The Town

Oakland has a logo and its in contrast to San Francisco being called “The City”

In 2 weeks I will change jobs and work in Oakland instead of San Francisco. I’ve had a very short contract at Twitter, and was able to get fully immersed in Collibra and Alation – two commercial Data Catalog products which complete my education in this space, and a perfect segue from the Data Explorer I designed and built at Credit Karma:

Its been a very “interesting” year so far work wise, and I am very pleased with my next chapter – I feel like I am finally landing at “home”. I have worked in Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland before, and the commute is so much better than going into San Francisco. Oakland is a new boom town – the number of cranes and construction sites is amazing right now. I hope this means that I won’t have to commute into San Francisco any more – I really feel done with that trek. San Francisco is ridiculously over stuffed with tech companies – and I fully expect that there will be a “spill over” effect to the East Bay.

I can see Roundtop and Sibley from my house (not Russia!)

My new job will be 3 BART stops away, and will be about 15 minutes commute time. It cuts off a good half hour of my commute and in recent years I have grown really tired of commuting into San Francisco.

We own a house in Oakland, so we have been connected to The Town for a while. Our part of Orinda borders a really nice part of Oakland, and the other side of route 24 borders a really nice part of Berkeley – so Orinda is a pretty interesting place – a real oasis in the SF Bay Area. Some people would be surprised to learn that Oakland has a redwood grove and regional park that looks more like Mill Valley or John Muir in Marin than something in the East Bay:

Redwood Regional Park

I lived in San Francisco from 1984 – 1994 and then moved to Lafayette, and now Orinda. I knew the City was changing, and I knew I had to get out. As far as I’m concerned, the Dot Con ruined San Francisco because it has led to a situation where only the filthy rich can live there. Oakland is still relatively affordable – at least compared to San Francisco. Young people can purchase a house half the price as the cheapest cracker box in San Francisco (like out in the Sunset – almost all the way to Daly City).

When I lived in San Francisco, I remember artists lamenting that the “Manhattanization” of SF was happening. That was almost quaint compared to what has happened since the 80’s. But it does parallel what happened between Manhattan and the “Jersey Side”, and so I am well aware of how this unfolds.

The wonderful Fox Theatre in Oakland

I love Oakland – its much cleaner than San Francisco. Its also less crowded, but I do expect that we are about to see a big change – and its totally the spillover effect from SF. I do expect for several years – at the next phase of this already long running boom, it will be very interesting and even fun, and I do hope that it turns out better than it has for SF. SF is way too crowded and way too dirty these days – and the juxtaposition of filthy rich to homelessness is downright shocking and really sad. That hits you the minute you come up out of any BART or Muni subway in SF.

Don’t get me wrong, Oakland has it’s share of problems, but San Francisco has these problems on a scale that is downright sad. I predict that soon, there will be a trend of San Francisco tech companies leaving The City. Two of the companies I have worked for have done this, one to Austin and the other is slowly starting it’s move to Charlotte and Oakland.

The most ironic thing is that an IT shop can be located anywhere. I say open up shop in old rust belt towns and revive their economies. It makes zero sense to be concentrated in the SF Bay area. In fact, work from home even. We are all connected via video conference anyway.

Berkeley has been able to stay Berkeley. When we went to a recent show at the Starry Plough, it seemed like we were transported back to the 80’s. That was really nice. I expect that Oakland won’t be able to stave off growth – but I seriously doubt it will become another San Francisco.

Drakes Brewing “Dealership” – in an old Auto Repair shop location

There is a radio angle to all of this – Oakland used to have several serious electronic manufacturing companies – the big transformer in my KWS-1 was made in Oakland – and they were made for Collins – so I was very pleased to see the Oakland plate on the transformer when I was doing work on the Power Supply. I have also seen advertisements in old QST’s for several other electronic parts manufacturers that were in Oakland.

The KPIG AM transmitter site is close by, as is Ham Radio Outlet and a bunch of other little nooks, crannies and interesting places. It’s a much lesser known place than San Francisco and does feel more like a Town than a City, and I expect it will be this way at least 5 – 6 years, maybe a decade.

OK – on my way to my next chapter, and I very much look forward to this and am excited by it.

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