June 7, 2021

Your move (and what it says about you)

Your move (and what it says about you)

People are moving a lot. Like a lot a lot. Why? And what do those moves mean for the future of our country and the economy that makes it what it is?

There’s no such thing as a city with livability, hype, affordable apartments, proximity to talent and money, and good food and people watching. But that’s never stopped us from attempting to find it. 


The last year especially, we’ve been on the hunt for a new hub city here in the US as the post-Covid world opens up. In that search, long-held systems (both economic and social) have been uprooted—people who swore they’d never leave the Bay Area flocked to Miami like it was nothing. New Yorkers whose entire personality was being a New Yorker jumped on the first flight to Austin.


Moving patterns have been undoubtedly accelerated in the last 12 or so months. I don’t need to tell you that (Twitter probably already has). But what do those moves mean for economies, local and national, and the ways they’re built? Today, we’re finding out by examining four of this country’s potential hubs: Austin, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco. 


Pack your bags. We’re gonna have some fun.


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*Pull quote*


*Roll intro music*


Howdy everyone and welcome back. This is Thinking Is Cool, the show where I—Kinsey Grant, journalist, shitposter, and real girl in her 20s—explore the topics that will undoubtedly come to define this generation. So far, we’ve talked about porn, Barstool, and climate change. Next up...I’m going to use the words “migration pattern” and dunk on the VCs of Miami.


Get ready to get deep into the cities of the future—and how the ways we move show us more about ourselves than we might expect. We’re about to jump in, but before we do that…


  1. Huge shoutout as always to our launch sponsor, HMBradley. More to come soon. Watch this space.


As always...Nothing is off limits. Everything is on the table. Take it anywhere. And remember, thinking is cool and so are you.


*Fade out intro music*


ROGAN/MUSK CLIP: “Like I said, it's going to be the biggest boom town in America has seen in 50 years. Yes, I agree. Yeah, yeah. I think so. Mega boom. Comedy clubs are moving here like crazy.”


Do you know what city those two men were talking about in that clip?


Do you know who they were?


Do you know where the next boomtown might really be?


Chances are, you’ve considered it over the last year. Either that or some evangelist has tried to sell you on the merits of [insert any place but NYC or SF here]. It’s been a period of significant, impactful migration across this country...perhaps making for one of the biggest post-pandemic shifts we’ve seen to date, and one that appears to be sticking around even as we unmask.


Usually, I wouldn’t care much for geographic trendspotting. But in the case of what we’ve seen this last year, what with remote work being done from sea to shining sea? I’m absolutely certain that our newfound digitally nomadic tendencies are creating deep marks in our social and cultural history, and that deserves a closer look. Now that tons of new jobs in our very much services-based economy can be done from anywhere, what does the future hold?


By the way, that clip from before was from the Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify. The more elegant voice was Joe’s guest, Elon Musk. They were talking about Austin, Texas. But in all honesty, it could have been anywhere.


Austin, Miami, Tulsa, Sacramento...it seems today that any city willing to grab enough attention can earn billing as America’s next big boomtown. All it takes is a gregarious mayor, a forgiving tax code, or, in the case of Tulsa, the offer of a $10,000 grant for eligible remote workers who commit to living in the city for a year.


With many of us now either freed from the shackles of traditional office work or simply past the point of caring, this country is in the midst of a great migration. But are you willing to move to Tulsa for $10,000? Better yet, could you even if you wanted to?


In understanding the ways certain classes of people in this country have moved over the last year, we come to see a lot more than a busy future for the Census Bureau. We come to see that choosing a place to live is also about labor inequality, local governments, housing prices, cultural vibrancy, economic opportunity, and the ways our choices impact all those things.


That’s what we’re thinking about today. Because where you live impacts a lot more than the letters next to the red pin point emoji in your Instagram bio.


That’s for a lot of reasons, but one of the most important hinges on the concept of economic agglomeration. Imagine me now wearing an argyle cardigan, horn-rimmed glasses, and my hair held into a bun with a No. 2 pencil. I am now your economics professor.


Economic agglomeration centers around the idea that when companies and the economic activity they create are physically clustered close together, businesses can grow more easily. It’s like economies of scale and network effects, but for places.


There are often major cost savings associated with agglomeration—think about the ways cost of production might shrink when, say, suppliers or labor for a specific industry are physically clustered. It’s part of why cities become hubs for certain industries—finance, automotive production, tech, you name it. Someone with influence decided to put down roots, and the rest of their industry came a callin’. Here’s one great example: Hollywood. Producers, directors, stage managers, and their physical workspaces are all close to one another, making it easy to move from project to project without having to tear down structures or move cities. 


