Regionalism

May 22, 2020

"Avoid others' germs. Like getting sick? I don't." Kind of funny, looking back. I wrote The Future is Distributed 18 months ago, long before anyone was talking about COVID or pandemics. These days, the grinding monotony of shelter-in-place has been a real test of my patience; it's shown the cracks in remote-first, or remote-only.

There are indeed advantages of working away from the office. But it's not without cost. Even the Buffers and Basecamps of the world, acolytes as they are of remote-first, gather together from time to time. Surely not for naught?

Now I'm reading everywhere that cities are over. Nice flashy headlines, but these things always take longer than you think. I think we might have reached the 90s dream of "paperless office" now, in 2020, but nobody's even paying attention anymore, and it didn't happen exactly as we thought. What resulted was a synthesis of old and new.

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis? I think regions will loom large in the future of work.

Living far enough away not to be forced into a telephone booth-sized apartment. Somewhere with a good school district and quality of life, away from the noise, smash-and-grabs, and casual crack smoking of the big city. None of those are hypotheticals to me. But close enough in to make the occasional in-person conference, investor meeting, or dinner when you need to.

Regionalism has gradations. I live in Oakland, far enough not to drive to Sunnyvale every day, though I'd consider a job down there. Housing costs about half as much here. Farther afield, one could choose Sacramento, or even Tahoe or Reno.

I saw some chatter about the tech scene in Wyoming on Twitter. That seems a little far-fetched.

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