Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley

Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley

by Cary McClelland

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Overview

A Stanford University Three Books Selection for 2019


An intimate, eye-opening portrait of San Francisco transformed by the tech boom.

San Francisco is changing at warp speed. Famously home to artists and activists, and known as the birthplace of the Beats, the Black Panthers, and the LGBTQ movement, in recent decades the Bay Area has been reshaped by Silicon Valley, the engine of the new American economy. The richer the region gets, the more unequal and less diverse it becomes, and cracks in the city’s facade—rapid gentrification, an epidemic of evictions, rising crime, atrophied public institutions—have started to show.

Inspired by Studs Terkel’s classic works of oral history, writer and filmmaker Cary McClelland spent several years interviewing people at the epicenter of the recent change, from venture capitalists and coders to politicians and protesters, from native sons and daughters to the city’s newest arrivals. The crisp and vivid stories of Silicon City’s diverse cast capture San Francisco as never before.

The book opens with a longtime tour guide recounting the history of the original Gold Rush and observing how little the people of his city pay attention to its history; it ends on Fisherman’s Wharf, with the proprietor of an arcade game museum reminding us that even today’s technology will become relics of the past. In between we hear from people who have passed through Apple, Google, eBay, Intel, and the other big tech companies of our time. And we meet those who are experiencing the changes at the grassroots level: a homeless advocate in Haight-Ashbury, an Oakland rapper, a pawnbroker in the Mission, a man who helped dismantle and rebuild the Bay Bridge, and a woman who runs a tattoo parlor in the Castro.

Silicon City masterfully weaves together a candid conversation across a divided community to create a dynamic portrait of a beloved city—and a cautionary tale for the entire country.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393608793
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,248,436
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Cary McClelland is a writer, filmmaker, lawyer, and rights advocate whose work has taken him around the world. He met his wife in San Francisco, where they settled down and built their first home. They now live in Brooklyn with their son.

Table of Contents

Introduction xv

Overture

Joe Massey, tour guide 3

Part I The New Gold Rush

Regis McKenna, public relations guru 12

Hendrik Dahlkamp, engineer 18

Coco Conn, technologist and teacher 22

Tim Draper, venture capitalist 24

Colin Rule, startup founder 27

Lisa Chu, college student 32

Charles Carter, landscape architect 35

Caille Millner, journalist 37

Part II The Soul of the City

Sami Rahul, cable salesman 47

Paul Gillespie, cabdriver 48

Elaine Katzenberqer, publisher 55

Carol Queen, sexologist 58

Do D.A.T., emcee 61

Edwin Lindo, native son 64

Margaret Zhao, corporate lawyer 69

Idexa, tattoo artist 71

Bill Fisher, pawnbroker 74

Lyman Hollins, former longshoreman 76

Part III The Balkanization of the Bay

Richard Walker, geographer 84

Alex Kauffmann, designer 87

Leslie Dreyer, artist/activist 92

Matt Gonzalez, former president of the Board of Supervisors 98

Ron Conway, angel investor 100

Saad Khan, entrepreneur 103

Leon Fikiri, Uber driver 107

James Williams, farmer 116

Saul Griffith, environmentalist/inventor 119

Tim Draper, venture capitalist (cont'd) 123

Regis McKenna, public relations guru (cont'd) 125

Part IV The Breakdown

Titus Bell, former drug dealer 132

Amanda Machado, teacher 135

Tony Sagrado, juvenile advocate 139

Christian Calinsky, once homeless 145

Maya Williams, ER doctor 149

Joyce and Eddie, wildfire survivors 152

Rob Gitin, youth counselor 156

Sammy Nunez, community organizer 163

Titus Bell, former drug dealer (cont'd) 166

Part V If We Can Merge the Two Worlds

Nicole Sanchez, diversity expert 172

Charles Carter, landscape architect (cont'd) 176

Coco Conn, technologist and teacher (cont'd) 178

Saul Griffith, environmentalist/inventor (cont'd) 181

Ron Conway, angel investor (cont'd) 185

Navida Butler, "Momma" 188

Maria Guerrero, cafeteria worker and organizer 192

Andrew Fremier, civil servant 200

Part VI A Sixth Sense of Right and Wrong

Karen Cusolito, artist 210

Pamela Weiss, Zen Buddhist 213

Michael Santos, reformer 216

Oliver and Allen, parents 220

Saad Khan, entrepreneur (cont'd) 226

Edwin Lindo, native son (cont'd) 230

Coda

Dan Zelinsky, antique arcade owner 237

Acknowledgments 241

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