Historically, agglomeration has been an integral part of how cities increase in size and in population. But the more I think about agglomeration in the year of our lord 2021, the more I wonder...what comes next, now that we’ve proven the economy won’t fall apart if some of us work from bed? How might that change the way we cluster—I’m sure you’ve wondered the same.


Because lately, remote work has made it feel like we’re clustering not based on what we do to contribute to the economy, but instead based on whatever vibe we’re missing in our lives. I could write and record this script from literally anywhere, but I choose to do it in arguably one of the world’s most expensive cities because I like the way this city makes me feel.


My audio engineer, Anthony, is in Nashville. My cofounder and sometimes editor, Josh, is in New York but spent most of the early Thinking Is Cool days in Miami. All of you, my audience, are as far flung as could be. Now that we’re used to business happening remotely, we’re theoretically able to do business wherever the hell we want.


And yet...I just signed a yearlong lease in New York City, where I’m a solid 7. I could have moved to San Francisco and been a real 9. Or Miami and been about a 4. Or home to Tallahassee, Florida, where there are no metrics for measuring hotness because everyone is married with kids already.


Six months ago, I was within days of permanently relocating to Miami Beach. I didn’t consider moving to Miami because the city really had all that much to offer me, but instead because everyone was doing it. That says a lot about me...but it also says a lot about all of you.


Because I’m not alone.


For so many, this last year seriously changed the ways we decide to put down roots. Our perception of “making a life” has been unalterably changed by the pandemic. There are no rules anymore now that work can be done anywhere. And that inevitably impacts cities, well beyond those we call home.


That’s a reality made all the more dramatic when you consider who is doing the moving. Americans who work labor-intensive jobs typically aren’t handed the opportunity to move wherever they want...their job requires them to be there and in person. 


Think about two people. One is a software engineer who’s worked in the Bay Area for the last 7 years and recently relocated to Austin, Texas. The other is a janitor who’s worked in the Bay Area for the last 14 years and has no choice but to stay because janitorial work can’t be done remotely. 


The engineer makes more money than the janitor. The engineer takes that money to Austin, where they now live and pay taxes. That money has a ripple effect—where high-income talent goes, money goes. And that changes the patterns of the economy and our culture, perhaps irrevocably.


That’s why we’re having this conversation. That’s why this matters. Most of us care in some way about the communities we call home. It’s perfectly fine to choose a new one if you can. But we have to ensure that those decisions are made consciously. That we focus on what matters.


Now, as far as I can tell, there are a handful of cities currently vying for that designation as the center of economic gravity here in the U.S.: New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Miami. I know LA and Chicago matter, but people are always moving in and out of LA and Chicago is...Chicago. So we have our four cities: NY, SF, Austin, and Miami.


Each of the four has something, but none have it all. There’s proximity, livability, culture, and hype. There’s income taxes and school districts and good food. There’s something for everyone, but not everything for anyone.


So today, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go through each of these big four cities—New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Austin—and work to better understand what makes each a hub in our modern, more distributed economy. We’re going to hear from people who’ve made these cities home, and in doing so, we’re going to get a better idea of what makes a city worth living in.


Because we’re becoming an increasingly urban global population—56% of us lived in cities last year, and 68% of us are expected to come 2050. Better get to figuring out where to invest in real estate now, right?


Let’s rock.


*Roll transition music*


I wrote this in a recent blog: “Yes, I know how much my rent could get me in another city. But there’s no city like New York. Choosing where to live is something that involves a plethora of intangibles—you can’t stack and measure vibes, energy, or the way you feel walking down the street. There are things about New York we can’t put into words...but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful.”


I know I sound like god damn Carrie Bradshaw and for that, I’m sorry. But it’s true. And that’s why our tour of the next great American cities starts with the original great American city...New York.


Let’s get it over with now. The cost of living in New York is astronomical. It’s the most expensive city in the US and the average rent for an apartment in Manhattan is almost three times the national average. But they don’t have Joe’s Pizza so who’s really winning…?


That said, people who live in New York tend to bring home higher incomes on average than the rest of the country, and the rent clearly hasn’t been all that prohibitive to them or to the roughly 220,000 businesses that call this city home.


