San Francisco is in the midst of a mass migration. During the first dotcom boom, tech companies set up shop further down the Peninsula, in suburban Silicon Valley towns such as Cupertino, Mountain View and Menlo Park. But in recent years, San Francisco has been outpacing the Valley in job growth. While the Valley is still home to industry titans such as Apple, Google and Facebook, the next generation of giants – Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox – are all based in the city. Downtown San Francisco is a tangle of cranes, and the Salesforce Tower, once complete, will be the tallest building in the city. Even Silicon Valley stalwarts such as Google, Yahoo and LinkedIn have expanded their presence in the city. And the startup scene, too, is flourishing.
San Francisco’s business culture is famously casual. Handshakes are customary, but don’t be too surprised if someone gives you a hug instead
In 2011, the city offered a tax break to draw tech firms to the long-neglected Mid-Market neighbourhood and so far more than a dozen companies, including Zendesk, Twitter and Yammer, have taken advantage. Advances in technology have also enabled the industry’s transformation to a more urban aesthetic – no longer does starting a tech company require a huge office space to house masses of servers. The influence of the industry is visible everywhere in San Francisco – from the ads for software-as-a-service companies at San Francisco International Airport to the masses of Uber and Lyft cars that troll the city’s streets.
San Francisco’s business culture is famously casual. Handshakes are customary, but don’t be too surprised if someone gives you a hug instead. Text messages are nearly as common as emails. Silicon Valley prides itself on efficiency and business dealings are typically direct and to the point – often over a friendly cup of coffee or drinks.