMa, a conference center and a tech scene in a lot of cities now. That feeling I have looking out my friend's window, that's something you can't get anywhere else.

This post is syndicated from its original publishing on LinkedIn.