San Francisco Bay Area: Home to the Modern Enlightenment?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, which used to be on your grandparents’ bookshelf, the Enlightenment is the 17th and 18th century intellectual movement in Europe that led to revolutionary developments in art, philosophy and politics. The Earth had not seen such a radical transformative movement since the philosophers of ancient Greece, and only the Industrial Revolution has arguably had such a profound impact since.
Has our cultural focus on decades (the counterculture of the 1960s, the introduction of yuppies and neon in the 1980s and the emergence of millennials in the 2000s, to name a few) blinded us to the larger technological revolution we’re currently experiencing?
There are parolees who have served their time and are re-entering the population who have never known what it is like to use a cell phone, let alone a smartphone with virtually any app you can think of.
Life as we know it has drastically changed as a result of technology.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in a garage in Los Altos, California. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were in a Menlo Park, California garage when they kicked off a project that turned into Google. Hewlett-Packard was founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage.
All of these garage-to-success stories began in Northern California and were part of the spirit of free thinking and innovation that was born out of the influence of San Francisco, the region’s cultural hub. While other geographic areas are well-known for their tech influence (e.g., Seattle, Austin) and just about every major city extolls its growth in tech, the San Francisco Bay Area has maintained its grasp as the technology mother ship.
Grab lunch in San Francisco’s SOMA district (suits not allowed) and you’re sure to overhear a startup pitch, coding jargon or the latest gamer buzz. Across the Bay Area, technology has disrupted traditional industries.
Bay Area media are as tech-savvy as any around the globe. The top public relations firms in San Francisco have built on their small-agency roots to evolve as leading content creators across digital and social media. Even financial advisers who have embraced tech are seeing more success.
According to the Bay Area Council , “stagnating federal investment in basic research, declining state funding for higher education and immigration policies that limit access to global talent are threatening to erode the Bay Area’s position as the world’s premier center for technology and innovation.”
No one knows where or when this latest movement will reach its end. However, the San Francisco Bay Area weathered the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and emerged stronger. Any movement is difficult to assess while it’s happening, but one thing is certain: technology and innovation are spreading globally. Everyone has a role to play in how we move forward, which is perhaps the greatest disruption yet.