Which, by the way, are more than just bodegas and bulge bracket banks. Tech has increasingly invested in New York—for example, Facebook recently leased enough new office space in Manhattan to roughly triple its local NYC workforce.


Apple also just expanded in New York and Google and Amazon are putting together corporate campuses in the city like it’s going out of style. I mean, Google basically owns all of Chelsea Market at this point.


Tech isn’t everything, though. If LA is for hot people, SF is for smart people, and Austin is for granola people, New York is for rich people. And they come from every industry. New York has money and a history of it.


Now, despite that fact that, for every billionaire CEO, there are a dozen bright-eyed 20-somethings fresh off the plane at LaGuardia ready to make the city their own on $50,000 a year...New York has an income inequality problem.


In Manhattan, the average income for the top 1% was 113 times that of the bottom 99% a few years back. And the pandemic only exacerbated the problem. It’s a city known for money, but nearly 1 in every 106 New Yorkers is homeless. In a city of more than 8 million, some 80,000 are without a home.


You can see income inequality walking down the street every single day, casting a shadow over everything and everyone. It’s one of a few important shortcomings this city I love so much lays claim to: visible inefficiencies, unreliable infrastructure, at times untenable housing prices, pigeons, an overactive Citizen app, and people who lie about being from Staten Island.


Living in New York isn’t easy, and that’s why a lot of people have left. Earlier this year, it was estimated that about 19,000 Manhattanites recently moved to Florida. But 9,000 said their moves were temporary.


It’s because, despite her problems, New York keeps you coming back for more. If you want to be here, you’ll do anything it takes to make it work. No one is here by accident, and that makes this city special in a way I can’t describe. 


One listener, Mousa, described it this way: “It's dripping with outsized ambition everywhere you look. The intensity with which people pursue better jobs, more $, hotter partners, bigger apartments, the nicest clothes, the best art/food/etc. It's not only that they WANT these things, it's the effort and hustle they put it to attain them. It's inspirational, and it's infectious.”


I’m welling up writing this, and it’s not just because my period tracker app told me I’d be emotional this week. It’s because New York becomes part of you, and the last year has shown how big that part is for so many of us. The pandemic brought this city to her knees. And it will absolutely be a different place for the new New Yorkers who move here this summer.


But stories of a city on the brink are patently false. We lost some good businesses and some great people and a year of shared experiences. But every story you read of New York being “dead?” They’re usually reported with only a couple anecdotal stories from people who probably didn’t want to be here in the first place. New York isn’t dead. It’s anything but.


If you ask me, it will always and forever be New York or nowhere.


*Start transition music*


Well...maybe not according to Twitter. After this quick break to hear from our friends at HMBradley, we’re talking about the city we all love to love as much as we love to hate...Miami.


*Roll HMB ad*


Thank you as always, HMBradley.


I tweeted this on January 18 at 10:22pm: “as I found myself ferociously searching for a miami airbnb for the entire month of february, I couldn't help but wonder.....is twitter making all of my decisions for me”


The answer was yes, at least on January 18 at 10:22pm. Within a month, I was in Miami staying at Josh’s mom’s apartment and seriously considering moving there. I guess that’s what happens when you leave New York during the worst snowstorm of the winter to land to a balmy 75 in south Florida.


I felt a sincere, creeping sense of FOMO about Miami for most of the last winter. I read the thinkboi’s pieces about everyone moving there. I saw founders and tech entrepreneurs and hot people booking indefinite stays in Miami Beach and I thought...I gotta go. That’s where the action is.


Like they usually are, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen were on the same page. They bought a $17 million property in Miami Beach. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly spent $30 million on a lot nearby. And it seemed every tech, marketing, or finance guy I knew was signing a 6-month lease in Brickell.


Corporations have bought in, too. Seemingly in one fell swoop, Miami was in every business news headline. Elliott Management announced plans to move its headquarters to South Florida, Blackstone announced plans to open an office there, and Goldman reportedly mulled relocating part of its asset management operations there as well.


Famously, high-impact VCs like Keith Rabois hauled ass from San Francisco to Miami. There were reports earlier this year that more than 200 venture capitalists from Silicon Valley and New York recently moved to Miami.


So what drew them in? Well, you know what they say about Florida. It’s God’s waiting room. I mean, it’s a great state to retire rich in.


Let’s talk taxes, because aside from a Mayor we’ll talk about in a minute, this is arguably Miami’s biggest draw for ex-New Yorkers and former San Franciscans.


