This is a very different blog post I write today, but I thought this could be interesting too. I attended a fiction writing workshop for the tech community last week and my 1st assignment was just to write something. It’s a little socially analytic and rather a reverie on the tech side, but I would love read your feedback!
Notes From the Fringes of the SF Tech Scene
A bird is singing. A bird? Yes, a bird is singing right outside my window. It’s a gorgeous day out, the sky a brilliant shade of blue and Glen Park is sleepily coming out of its peaceful slumber.
It’s a funny thing, living in Glen Park. It’s one of the few bastions of San Francisco neighborhoods still fighting off the assault of all the Googlers, and Facebookers, and miscellaneous other tech startupers engulfing the city with their 6 digit pay checks and voracious appetites for Meetups. In Glen Park, jogging strollers and bright-eyed family dogs are largely more ubiquitous than bespectacled coders. There are not Hackathons or startup houses, just families who have lived in San Francisco their whole lives enjoying brunch at Tyger’s.
Who am I to talk though? I’m a techie myself. Well, so to speak. I don’t know how to code, unless you count a few timid and rather futile flirtations with Codecademy and Le Site Du Zero. As fascinating as the world of web design and databases and compilers churning to keep making our applications faster are, music, writing and my cats and friends always stay steady at the top of my priorities. (I’m still working on mazimizing my time, sadly such a finite resource.) So how does the artsy, cat-obsessed, barely post-adolescent type get involved with startups? Why, doing everything the engineers don’t have the time or interest in doing: the marketing, the recruiting, the fundraising… there’s lots left, but nothing quite as fascinating (or glorious) as building.
Engineers are the kings of the Silicon Valley. They design, they build, they test and automate and optimize and release… some pretty amazing things. When I unlock my iPhone (or imagine using my retina to do so), I see just a few dozen of the many apps they have created that truly make my life more informed and enjoyable – the ones that get a drone to deliver my burrito, tell my scooter fill up on gas & pull up by the curb in front of my apartment in 10 minutes, or simply order me to get off my butt and go on a hike today (yes, my shirt knows what I did yesterday and it’s not happy!). Not to limit engineer’s work to apps, since the work they’re doing on automating and refining medicine, or on bringing space shittle flight to the masses is just as useful and even more revolutionary in many ways, but I simply can’t afford a digital doctor or shuttle ticket just yet. And while I too resent the conceited variety of engineer that patronizes me since I don’t know how to code, I love and admire the many humble, down to earth and caring engineers I have befriended over the years. They’ve always opened their brains to my desire to understand what they do and guided me through some pretty confusing online coding tutorials.
The hipsters engineers poke fun at on Hipster or Homeless aren’t the cool kids anymore. They just don’t bring any creative energy to the table, and as a quirky, curious kid in high school, this feels like a victory for the outsiders who cared about learning and inventing more than being cool and attractive. So while I continue to spend too much time blogging, writing and walking my cats, and birds just don’t sing when you’ve got $300+ headphones drowning the rest of the world out, I secretly hope Code Made Cool might just whip me up into tech royalty.