Marc Andreesden has a new post out titled ‘Technology Saves The World‘ and this part really rung true to me:
Finally, possibly the most profound technology-driven change of all — geography, and its bearing on how we live and work. For thousands of years, until the time of COVID, the dominant fact of every productive economy has been that people need to live where we work. The best jobs have always been in the bigger cities, where quality of life is inevitably impaired by the practical constraints of colocation and density. This has also meant that governance of bigger cities can be truly terrible, since people have no choice but to live there if they want the good jobs.
What we have learned — what we were forced to learn — during the COVID lockdowns has permanently shattered these assumptions. It turns out many of the best jobs really can be performed from anywhere, through screens and the internet. It turns out people really can live in a smaller city or a small town or in rural nowhere and still be just as productive as if they lived in a tiny one-room walk-up in a big city. It turns out companies really are capable of organizing and sustaining remote work even — perhaps especially — in the most sophisticated and complex fields.
This is, I believe, a permanent civilizational shift. It is perhaps the most important thing that’s happened in my lifetime, a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet. Permanently divorcing physical location from economic opportunity gives us a real shot at radically expanding the number of good jobs in the world while also dramatically improving quality of life for millions, or billions, of people. We may, at long last, shatter the geographic lottery, opening up opportunity to countless people who weren’t lucky enough to be born in the right place. And people are leaping at the opportunities this shift is already creating, moving both homes and jobs at furious rates. It will take years to understand where this leads, but I am extremely optimistic.
I have been doing the ‘remote work’ life for almost 10 years. Part of the early Stocktwits mantra (2009) was to be as far away from Wall Street and CNBC as possible (I chose Coronado as the HQ).
Today, I don’t operate a moving parts business on a day to day business. With our SPAC (Social Leverage Acquisition Corp) where I am the CEO, I work daily with my partners/board by phone, text, email and Zoom even though they are spread across the world (Lake Tahoe,Scottsdale, New York, The Valley, LA and Switzerland).
Like Marc, I too am extremely optimistic. I have good friends moving from San Francisco to New York, Miami, San Diego, Austin and Manhattan Beach. I remember mostly giving up on San Francisco in 2015. I still have great friends there, but they can come visit me for the foreseeable future :) (and they do).
Ben Thompson had this to say about Marc’s thoughts on ‘remote work’:
Still, the unbundling of work and geography seems like the only way to cut the Gordian Knot that is the U.S. housing crisis; NIMBY housing policies are a perhaps unavoidable outcomes of any democratic system that inherently favors those who live in a particular location over those that wish they did. It seems far more compatible with our ideals to overcome those problems with competition than top-down fiat, and technology has created the conditions for that sort of competition to occur. Perhaps it is appropriate that It’s Time to Build only had skyscrapers in metadata; the actual solution may be small towns and suburbs.
Amen Ben. I love small towns and suburbs.
Have a great weekend everyone.