In California, state income taxes and state capital gains taxes are the highest in the country at 13.3%. In New York, capital gains taxes are 8.95% and just one part of a tax-heavy pie for city-dwellers. In Florida and in Texas, state capital gains taxes are 0%. If you’re rich and getting richer, as the rich tend to do, that makes the humid heat worth it.


Miami also has hype, which counts for something. That FOMO I was talking about before has the power to sway people, myself almost included. That’s in no small part because of Mayor Francis Suarez, marketing genius and guy who should trademark the words “How can I help.” He’s offered assistance, sincere or not, to just about everyone with a blue checkmark who’s tweeted about Miami in the last year.


Mayor Suarez became a character more than a public official. He went toe to toe with the best of the internet, staging a crusade for his home city as the next tech center of the United States. And he pulled in high octane talent in doing so—the city hired a chief technology officer. How many cities have a CTO? Or a venture capitalist in residence? Miami has both.


But from where I sit in my apartment on a cloudy New York day, the hype gives me pause. It feels like everyone in Miami realized that 98 degrees and 70% humidity from April through October actually isn’t that great, and now they’re trying to convince themselves this was the right move by gloating about their new city online. Just saying.


Trust me. I have lived more years of my life in Florida than in any other state. The Florida Man will come for all of you at some point or another. And if all you have to protect you is a brigade of tech workers in unseasonable hoodies...things don’t look good.


But...it’s true. Miami has hype.


It became a part of the migration conversation across the country this year for its appeal to the entrepreneur class. Rich people moving to be with other rich people, just on the opposite side of the country. It was a fun city to winter in, but  I’ve got my doubts as to whether that hype can last long term.


*Roll transition music*


And long term is what it takes when you’re vying for the title of America’s next hub city. Long term commitment and deep roots are what make a city great...right?


ALEX: “Obviously, like is active on Twitter, I would say that there's a small pocket of people who are very loud and like they built their own, you know, sort of boys club or whatever exclusive club in Miami. Now, like, I think they just took that mentality and moved it to Miami. I don't think that they're like immersing themselves in the local startup community in Miami. And, like, I could be wrong, but that's what I hear from friends who are down there, who have been there for a long time.”


That was Alex Cohen, entrepreneur, investor, and Director of Product at Carbon Health. Alex has lived in New York, south Florida, and now San Francisco. I’ll let him dunk on Miami one more time before we talk about his current hometown.


ALEX: “And so, like growing up in Florida, like I actually met a lot of the people in the Miami Tech community at the time. It was it was small and like a lot of those folks are still there. And it feels like, from what I hear, it's like two different tech communities in Miami right now. It's just that the Bay Area people who are like set up with, I guess, not feeling appreciated enough by the city. And like now that I guess the mayor responds to them and grabs coffee is like they're happy down there.”


As far as I can tell, San Francisco and the Bay Area are the focal point of any story about any tech exodus these days. If we’re to believe the headlines, talent is leaving SF in droves.


But why? How could a city be the center of gravity for the world’s most important industry one year and a ghost town the next? It seems to have a lot to do with local government and its chronic inaction.


ALEX: “But politics is like really broken. I think. You know what I think actually beyond that, the biggest thing that that's driving people out is just like the crime. It is pretty bad. And stuff like you can't really park your car but getting broken into something out. And I think, you know, California is notorious for homeless population and sort of like the feeling that the city or the state is just not doing enough to fix it. And I think that was kind of the that was a big driver versus like I think people can get over the high taxes and can get over, like, you know, anti progressive policies.”


It’s San Francisco’s biggest shortcoming, from what my interviews have shown me. The city can’t seem to keep up with the breakneck pace at which the companies that made it famous are evolving. Move fast and break things doesn’t work quite as well at City Hall.


But despite that—certainly one of its biggest downfalls—San Francisco isn’t a city teetering on the brink of collapse. Here’s Alex again.


ALEX: “I think the thing that, like, gets lost in the narrative and people moving out is the majority of folks that are here that have been successful in tech and like that are reinvesting into the community as angel investors. They go on to do exactly that, like other companies or whatever, like they bought homes here and their kids go to school here and and they're not they can't just, like, pick up and move. And I would say the majority or not. And so they're all still here.”


Alex’s perspective is anecdotal and fair, but for good measure...the numbers are worth consideration. San Francisco and nearby San Jose are some of the country’s priciest housing markets, and permanent moves in those places far outpaced national averages recently. We’re talking some 20% permanent move rates compared to 3% nationally.


That doesn’t seem like a one-off thing. That seems to me like a broader trend indicative of the ways the Bay Area is evolving in a post-Covid, remote-enabled tech world. Perhaps the rank and file have fled to greener pastures with less auto theft...but has everyone? Not so clear, at least not yet. And many of them might be participating in a little good old fashioned urban sprawl.


Because if you want to make the right connections, hire the right talent, and buy the right virtual reality startup, SF is the place to do it. San Francisco has proximity, and specifically proximity to smart people. It’s agglomeration like we talked about earlier in action.


It’s also what created the companies we now revere. What would Apple, Google, Facebook be without the Bay Area? What would the scene in The Social Network when Eduardo comes to San Francisco for the 1 million members party be without the city? We’d have no Sand Hill Road, no VC bro jokes, no Silicon Valley on HBO.


San Francisco and the Bay Area have contributed endlessly to the formation of our modern economy, and it’s a pity that some of the loudest in the room are leaving because Miami is a little warmer and the mayor tweets more.


Here’s how the San Francisco Chronicle, my new favorite petty newspaper, put it: “There are plenty of ways to leave a party. You can quietly say your thanks and goodbyes and be on your way. You can stay a while to help clean up. Or you can be a real jerk about it by stomping off and complaining it was a terrible party anyway — even though you drank more than your share of cocktails, scarfed down the fancy food and manspread on the couch.”


Is that what the Keith Rabois and Elon Musks of the world will do with Miami and Austin when they’ve sucked those cities dry? Suppose we’ve no choice but to find out.


*Roll transition music*


The drama is playing out as we speak in Austin, Texas, a city that even those of us who’ve never been know to be distinctly “weird.” It’s in the city’s DNA to keep Austin weird...but can it do so with an influx of coastal elites hoping for better work life balance and more lake days?


In an attempt to figure that out, I called Jim DeCicco. He’s the cofounder and CEO of Super Coffee, a bottled coffee brand that’s recently taken off all over this country. Jim lived in New York for four years before moving to Austin last fall, and he quoted Matthew McConaughey in our interview, so you know he’s a real Austin local now.


Jim told me that Austin feels like New York in that anyone who’s been there 6 months feels like a local. Perhaps it’s that southern hospitality, or perhaps it’s the steady stream of new talent to Austin that’s making it hard to feel like the new kid for long.


Here’s Jim on why he moved: 


JIM: “Austin is a place that I'd only been once before. And it was attractive for a lot of reasons. You know, I'm big into outdoor activities, big into fitness in Austin, Texas. Both of those boxes, Texas has like a big outdoor scene, which is is something I wanted to explore. And then I think the biggest driver for me to go to Austin was the like the bustling entrepreneurial scene. People are saying, like Austin becoming the next Silicon Valley. But I think I think that's right. Except it's not just tech. You know, they have a great food and beverage startup scene down here, great real estate scene. Like there is a lot of cool marketing agencies. There's not many financial institutions, which I think that's what I wasn't liking about New York would like that Wall Street hustle.”


Austin has livability. It has lifestyle. It has things to do that aren’t work or sitting on questionably green grass in a park and leaving with a weird rash.


It also has the stamp of approval from one of the first voices you heard this episode, notorious California hater Elon Musk. Musk recently traded LA for Austin to build a $1 billion Cybertruck factory. 


There’s also Larry Ellison, who said he’s moving his Oracle headquarters to Austin from Silicon Valley.


And there’s DropBox’s CEO Drew Houston who’s apparently doing the same thing. 


And there are countless young people following their leads. I have no fewer than three friends who have made the permanent move to Austin this year. 


I see their Instagram stories on Lake Travis every weekend, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. I see them getting dogs and houses and taking hikes, and I look around the small, rectangular room that I call office, living area, kitchen, and gym...and I think a little longer about getting hair extensions and moving to the Lonestar State.


But then I don’t. And I couldn’t pull the trigger on Miami. And I never even thought about moving to San Francisco. New York is my home, and it’s going to stay that way. Same for Alex and SF. And Jimmy and Austin.


Here’s the biggest flaw in that thinking: I, like many young people, don’t see much of a world outside my own three-block radius here in Greenwich Village. New York is my center of gravity. I’ve committed to it body, soul, and obscene monthly rent check. My money is made and spent here.


Any economic opportunity I’m capable of engendering happens in New York City. But what if we could spread that economic opportunity across the country? What if we thought outside the bounds of these big four cities I’ve described in this episode?


Here’s Anna Mason, