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I thought from the title that this would be about how up-and-coming founders think the stereotypically SV way of doing things is bad (equity-rich comp, expensive catering for lunch, homogeneity of political views, etc).

Instead, it’s about how young Chinese entrepreneurs are underwhelmed by the lack of penetration of new technologies into daily life on the Peninsula. The whole thing reads like a submarine article artfully placed by the Shenzhen Economic Development Committee, especially given its ending quote: "China is like a startup. The U.S. is like a big corporation”.

One point within the article strikes me as especially bad. The author notes that, “Especially for those in their 20s and 30s, last week’s visit largely failed to impress. To many in the group, northern California’s low-rise buildings looked shabbier than the glitzy skyscrapers in Beijing and Shenzhen.” The clear implication here is that California’s relative backwardness is evidenced by the shabbiness of local buildings.

But that’s entirely the wrong conclusion to draw! The story here is that rich people don’t like new construction near where they live, and a lot of wealth has been created on the Peninsula in the last few decades. The NIMBY-zoning-driven damper on new office construction in the last few years has resulted in a lack of office space relative to demand, which means that it’s a seller’s market, which disincentivizes landlords from renovating buildings....and the onerous zoning makes it virtually impossible for property developers to build new ones.




> expensive catering for lunch

Having lunch at work is not at all unusual in China, though usually at a lower budget.

> a submarine article artfully placed...

I dunno man, I haven't been to Shenzhen, but the last time I was in Shanghai was mid-2017. I felt like Silicon Valley was some remote backwater. It's not just about shining new buildings. The Shanghai subways are new and shiny, has advanced adtech, and most importantly, does not smell at all like pee (Bart riders know what I'm talking about), and it runs every 2-3 minutes. It takes 3-ish hours to go from Beijing to Shanghai by high speed rail, which is also shiny, new, and has a really nice business class. Anything you need with 2-hour shipping, not 2-day shipping. Not just the limited selection Amazon deigns to put on Prime Now (which typically does not include hardware components).

When I work on an Arduino hobby project, and I suddenly need a component my local Fry's doesn't have, I don't have to wait 2 weeks for shipping. In China, I'd be able to walk to the market and get it the same day.

Look, I still choose to live in Silicon Valley, but admittedly, in Shanghai, there were zero people pooping in the streets, and during the entire time I was there, I was ranted at or yelled at by a complete stranger exactly zero times. And number of times I have been followed by a creepy stranger in Shanghai who might do me harm: zero.


  The Shanghai subways are new and shiny, has advanced adtech, 
... And most comforting of all, you can see the air you're breathing!


Actually, during most of my trip, the PM2.5 daily forecasts were in the good (green) category, and it dipped into fair (yellow) for only one day.

For a more intuitive comparison, the 'fair' day was clearer than Black Rock Desert on a non-windy day before Burning Man gets set up.


  has advanced adtech
This is one SV critique I've not seen before: inferior or insufficient adtech.


There were LEDs outside the subway that synced to the movement of the train to play ads, including:

1) Skechers is having a sale on (some date) at (address), and there's a dude in sneakers doing breakdance moves, 2) upcoming episode teaser for a period drama.


I don’t think this is fully explanatory. I have lived in the Bay Area for almost 30 years, and, to borrow a term from our illustrious President, San Francisco is more of a shithole now than it has ever been. This has little if nothing to do with the ages of buildings (except of course that if we would build a lot more buildings anywhere nearby, things would be a lot more affordable. Why South SF is not on this like white on rice, I have no idea.)


  Why South SF is not on this like white on rice, I have no idea.
Because it's not trendy. There's no substitute for trendy.


>But that’s entirely the wrong conclusion to draw!

That the shabby looking (to the hypothetical immigrant) houses are worth millions doesn't matter to the new comer, except that it means that in addition to living in a building they don't like, they are going to have to pay an enormous rent.


The end quote is correct. China is like a startup. The U.S. is like a big corporation.

Best regards from Shenzhen.


CPC is the VC firm?


> The clear implication here is that California’s relative backwardness is evidenced by the shabbiness of local buildings. But that’s entirely the wrong conclusion to draw! The story here is that rich people don’t like new construction near where they live, and a lot of wealth has been created on the Peninsula in the last few decades.

Eh. What you are seemingly saying is that rich people prioritize living like how they grew up over developing the city for the future. I mean, I get it. Surely that is why many people moved to the bay area instead of say NYC. But I don't see how you can think that it isn't backwards.


Your implication is that anything that isn't "forward" is "backward". That is not how people feel about the places they would like to remain the way the are.


If you aren't keeping up with "current" you are going "backward". You can't build large headquarters for the worlds most successful companies somewhere and expect things to be the way they are.


Catering for lunch is much cheaper than paying salaries or overtime and it gets people to stay in the office for longer.


Also, the employee is getting it at about a 40% discount against what they'd have to earn to buy it out of pocket (it's not treated as income and the business can expense it).


That’s no longer true for 2018.


Source?


keep in mind too, glitzy things look dated in 20-30 years. To design and build a classic timeless look is a greater challenge. Maybe the idea is to constantly churn however.


This. There's a reason that everything looks new in Chinese megacities: it is new. Let's see how shiny everything is in 30 years.

Also, of course, there's a strong argument to be made that the California bungalow aesthetic of Silicon Valley is a big part of what made it what it is today: an entire generation of bright people saw California as a vision of life that was entirely distinct from the eastern industrial cities that came before it. Visions of surfing and orchards and intellectual freedom were attractive to the kind of liberal thinkers who invented personal computers.




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