OPINION I hear a lot of talk, especially from my own queer community, about how “tech people” are ruining San Francisco. From skyrocketing rent prices and disappearing diversity to economic and cultural ruination, the tech community has become the scapegoat for a lot of the problems we are facing in the city as a whole. As a tech worker, I’m writing this to say: wake up and direct your anger at the real sources of these problems.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. The vast majority of “tech people” in San Francisco don’t make nearly as much money as you think they do. We are not all making six-figure salaries, we are not personally driving up rent costs, and we are not killing the cultural community here. Simply put, we are trying to further our careers and make the city we call home a nicer place to live.
From day one of living in San Francisco, I’ve put blood sweat and tears into building the cultural community in SF (music, mostly), and I’ll never stop doing that. I first moved here with my husband in 2006 from Indiana. I immediately immersed myself in the music scene here, forming a touring band and quickly becoming a booker and promoter for live shows. It wasn’t until several years into my time here that I snuck my way into the tech industry. Here I am, five years into my tenure at Bay Area music tech startup Thrillcall, hustling every day to help build music communities not only in SF, but across the country.
The tipping point for me, to be honest, was the nonsense of people beating up a Google bus piñata in the Mission, shouting epithets about how they’re the bane of San Francisco. The people that ride those buses are not to blame. They are not heading up that company, they don’t make millions of dollars, and they certainly don’t deserve the hatred being directed at them by many people here in San Francisco.
You know what is ruining San Francisco? Complacency. Apathy. Misguided hate. Inaction. Put some energy into making change, not senseless whining.
If you’re upset about rising rent costs, be angry at the money-hungry landlords that do absolutely nothing to put money back into the city or help build culture. Want SF prices to stop skyrocketing? Let’s organize and drive proposals with our city government. Upset about the recent sanitization of many of the lovely traditions and values of San Francisco? Get mad at Sup. Scott Weiner, who is actually supported by a lot of longtime, non-tech residents. Want more culture, arts, music? Maybe try reaching out to people that can help in the tech world instead of complaining about everything going downhill.
We are not the companies we work for, however large or small. Corporations, for the most part, suck.
We’re not the douche bags you think we are. Let’s put our energy toward doing good, instead of just pointing fingers. We all know that. Demonizing the people that work for them (while contributing to this wonderful city) is baseless, classless, and makes you look like a total dick.
A great deal can be accomplished if people take an active role toward coexisting, rather than shouting “ENEMY!” to anyone who will listen.
Johnny Koch is promotional manager, artist management, and site administrator at Thrillcall.