Although I’m not from the area originally, I never hesitate to sing San Francisco’s praises.  As an entrepreneur, I can’t help but feel that living in such an inspiring area has helped me to become both a better business owner and a better person.

Here’s why…

Reason #1 – The “Change Your World” Mentality

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is that – for the most part – everyone who lives here is trying to make the world a better place.  Whether that’s through helpful mobile apps or physical products that meet unmet needs doesn’t matter.  The simple fact that most of the people here are legitimately striving to make measurable improvements in the world around them creates an atmosphere of positivity that’s incredibly inspiring to entrepreneurs.

As a result of this mindset, you have a culture that values hard work and discipline.  Everyone who lives here – from the highschoolers on up to the 50-year-old, first-time entrepreneurs – is busting their asses to bring something new to the world around them.  Whether or not you know it, you’re changing the world – creating an incredibly powerful, motivating atmosphere to work in.

Reason #2 – The Lessons Learned from Failed Companies

Obviously, not everyone who moves to the Bay area becomes instantly successful, which results in plenty of failed businesses.  But the beauty of San Francisco is that the entrepreneurs here don’t take these thousands of failures as evidence that the economy itself is failing, or that it simply isn’t the right time to try and grow a successful business.  Instead, we draw lessons from every single example and use them to power our own successes.

As an example, one of my favorite lessons I’ve learned from seeing businesses around here fail is the importance of finding a sustainable revenue model right off the bat.  By implementing this lesson into my own startups, I’m able to save time and money by leveraging the lessons I’ve learned from other peoples’ mistakes.

Reason #3 – The Inspiration Drawn from Successful Businesses

Of course, not every new business launched in the San Francisco area fails.  In fact, every day, dozens of companies are raising millions of dollars in new funding or selling for hundreds of millions dollars– and it’s tremendously inspiring to see these business owners execute growth strategies successfully.

You better believe that this is plenty motivating.  As a business owner, I know that there are people around here who are willing to invest financially in good ideas.  Simply knowing this drives me to take my own business to the next level, each and every day.

Reason #4 – The Geek Culture

In the popular media, geeks and nerds are often mocked as outcasts – but here, they’re celebrated as professionals who bring something special to the community.

Personally, I’ve learned a ton from just spending time around the number of developers that live in this area.  I’ve learned how developers think, how to work with them and how to manage them as effectively as possible.  And even if this isn’t knowledge I use every day, I know for a fact that this exposure will help me at some point in my career.

I also really love the “A/B testing” mentality you get around the Bay.  Because there are so many results-oriented entrepreneurs living in the area, A/B testing is ingrained in everyone and everything that happens here.  As a result, I’m continually tweaking elements in my personal, financial and business activities (even down to the smallest things like my email signature) in order to obtain the best possible ROI from life.

Reason #5 – The “Just Fucking Do It” (JFDI) Approach

Really, in my opinion, this should be #1 on my list, but I’ve found that it takes new residents at least a year to pick up on this unique element of San Francisco culture (heck, it took me at least a year after moving here to get it and another six months before I was fully able to act on it!).

Here’s the thing…

Everyone has big ideas and big dreams.  Great ideas don’t make you some sort of enlightened genius – in fact, they don’t differentiate you from everyone else on the planet at all, unless you act on them!

Because of this, one of my biggest pet peeves in the world is people who talk a big game – whether about chasing their dream jobs or launching new companies – but then fail to act because they’re afraid of failing.

San Franciscans get it.  Maybe it’s naiveté or maybe it’s sheer ignorance of the magnitude of some business decisions, but – in general – they’re far more interested in taking a stab at things than sitting back and wondering whether or not an idea will pan out.  They embody the “just fucking do it” approach that other entrepreneurs like Derek Neighbors and Chase Granberry recommend, and the result is an atmosphere of excited productivity that benefits all of the entrepreneurs in the city.

Reason #6 – The Fun!

I promise – San Francisco isn’t all “hard work and no play.”  We work hard, but we also know how to let loose and enjoy the festivals, parades and events that seem to happen all the time here.  Seriously, it feels like there’s some sort of event or party happening every day – there’s just that much shit going on in this city.

Not that we let the amount of fun activities happening here throw us off our games.  Entrepreneurs in San Francisco know how to let our down-time power our working hours.  We’ll work our asses off during the week, let loose on the weekends and then get back to pounding the pavement – refreshed and recharged – when Monday rolls around again.

Reason #7 – The Amazing Food and Wine

Okay, this one doesn’t have much to do with business productivity for entrepreneurs, but I really feel like the caliber of food and wine that can be found in this city deserves special mention on any list about San Francisco.

Right now, I’ve got a list of hundreds of different places I want to eat at in this city.  Restaurant owners here are constantly pushing the bar on new and creative ways to serve food and drinks, making it possible to bar- and food-hop as long as your stomach can take it!

(As an added bonus, all that delicious food gives you all the energy you need to “just fucking do it” when it comes to your business!)

Reason #8 – The Culture of Naiveté

My final reason that you should move to San Francisco is one I briefly touched on earlier – the amazing culture of naiveté that permeates this city.

Everyone here thinks that his idea is the best one ever to grace Planet Earth.  It doesn’t matter that most people launching businesses here don’t have “real world experience” – in fact, that usually makes them better entrepreneurs.

When you don’t know what you’re doing, you aren’t bogged down by negative experiences or haunted by “ghosts of failed businesses past.”  Instead of wasting time envisioning potential failure points or stumbling blocks, entrepreneurs here focus on what they *can* do and what types of things they need to learn in order to be successful.  And when you see that mindset being utilized day-in and day-out, it’s hard not to embrace it yourself, bringing about more productivity than you ever thought possible.

So basically, if you feel like your current environment might be sabotaging your productivity and you’re ready for a change, consider San Francisco.  From the motivating atmosphere to the great food, drinks, events and people, moving here is a great way to immerse yourself in a geek-friendly, entrepreneur-driven culture that’s great for business.

Hope to see you around!

  1. I absolutely love San Francisco! Great article for any entrepreneur that may be wondering a way to better/grow his business. Thanks Sujan

  2. Thank you for the insight and inspiration. I live in Sacramento ATM.. lot of state workers and a absence of JFDI.

  3. This is the best, most truthful article you have ever written!!! The amount of personal, social, professional & financial growth to be gained in The Bay is immense. The best part is that SF has no requirements or boundaries, I believe that anyone can be successful here if they embrace all that this area has to offer. Great article!

  4. I love SF too. SF makes me enegetic. You feel like get out there & live the life & smell the fresh air instead of driving around every where. SF offers both of the world personal growth as well as Financial Growth. Very inspiring article.

  5. Hey Sujan

    Great post. I’ve been thinking of moving to SF…but the first reason really made a dent with me.

    I think it’s actually more of a disadvantage (for me it is) that everyone there is trying to save the world. If you run a SaaS business, the number of people you impact is most likely significantly less than if you were to do B2C. Hence, it makes you want to go into B2C, which a lot of times isn’t profit-oriented. And, as a result you end up going into the rat race of “Oh jeez, I hope this (mobile app/social startup/social network/b2c site) really hits it big that way I hit the jack pot”.

    I guess it depends on what kind of business you’re trying to build, I might be wrong as I’ve never been to SF. For me, it’s all about building a long-term company, so I’m OK not changing the world.

  6. Good read Sujan. I’ve got a friend from here in Australia who recently visited Silicon Valley. One of the big things he took away was similar to your 8th reason, the culture that backs everyone (even the naive ideas) and want them to succeed. Such encouragement and belief makes a big difference.

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