There have been three excellent writings on the effects and consequences of the latest boom on the Bay Area, each long but worth reading.
The East Bay Express, with a permalink I’m sure won’t work a decade from now, brings us The Bacon-Wrapped Economy:
The arts economy, already unstable, has been forced to contend with the twin challenges of changing tastes and new funding models. Entire industries that didn’t exist ten years ago are either thriving on venture capital, or thriving on companies that are thriving on it. It is now possible to find a $6 bottle of Miller High Life, a $48 plate of fried chicken, or a $20 BLT in parts of the city that used to be known for their dive bars and taco stands. If, after all, money has always been a means of effecting the world we want to bring about, when a region is flooded with uncommonly rich and uncommonly young people, that world begins to look very different. And we’re all living in it, whether we like it or not.
“[I]nnovation” is something of a magic word around here, shape-shifting to fit the speaker’s immediate needs. So long as semiconductors and coding are involved, people will staple it to anything from flying cars to the iFart app.
Other times it’s just code for “jobs,” used to justify asking for government favors one day and scolding them for meddling in the free market the next.
“Lower our payroll taxes because … innovation.”
“Drop that antitrust inquiry because … innovation.”
But for all the funding announcements, product launches, media attention and wealth creation, most of Silicon Valley doesn’t concern itself with aiming “almost ridiculously high.” It concerns itself primarily with getting people to click on ads or buy slightly better gadgets than the ones they got last year.
I weathered the dot-com boom of the late 1990s as an observer, but I sold my apartment to a Google engineer last year and ventured out into both the rental market (for the short term) and home buying market (for the long term) with confidence that my long standing in this city and respectable finances would open a path.