Beginning of trip family selfie. Next stop, Hong Kong!
Beginning of trip family selfie. Next stop, Hong Kong!
The NBA team, Commissioner David Stern and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee scheduled a news conference at 10 a.m. local time Tuesday to announce the decision to leave Oakland.
Definitely a sad day for Oakland but this needed to be done. As a Warrior's fan this move was needed to boost the visibility of the team and attract much needed corporate sponsorship. Much has been written about how the move will change the culture of the fan base which is considered among the most loyal fans in the NBA. The Giants went through a similar culture shift when they moved from Candlestick to PacBell/SBC/AT&T Park. My hope is that management works to keep these loyal fans by not raising ticket prices so that only the wealthier and less committed fans go (or not go) to games. But winning will always be the best deodorant. Once we start seeing the W's consistently making the playoffs and at some point becoming a contender, all of the initial shocks of leaving Oakland will be moot.
And Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we were growing up, looked down on us. ... So we didn't actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up. There's a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate to this day.
This is an excerpt from a GQ interview with LeBron. Of course, I don't agree with his method of leaving Cleveland (The Decision) but I never had an issue with him wanting to go somewhere else to play. It's a free country and he can go any where he wants. As we know loyalty is only skin deep when it comes to players and owners.
The above quote should give people some insight into LeBron's mind though as it relates to Cleveland and his true hometown Akron. I hear a lot of folks bash LeBron because he turned his back on his hometown. But that's simply not true because LeBron never considered Cleveland his hometown. A more closer to home example for me would be if someone from the East Bay called San Francisco their hometown. It ain't. Two different cities that might as well be separated by 100 or 1,000 miles than just 10 culturally speaking.
I may be biased because I live here but I don't know why more tech entrepreneurs don't view Oakland as a viable place to build their start-ups. It's centrally located, close to public transportation, and real estate (both commercial and residential) is less expensive than the usual start-up hotspots of San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Not to mention the fact that a lot of folks who work at tech start-ups live in the East Bay and have long commutes. I've done the East Bay to SF/SV commute before and it used to take me 45-90 minutes one way each day to get to work. Compare that to my current 10-15 minute ROUNDTRIP commute and it's a no brainer. What could you do with an extra 2-3 hours every day? Over the course of a work year (about 250 days), that's almost a full month you've wasted on the road.Granted, Oakland has its fair share of issues. The one that usually comes up is that Oakland is perceived to be a crime-ridden city. Sure, there's crime here but like any large city there are areas where crime is high and others where it is not. I don't propose you bring your tech start-up and plop it down on Seminary and International just like I wouldn't make the Tenderloin or Hunters Point my company HQ. My first company was in what's now known as the Uptown area of Oakland, home to such little known start-ups like Pandora. We currently reside in the Jack London Square area which recently brought in Sungevity, a solar start-up. Getting to the point of this post, I'm trying to cobble together some tech start-ups who are looking for office space in the Jack London Square area. The building we're in is newly renovated and very well maintained. We occupy a small suite but are getting to the point where we are considering more space. Conveniently, there is a larger suite across the hall that's been decked to the halls with all the latest goodies (professional cubes, CAT 6 cabling, etc). Only catch is that it's huge and much larger than we can take at this time. My grand idea is to have an informal tech cluster sharing this space. A few start-ups working in close proximity to each other, sharing ideas, mingling, etc. Plus we would offer the flexibility that a standard lease would not have - month to month, taking more space, taking less space. So if anyone out there is interested, drop me a line. Even if you're not interested, drop me a line anyway. I'm always glad to meet new entrepreneurs and share ideas.
So have a few free moments after returning from Chicago. Lots of folks have been asking for a quick breakdown on the trip. In short, it was a great trip. Chicago is a great metropolitan city with all that you would expect (great food, shopping, sites) and some things you wouldn't (very nice people and surprisingly very affordable).We flew in to Midway on Thursday and headed straight for our hotel. We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton ($75 a night from Priceline!) on Monroe and Wabash. Super conveniently located hotel in the middle of the city. It has an L stop right outside and is only a block away from Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Harbor. Plus there's a 24 hour CVS across the street and a Dunkin' Donuts around the corner. Just for shits and grins, I toured a high rise condo across the street from the hotel, the Park Monroe. Super luxurious with amazing views of the water, the city, and the park. What was crazy was how cheap (relatively speaking) these were. A 2BR, 2BA 1400+ square foot unit with water and city views was selling for only $600K. The salesperson even hinted I could bid much lower and probably have my offer accepted. A comparable location in San Francisco would be the Embarcadero Plaza area just outside the Financial District and the same unit would probably sell for twice the price. Even crazier were the 1BR, 1BA 900+ square foot units which were only selling for $300K! There are condos in Oakland that are smaller and more expensive than that! I guess it just highlights how out of whack Bay Area real estate still is. On to the food. We did our share of high-end and normal food. On the high-end side we hit Alinea and Blackbird. Both good though I have a hard time justifying the cost of Alinea. I guess it's one of those "do it once" type of places. Impeccable service and definitely high on the creativity scale. We opted for the monstrous 35+ course tasting menu (a 4.5 hour meal!). Though I definitely felt as if some of the dishes were more about the flash than the actual substance. Blackbird, on the other hand, was much more reasonable and the flavors were very good. We also hit Miller's Pub a few times. Just a no nonsense pub with very good food. It's right next to the Palmer House so we were able to sneak over whenever we had a craving for a midnight snack or drinks. They're open until 4am and seemingly always busy. Great buffalo wings and a pretty decent fish and chips. Sausages with peppers and onions was not bad and though I didn't have it, they are known for their Canadian baby back ribs. All in all, I'd have no problem vacationing in Chicago again. If I had the dough, I'd even consider owning one of those condos and renting it out!