Tech Workers Flee San Francisco

Cars drive along the Golden Gate Bridge under an orange smoke filled sky at midday in San Francisco, California on September 9, 2020. - More than 300,000 acres are burning across the northwestern state including 35 major wildfires, with at least five towns "substantially destroyed" and mass evacuations taking place. …
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Employees of tech companies in San Francisco, California, can’t leave the city fast enough, fleeing for the potential tech hubs of tomorrow such as Austin, Texas, and Miami, Florida. One former San Francisco exec said: “what else can God and the world and government come up with to make the place less livable?”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been fielding inquiries from top executives in the tech world, such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, according to a report by NBC News.

The report added that the mayor has also met with former Google Chairman and Clinton lackey Eric Schmidt, and the chairman of Palantir, Peter Thiel, among others.

“There is absolutely no doubt that a big part of the reason why they are moving is that they feel that there is an inhospitable environment for regulation and taxation,” said Suarez.

Miami is not the only city experiencing this type of migration, as tech employees from San Francisco are fleeing to other states offering them better opportunities as well.

Tech workers living in San Francisco had once believed that the high rent, high taxes, long commute to work, and rude neighbors were worth it if they could live in “the epicenter of a boom that was changing the world,” reported SFGATE.

But now, in the wake of the pandemic, tech workers can’t flee the city fast enough, as spending months working remotely in other towns has shown them that the quality of life can be higher elsewhere.

“Tech workers and their bosses realized they might not need all the perks and after-work schmooze events. But maybe they needed elbow room and a yard for the new puppy. A place to put the Peloton. A top public school,” noted SFGATE.

And so they fled to more affordable places, like Georgia, and states with no income taxes, like Texas and Florida. The report added that the number one choice of relocation for people leaving San Francisco is Austin, Texas.

John Gardner, the founder and CEO of the remote personal training startup Kickoff — who fled San Francisco for Miami Beach — told SFGATE that he can’t help but wonder, “what else can God and the world and government come up with to make the place less livable?”

 

Justin Kan, who co-founded Twitch, tweeted to his followers in August last year, asking them where he should move.

“We’re selling our house and moving out of SF. Where should we go and why?” asked Kan.

“Come to Austin with us. Growing tech ecosystem and Texas is the best place to make a stand together for a free society,” responded Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder of software company Palantir.

 

The report added that there are currently 33,000 members in a Facebook group called “Leaving California,” as well as 51,000 members in its sister group, “Life After California.” In the groups, people share photos of moving trucks, and links to property listings in new cities.

“When people decide to leave San Francisco, they usually don’t know where they want to go, they just want to go,” said Terry Gilliam, the founder of both Facebook groups.

Bear Kittay, the co-founder Good Money, echoed those sentiments, and even acknowledged that some people may find themselves relocating to “a place that is more conservative.”

“The things that make this city ill are not within my control to change,” said Kittay of San Francisco.

“A lot of people are choosing to go to places where there’s opportunity,” he added. “And maybe it’s a place that is more conservative and there can be an integration of dialogue.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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