Even if you don’t work in tech, you had better hope your town has more companies like Apple move in. If an innovation hub takes root where you live, you’ll be wealthier, healthier and less likely to divorce than areas that remain barren to it.
And if you are in a startup – wherever you live now, get yourself to one of these brain hubs before it’s too late.
That’s the crux of “The New Geography of Jobs,” a fascinating book by Berkeley economics prof Enrico Moretti who leads readers on a whirlwind tour of how tech innovation is reshaping opportunity in the US, clustering around places like San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC and Durham, North Carolina.
There’s a big debate, of course, about the yuppification of cities like San Francisco, which have seen a huge influx of monied engineers from companies like Apple, Facebook and Google, who are feeding a huge boom in tech. Locals are complaining about skyrocketing house prices, $4 toast and the artisanal food trucks that charge $12 for a tofu Thai burrito. Outrage Missionites react with birthday pinatas shaped like Google buses and posters from the Yuppie-eradication project.
However, there is another side to it. If an Apple worker moves next door, that person will create on average five jobs, Moretti’s research shows. Those jobs are a mix of skilled (nurses, lawyers, teachers) and unskilled ones (hairdressers, waiters, carpenters.) Innovation will never create the majority of US jobs, but it has an outsized effect on the economy of American communities, he writes. It’s not your resume but your zip code that determines how much money you make – so be glad instead of complaining about that Cupertino traffic, folks.
“Gentrification is a good problem to have”
Here in San Francisco a quick look around confirms that, at least on an anecdotal level. The Cult of Mac co-working space is abuzz with fancy-schmancy tattoo artists, hipster nail designers and boutique financial planners.
Moretti’s ideas – considerably nuanced and convincingly bolstered by research in the 250-page work – go counter to much of what’s being written about the squeeze of resources in the booming Bay Area. Gentrification is also a good problem to have, he says, acknowledging that it brings serious social consequences. The solution: not to discourage growth in innovation (in the vain hope manufacturing comes back to big cities) but manage the “growth in smart ways to minimize the negative consequences for the weakest residents and maximize the economic benefits for all.”
Given his local base, you’d expect a lot of interesting examples. In between a visit to a color scientist at Pixar and an artisan chocolate factory, he talks to a San Francisco bookbinder who employs eight people, uses the same equipment from decades past and whose fortunes go up and down with the high-tech companies of the NASDAQ. Noteworthy clients include the Jobs family, who had Steve’s condolence book made there.
Cities change and grow or they die out. And whether they thrive or wither in America now depends on innovation.
This picture of tech making things a little better for most of us is in stark contrast with the San Francisco that has been painted by the tech press as a gentrified, bloated old floozy who puts out for soulless tech workers who trample what dignity she has left by kickstarting pop-up food trucks and lofts that proliferate like mushrooms.
This strikes me as strange, coming from people whose livelihood often depends on breathless excitement over things like cell phone covers. Then again, I’m the fourth generation of my family to live here. I like to imagine that my great gran would find it funny that the Del Monte plant where she gave up elbow grease putting peaches into cans has morphed into a gaudy tourist shopping center. (I am also fairly sure she’d arch an eyebrow at my earnest writings about iPad stands, but still.)
Cities change and grow or they die out, basically. And whether they thrive or wither in America now depends on innovation. Whether you’re part of the innovation or provide services for those who are in it, you’re still better off. Moretti’s research shows that more college grads raise the salaries for everyone in an area – regardless of the higher cost of living. Same with lower divorce rates and better general health.
So get over that Tesla parked in your new neighbor’s driveway and get on with your life.
Pixar’s Brad Bird and Mark Andrews working on The Incredibles. Picture courtesy of Pixar.
San Francisco, CA — Steve Jobs revered Pixar for its blend of artistry and technology, as Walter Isaacson detailed in his 2011 biography, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he actually apologized to one of the artists working on the 2004 film “The Incredibles” after he criticized some of the design in the film after a screening.
The Disney Legends Award is presented annually to a person who has left a significant impact on The Walt Disney Corporation. This year, the late Steve Jobs received the honor, and last night John Lasseter accepted the award on Jobs’s behalf at the D23 Expo. Lasseter is the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, a studio Jobs co-founded, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He created Toy Story and is arguably the most influential and iconic storyteller in the history of animation.
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the award before bringing Lasseter onstage to accept. Both men were friends with Jobs, and Lasseter got choked up a few times while sharing stories about Jobs’s influence on the early days of Pixar.
Disney announced this morning that it will honor Steve Jobs with a Disney Legends Award at this year’s D23 Expo on Saturday, August 10th in Anaheim, California.
As the former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, Steve Jobs became the largest Disney shareholder in 2006 when Disney acquired Pixar. Jobs was also a part of Disney’s board of directors and remained a valuable sounding board and advisor to the company until his passing in 2011.
Disney CEO Bob Iger had the following to say about the award:
Before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs was the biggest shareholder of Disney stock thanks to the fact that Disney acquired his company, Pixar, in 2006. But before Disney and Pixar merged together, things weren’t always so rosy between Steve and Disney.
Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger eventually had a great relationship, but in the early days, Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid to release an atomic bomb of cruelty on Disney. He would even call Bob Iger on Saturdays just tell him that his films sucked.
Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs threatened Palm CEO Edward Colligan with patent litigation if he did not agree to stop poaching Apple employees, according to a court filing that was made public on Tuesday.
Confidential emails between the pair, along with documents from Adobe and Google, have surfaced in a civil lawsuit that claims a number of major companies in Silicon Valley violated antitrust rules by entering into agreements not to recruit each other’s employees. Five employees are now fighting for class action status and damages for lost wages as a result of the “no-hire” agreements.
Apple CEO Tim Cook must provide a deposition in a lawsuit that claims the Cupertino company, along with other major firms in Silicon Valley, violated antitrust rules by entering into an agreement not to recruit each other’s employees. Apple’s lawyer, George Riley, had objected to the order handed out by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, on Thursday.
LOS ANGELES — It felt like a wrap party for a big-budget Hollywood flick at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, complete with fancy food and big names like Pixar chief John Lasseter in attendance. But Disney’s Infinity announcement on Tuesday was a massive project in which Pixar, the Disney-owned digital animation studio that once belonged to Steve Jobs, played only one of the major roles.
As it was revealed, Infinity is an amazing, massive, cross-platform, multiplayer game system based on figurines from the Disney catalog of movies — right now most of them specifically from Pixar titles.
“It will be global, and it will live across all platforms: console, mobile and online,” Lasseter said on Tuesday.
All platforms? Unfortunately not. Perhaps Disney has forgotten that Steve helped build Pixar into the powerhouse it is today; because while a Windows version will be present along with versions for all the major console systems at Ininity’s June launch, there won’t be a Mac version — at least, not at first.
Steve Jobs didn’t found Pixar, but he did give $10 million to the fledgling company at a time when it was spinning itself off from Industial Light and Magic into its own corporation, and Jobs acted as an advisor — both business and spiritual — to the company ever since.
No wonder, then, that Pixar continues to pay tribute to Steve Jobs to this day. Their latest film, Brave, had a touching tribute to Steve Jobs in the credits, and now Pixar is naming the studio’s main building after him.
A rare Pixar Image Computer that was originally developed by the Computer Division of Lucasfilm has surfaced on eBay with a $25,000 price tag. The computer is accompanied by an original Pixar monitor and is said to be in good condition, though it’s unclear whether the system actually works.