On March 24th, the sixth anniversary of my big move to San Francisco, the day of our Green:Net 09 conference, I got to hang out with the Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom. Looks like he is headed to Sacramento and could very well be the next Governor of California. He delivered a speech and then stayed at the conference meeting cleantech entrepreneurs. He is pretty serious about turning San Francisco into the epicenter of green technologies. (See first his speech & then an interview with our team.)
On a more personal note — I didn’t really want to stay in San Francisco, but now reluctantly am on my way to becoming a native. I vividly remember the day when Josh Quittner, then the editor of Business 2.0 met me on a cold rainy day in Manhattan and offered me a job to come work for him. My then employer, Red Herring had just shutdown. I instantly liked Josh, but the idea of moving to San Francisco wasn’t quite appealing.
I loved my life in New York. Two of my best friends in the whole wide world lived in New York. I had a real life “social network” that actually was wider than my current Facebook network. There were chefs, artists, bankers, journalists, authors, novelists, deejays, club kids, and just average New Yorker.
More importantly, I loved New York – its vibrancy, its rawness, its challenges, and its absolute coldness. I love its ambition, I love its rudeness, and I loved the fact that it would be there long after we are all gone. Its hugeness and my nothingness made New York special. New York is the world.
And yet, with the turn of the door knob, you could leave all the buzz behind and enter into a quiet place called your apartment. I loved Tamarind, Steak Frites, Scratcher and dozens of places where over a decade of memories were formed.
San Francisco & I have had a love hate relationship. I love the sheer beautiy of this city. I am enthralled by the fog, the constantly mutating weather. The romance of the fog horn at 4.30 in the morning cannot be described by words. The idea of living in the same town where one of my favorite American writers, Dashiell Hammett, crafted his best work is enthralling, to say the least. I reluctantly moved to the city. First few months were hard so I let Business 2.0 become the center of my life. Reporting & writing — that is all I did. Before you knew it was three years and I left to start my own company. The relationships became firmer and stronger. A new network emerged and started to grown. I haven’t found my place in the city, but I have found my people in San Francisco. Not a day doesn’t go by when I don’t feel blessed to know all of them.
My startup and my most awesome team, my partners at True Ventures, my real social network of old-and-new friends and most importantly my doctors at UCSF have made me embrace the city by the bay. After Delhi and New York, this has become my third home town. Perhaps now in addition to The New York Yankees, I will also cheer for Oakland Athletics. (A little less for the Yanks because they have A-Fraud.)
Yet, unlike Tony Bennett, I left my heart in New York. And that is where it will stay.
Photos by Joey Wan