It’s become a perverted Bizarro world

Friday, November 24th, 2017

Tim Ferriss explains why he left the Bay Area for Austin, Texas:

Indeed, I have relocated to Austin TX. After 17 years or so, I decided to leave Silicon Valley.

This answer could be a mini-novel, but suffice to say, here are a few reasons:

1) I wanted to move to Austin after college but didn’t get the job at Trilogy Software. Since 2007, I’ve visited Austin every year and felt the pull to move there each time. It a wonderful exploding scene of art, music, film, tech, food, and more. The people are also — in general — much friendlier.

2) After effectively “retiring” from angel investing 2 years ago, I have no professional need to be SF or the Bay Area.

3) Silicon Valley is often a culture of cortisol, of rushing, and of fear of missing out (FOMO). There is also a mono-conversation of tech that is near impossible to avoid (much like entertainment is some parts of LA), where every dinner has some discussion of rounds of funding, investing, and who is doing what with Uber, Amazon, or someone else. This can be dodged, but it takes very real and consistent effort. I don’t want to spend 20-30% of my daily mental calories on avoiding the mono-conversation.

4) Even though Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of brilliant people I’ve found anywhere in the world, it also has the highest concentration of people who think they’re brilliant. The former are often awesome, keenly self-aware, and even self-deprecating (let’s call that 15% of the population), but the latter are often smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, and intolerable (let’s call that 60% of the population). That ratio just no longer works for me. It’s too much. This asshole inflation usually corresponds to bubbles (I’ve seen it before), when fair-weather entrepreneurs and investors flood the scene.

5) Silicon Valley also has an insidious infection that is spreading — a peculiar form of McCarthyism masquerading as liberal open-mindedness. I’m as socially liberal as you get, and I find it nauseating how many topics or dissenting opinions are simply out-of-bounds in Silicon Valley. These days, people with real jobs (unlike me) are risking their careers to even challenge collective delusions in SF. Isn’t this supposed to be where people change the world by challenging the consensus reality? By seeing the hidden realities behind the facades? That’s the whole reason I traveled west and started over in the Bay Area. Now, more and more, I feel like it’s a Russian nesting doll of facades — Washington DC with fewer neck ties, where people openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified. It’s weird, unsettling, and, frankly, really dangerous. There’s way too much power here for politeness to be sustainable. If no one feels they can say “Hey, I know it makes everyone uncomfortable, but I think there’s a leak in the fuel rods in this nuclear submarine…” we’re headed for big trouble.

6) Golden Gate and tech are terrorist targets, and I don’t like being close to the bullseye. This is based on good information from friends who work full-time in threat assessment.

7) I really like the sun and SF is foggy.

8) BBQ.

9) Austin is far more dog-friendly than SF.

10) Sometimes you need to think about the “where” of happiness and change your scenery to prompt new chapters in your life.

In the end, I absolutely LOVE the Bay Area, but it’s become a perverted Bizarro world version of what attracted me there in 2000. Many of my best friends in the world are there, and it pained me to leave, but I had to relocate for my own sanity, growth, and happiness.

Oh, and one more time: Texas BBQ.

Hope that helps clarify a bit!



  1. Cripes says:

    And he will bring the disease with him. Woe to Texas. This guy is a plague.

  2. Slovenian Guest says:

    Sounds like white flight to me.

  3. Bob Sykes says:

    “I’m as socially liberal as you get…”

    Unfortunately, yet another example of Californication.

    But, just how bad are the thought police if even a liberal is intimidated.

    I am reminded that in the building where my wife works, every faculty door has the same progressive posters. No just progressive, but the same ones.

  4. Sam J. says:

    The difference between “McCarthyism” now and McCarthy was McCarthy was mostly right.

  5. Graham says:

    I concede I haven’t necessarily agreed with Sam J but that last observation is spot on on both counts.

    Also, I’ve never been but fairly widespread rumour has it that Austin is basically transplanted bourgeois California already.

  6. Lost German says:

    I love BBQ. This is how the rootless cosmopolitain views a place; people’s homes, a culture, a shared history and a long lineage of values instilled through a reckoning with Truth, through taming a land and serving something higher than one’s taste for a particular sauce.

    My visits to Austin were always pleasant, but even ten years ago – my last trip, Austin felt oddly familiar to me. Like I was visiting Orange County, CA from west LA where I lived. That’s when I crossed Austin off my list.

    Places like Austin are a cannibals playground. These cities have enough livestock to satiate the predators, but have been spiritually gutted to the point where the wolves no longer need to wear sheep’s skin at risk of being center-massed from an idling F-150 at the gate.

    The gold-rush of opportunists and vampires who love love love sushi and ramen and bacon-wrapped food trucks flock to cities like Austin because they need a stocked pond.

    Their prior ponds being overrun by anglers resembling them in all ways, like narcissus seeing his shameful reflection everywhere he goes, the *problem* obviously becomes one of geography.

    Progressive death-cult takers like Tim need to keep moving just like the snake-oil hucksters of the old prairie, as the byproducts of their own religion salt the earth as they go.

    It’s a shame that what he believes to be dangerous is not what awaits him, but what he is fleeing.

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