Oh, San Francisco. The heaven for startups. The place where tech is the air people breath. The place that tech companies advertise on buses.
I just came back from a trip to the Bay Area. I just love this city. Clear the fog and you’ll get one of the best places to live in.
During my last stay I met a lot of awesome people and companies (in the order I met them): KeenIO, CircleCI, Heavybit, StartupMonthly, Totango, Buffer, Stripe, Synqy, Envoy, Stride, Sqwiggle, PayPal, Chegg, ImportIO, StartupCompass and many more. I want to point 2 companies that made my stay even more perfect: WisePricer and LocBox. So thanks to both of them and if you’re a retailer, selling online, you should really check them both.
During my last visit I started assembling a list of tips/facts/things to expect/you name it, for the newbie entrepreneur in town (not saying that I’m not newbie…). Here’s the list (in no particular order):
- It’s all about tech. If you’re not in tech you’re an alien.
- People work standing up. I guess someone wrote that it’s healthy…
- It’s ok to be rich here. You’ll have a lot of rich friends.
- On weekends with great weather the place to be at is Dolores park.
- Yosemite Park is not that close to SF as it seems. Driving all the way only to spend there one day is not such a great idea…
- Be prepared for a lot of Asian food. If you want to get lunch at a decent price, $6-$9, around SOMA, Asian is the default option.
- SF is fu#%#$^ expensive. Rent is insane.
- I found that GetAround and Lyft are better options than ZipCar (a lot of the times).
- There’s always a trendy blog post that everybody’s talking about. Nowadays it’s Do things that don’t scale by Paul Graham. A must read btw.
- If you’re using .NET, get the fu@% out of here. You’re not welcome.
- And if we’re talking about Microsoft and Windows, if you’re planning on coming to meetings with a Windows machine it’s like you’re underdressed. Go get yourself a MacBook and we’ll talk.
- Public transit suck. At least I wish it was better. If you’re going out of the city, rent a car (see tip #8)
- Forget about parking.
- You probably won’t meet anyone who was born and raised in SF.
- Tons of great music in SF. From the weirdest shit to mainstream. You’ll find it all.
- Engineers are scarce. If you’re a good engineer, come work for a company in the Bay Area. I promise you’ll get paid more than you get paid now outside startups kingdom.
- The same goes for great designers.
- And really good sales people.
- If you’ll drive 45 minutes in any direction (except the ocean…) the weather will be just great. When you get back to the city, check out the clouds. They are only above SF. It’s like god is saying: “well, you can’t get it all…”. BTW, I’m sure god lives in SF. And he’s got a startup. Maybe something with cloud…
- Speaking about god, everyone I met here is an atheist. I wonder if god joined the trend…
- Go to meetups. Connect with people. Talk with everyone. People are welcoming (usually…). The guy seating next to you in a coffee shop can be your next customer.
- People are willing to help. The SF tech scene works on a pay-it-forward model. So ask for advice and reach out to people. You’ll be surprised by people’s willingness to help. Just don’t forget to pay it forward.
- Coffee shops are a great place to work from if you’re coming for a short period. My favorite one is Wichcraft on 868 Mission st. But there are many great ones that won’t just kick you out because you’re costing them more than what you ordered…
- If you’re coming for a longer period coffee shops won’t do. Try one of the million co-working places around town. But even better, try to get a place at a growing startup. Usually they take more space than what they currently need because they leave space for growth. That’s where I worked from. My awesome friends from WisePricer (a growing startup) hosted me in their place which they rent from a larger startup, LocBox. This way you’ll get to see how these great startups you read about at TechCrunch run. It’s fascinating to see.
- Lastly, something general about the US which really annoys me. When you pay for stuff. The price you see is not the price you’re going to pay (because of tax addition). It doesn’t make any sense. I always feel like I’m being ripped off. Anchoring my brain on one price and then paying more.
Feel free to comment and add things to this list. I promise I’ll add the best ones to the post.