[C]ities around the country have had to tackle our economic problems
largely on our own. Local elected officials are responsible for doing, not debating. For innovating, not arguing. For pragmatism, not partisanship. We have to deliver results at the local level – and that’s one reason why, since the 2008 financial collapse, most of the U.S. job growth has happened in cities. (link)
I’m not a very political person. I vote in elections years; have a basic political philosophy. That’s about it. That changed recently, and primarily for pragmatic reasons.
We at SV Angel believe that San Francisco will be the next big technology hub in the world. If anyone cares, I can explain why we think this “time is different” in a later post. But we’re not alone in thinking this.
Therefore we’ve been spending an unusual amount of our time working on stuff related to SF-related causes and issues. That’s why we are so active in sf.citi. We’re doing this because we believe it is directly relevant to our core business of investing in and advising startups. If most of our portfolio companies are in San Francisco, and the city doesn’t have the infrastructure or support to absorb this growth, then eventually companies will flee. For example, imagine the next few years when companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Dropbox, and others grow from the hundreds to thousands of employees. Imagine the mundane but critical issues that will grow in scope – parking, housing, and transportation. That doesn’t even touch the more sensitive issues of what constitutes “pro-growth” policies from tax, legislative and regulatory standpoints.
And as we’ve worked harder on this, I personally have learned “delivering results” at the city level is about working on things like Prop E. This proposal replaces a current city tax based on number of employees with a number based on revenue. It has broad-based support. It generally helps fast-growing, smaller tech companies whose employee headcount often outpaces revenue. We at SV Angel believe and hope that they will be engine of job growth in San Francisco. We support this as well as sf.citi.
If your eyes have glazed over by now, I don’t blame you. That used to (and still happens) to me. The point of this post is not to advocate for Prop E. The point is to highlight what I have learned – that if we as a tech community want to make San Francisco the “next Silicon Valley” then we have to get involved in how the sausage is made. If we don’t, then we will have missed a historic opportunity.
If your company is based in SF: