Day 376

Much like my visit to St. Louis, I’ve come to find San Francisco is home to a very affable creative community. Part of this stems from the fact that many of the city’s shops reside in the neighborhoods of North Beach and Telegraph Hill. In these two adjoined northeast areas, you’ll find the likes of Razorfish, Heat SF, Publicis, Brave One, HUGE, FCB West, McCann and of course, Evolution Bureau. So, it’s not uncommon to see the various teams come together for a quick lunch or a few drinks after work. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of tight knit communities, so this discovery delights me to no end. Just because we’re all rivals, doesn’t mean we can’t become fast friends.

Another interesting tidbit I’ve noticed about San Francisco is the number of company campuses. Much like those I saw in Seattle from Amazon and Microsoft, several businesses here have purchased entire city blocks and transformed them into their own little branded worlds. I can’t help but feel this trend is mostly regulated to the west coast though. From what I’ve seen on my travels, most companies tend to expand up and not out. But, they don’t seem to follow that rule over here. Instead, they utilize their space to build parks, patios and accommodations for their employees. I only need look across the street to see a great example too, since the EVB office is adjacent to the Levi Jeans campus. 

All in all, it’s become rather apparent that San Francisco has a very unique ecosystem all its own. Things run a bit differently here and people are happy to go with the flow. That’s why I can’t help but wonder if EVB is nervous about their upcoming move to Oakland. With all the big players being housed here, EVB really is leading the way in many regards. They’re venturing out on their own and trying something new—a stance I fully commend them on.

I know they'll be fine though, because after two weeks of being here I can already tell it's the right thing for them to do. Not because they aren’t happy here, but because they truly enjoy being pioneers in the field. You can see it in their work, their philosophies, their overflowing ambition—and now—their commitment to change.

On a slightly different front, San Francisco is actually dealing with a rather annoying storm system at the moment (if you haven’t already heard). And it’s arrived just in time to postpone tonight’s EVB holiday party. I’m actually a bit relieved, because I don’t have any dress clothes with me. Ah, the joys of living out of a tiny suitcase. It's certainly something I won't miss come February. 


Day 316

Day 316 says, “Hey, I’m in Seattle and things are going great!” And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold Steve said so.

Now that I got the outdated 90’s reference out of the way, I think it best to move on.

One thing I find rather interesting about Seattle is its ability to balance two very different personalities at the same time. On one hand, you have this quaint little harbor town, filled with specialty shops and a wide array of artisans and do-it-yourselfers. They push healthy living, farm-fresh ingredients and supporting all things local. Even when walking downtown, you could easily forget you’re in the presence of skyscrapers, because at street level, the whole area still maintains that ‘small town’, residential feel.

And the people? They’ve all adopted the punk rock mentality—one that says, “We can’t rely on others to do it for us, so we’ll do it ourselves". Heck, just take a stroll around Capitol Hill and I challenge you to find a single lamp post that isn’t covered in six feet of flyers, posters and event notices.

On the other hand, Seattle is extremely modern and if you ever take in one of the city’s stunning views, you’d think that mentality never ends. The cuisine is more upscale; the newer apartments offer bright colors, stainless steel appliances and a copious amount of amenities—all housed in neighborhoods that are seemingly popping up over night. There’s also a lot of new construction going on in the city—enough to rival that of Austin—and the blame seems to be squarely on Amazon.

Personally, I think you could equally blame Google and the wealth of other companies who are building offices here too. But given that Amazon is literally building its own neighborhood, I can understand the frustration. True, jobs aren’t a bad thing at all, especially for a city with a rather visible homeless problem. But if the city were to lose it’s charm and character in the shadows of high rises and glass buildings, you have to question if it’s worth it.

Despite these very disparate characteristics, Seattle maintains a balance that few cities are capable of. The residential areas offer more than you’d expect and the downtown areas still feel like home. It’s a place where people find happiness in their healthy lifestyles, but still have a tendency to go out and indulge on a weekly basis; a place where goths and punks can freely roam the streets, without seeming out of place. In Seattle, creativity is king and there’s no point in hiding it, because it’s on display in every corner of every neighborhood.