You have these throngs of unshowered, stereotypically nerdy people lined up outside Moscone Center in the heart of #San_Francisco. Then all of a sudden, the clock strikes 10 a.m., and they stampede into the auditorium, all vying for the best seat to see guys like Sundar Pichai and Larry Page talk about A.P.I.s or something like that.
Nick: Oh, yes. “The Running of the Nerds,” as we call it. I agree, to me that is still incredibly bizarre. I think the strangest thing I witnessed was the way technology pervades every part of the city. I recently went to meet a friend who is a venture capitalist for a coffee at Sightglass, the local coffee shop, and he came barreling out of the cafe before I even had a chance to walk inside.
“What’s up?” I asked him, as he told me, sternly, we weren’t having coffee there.
“I was just standing in line behind two entrepreneurs that couldn’t be more than 19 years old and they were giving each other advice on how to fire people and run a company,” he said in a defeated tone.
Mike: Wow. At 19, I could barely balance a checkbook. Now I don’t even know if checkbooks exist anymore.
I think what strikes me is just how many things I find completely normalized that others just visiting are struck by.
Remember driving down the 101 freeway and looking at all the billboards? It seemed like every other advertisement was a recruiting pitch to young engineers. I got used to it, but my friends from out of town were baffled.
Nick: It’s interesting because I was in San Francisco last week and I walked past a driverless car. Then, a few minutes later, at the New York Times bureau, a drone hovered outside, taking pictures. In most cities in America, this would make it onto the 7 o’clock news, but in San Francisco, it’s just normal.
Mike: It’s like “Blade Runner” lite.