Posted by Tom Foremski - July 15, 2014
I'm adamant that San Francisco shouldn't be allowed to be made into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley's business parks. Original ideas require original experiences and companies should take advantage of that and not force their staff onto a bus and ship them to a central holding facility for the day.
San Francisco offers a treasure trove of original experiences. Silicon Valley staff should be told to stay off the bus, telecommute, and get out and about. It'll generate new experiences and possibly new ideas. The same experience every day, waiting for your cubicle to pick you up, won't generate anything new.
Why do we have hundreds of To-Do list apps, Email managers, calendars, get-food-delivered apps...? There's a cornucopia of mundane and me-too apps. Original ideas come from original experiences. Watching the world on Youtube or from a bus window doesn't work. You have to be in it which is a good thing.
By staying off the bus the tech workers become integrated into their neighborhoods. If they stay off the bus their neighbors might even get to know them.
City or company culture?
Inclusion works better for communities than division. The tech workers might even notice some city problems and come up with an app for that.
Separation works better for establishing company culture and that's why Google and the others do it. It never used to be cool to be seen as a "company man" or woman. Eating at the company store and hanging with the company all day, and only using company services. That's a cultural win for Google et al, because that was not considered remotely cool for many decades.
Can the needs of corporate culture trump community culture? Maybe, but in the long term community needs will always win out over the demands of company culture and that's what city officials will ultimately choose. Because company culture is in its very nature and reason for existence, divisive and not inclusive. That's not a good thing especially for a city, where every kind of people have to live together and learn how to sort out problems together.
[London is an excellent example of how the culture has managed to teach people from so many countries, how to peacefully live together, marry together, and create a future together. The UK media deserves much of the credit.]
Here is a needlessly long post by Bryan Boyer. I love the sub-head [The big innovations of Silicon Valley are not technical but social]. This bit at the end echoes my views about San Francisco.
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Re-engaging with the public realm is the most fundamental tool that companies (and groups of companies) have to connect with the public, to understand needs more holistically, and to convert that understanding into longterm public and private value.
...Seclusion may make it easier to develop technology, but it’s a barrier to deeper innovations in how we live together as a society. Pop the bubble, come out of that garage...