If you live or have lived in San Francisco or the Bay area in recent times, you may have experienced what I have when I moved here roughly 18 months ago. Brillant people everywhere I go.
The Bay Area is known as the home to many of the world’s largest technology and venture capital companies, so it would make sense that there'd be a large amount of motivated, intelligent and hardworking people.
Is it the particular events I attend? Is it that I always happen to stumble into bars with patrons of a high IQ? Yeah, probably not. My question is why aren't there large pockets of brilliant people like this in other parts of the US?
When this thought crossed my mind, I was reminded of a chapter in a book titled, Freakonomics. In the book, the chapter referred to two schools that were in neighboring areas; one school had a reputation for being better than the other as far as curriculum, instructors, and overall atmosphere. The parents of the children living in the district of the latter school did everything they could for their child to attend the “better” school. Some lied about their address and others petition to their city's commissioner. The point being, the parents were determined to give their child what they thought would be a better education. While other parents stuck to the guidelines of their district and had their children to go the school they were zoned for.
Researchers analyzed data across all variables from the quality of teachers to the way students were taught, even the types of students who attended both schools. Oddly enough the results were quite similar. As it turns out, the outcomes had nothing to do with which school the students attended, but had everything to do with the parents. The students who performed better had parents who were involved with their education more, regardless of which school they attended.
In relation to SF Bay Area; those intelligent, motivated, and hardworking people I mentioned have a desire to succeed and moved here because of it. The thought that startups those with the desire to succeed will only do so in SF/SV is not accurate. They succeed here often because the people here already possess the passion, motivation, and drive to make it so.
I like to compare living in SF/ SV to living in Florence during the Renaissance; This is our Renaissance and there are so many great people you can learn from. I am consistently surprised at the quality of conversation I can have with what seems to be with just about anyone.
Can these pockets exist elsewhere? How can we grow the same community elsewhere? What are your thoughts on the topic?
Here are a couple upcoming posts.
- Usability Tests for Non-UX Designers.
- Why Every Entrepreneur Should Learn to Play Poker
- Design Hacks for Non-Designers
- Justifying Your Design Decisions