I am writing this Sharpe Byte while sitting at the San Francisco Airport waiting for my flight home after a week of visiting wineries, hiking the backwoods, and staying one step ahead of the ravaging wildfires.
California is a fascinating state. Its economy is the 5th largest in the world having launched most of the technologies now shaping the globe. This is the state where ridiculously high taxes, severe housing shortages & soaring fuel prices – with a gallon of gas costing nearly double that same gallon in Texas – are just part of the daily routine.
It’s a state of massive contradictions drenched in sunshine, agronomical delights, and an army of brilliant people willing to tolerate all its craziness for the sake of working in some of the most cutting-edge tech companies on the face of the earth. Do you want to transform the soon to be trillion dollar gaming industry? Then join Google’s Stadia development team in Los Angeles or Mountain View, CA. Do you want to end man’s reliance on carbon and put a dagger in the heart of the internal combustion machine? Check out Tesla in Palo Alto. Thinking of helping to build a rocket that will take humanity to Mars or launch tens of thousands of low earth satellites? There is always SpaceX, which is headquartered in Hawthorne, CA. Or, what if you simply want to replace the current monetary system? See Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, now working on the Libra Cryptocurrency.
Berkeley is technically outside the border of the Valley in Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco, but then who really worries about borders when you are hiring the most brilliant people in the universe to upend the established order at its very binary digit. This is the home of Steve Jobs – who spent every waking moment thinking of ways to take a hammer to the wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8
The point is non-debatable – the most brilliant companies in the world, coming up with the most techno brilliant ideas redefining how we do everything – are pretty much nestled up next to one another, within 1,854 square miles, and a population of 3 million. Every time I visit the Valley I am immediately taken away by just how many smart people there are riding public transit who code on their MacBooks waiting for their stop. This is a place people come to make a difference, even if the difference they make, causes AOC and most of Washington want to holler.
This place is uber techno smart (and yes – Uber’s HQ is in San Fran) and intent on not just changing the world – but obliterating the old established order cubit by cubit. On the very same afternoon that I’m sipping Cabernet with notes of chocolate, hints of cherry, and Cavendish, Google announces it had achieved quantum supremacy (is the singularity really near???) with its 54 cubit Sycamore processor.
First, let me be very clear. I am hardly a wine snob. I favor wine in a box to overpriced pinot noir – I have kids to get through college. And second, I don’t for a nanosecond understand how a quantum computer works. Who really does? What I do know is that this debate has huge implications for all mankind And the action is happening in places like Santa Barbara, CA — and not Austin, Houston, Denver …. or Tampa.