I have a history with San Francisco. I declined a UC Berkeley college offer when selecting schools. I was married here. I've always liked the city, but never found a way to plug into the city in a way I wanted.
Having been here for the week for startup activity, I've come away with a few thoughts:
SF is a super narrow ecosystem in that it believes it is the center of the startup universe. Some people may call this arrogance, but that's just the reality of people's viewpoint here. That viewpoint is not more arrogant than taking a strong viewpoint of almost anything.
To succeed here, you must have strong networks and communities that have built upon the existing layers of SF. Without those, you are starting from scratch, which in itself isn't the problem. The problem is you're not leveraging the accelerating effect that SF offers, in terms of human and financial capital.
SF people double-down on creating this special ecosystem. People that have made it (VCs, angels, entrepreneurs) do it again and again; people spend time on giving back and creating ways to fund and back more entrepreneurs. This culture becomes self-perpetuating.
The majority of the startups here are no more special than anywhere else. 99% of the startups solve for problems that only SF people would deal with, many to do with time optimization. But the 1% of the startups that are doing extraordinary things are truly globally exceptional.
I need to come back more.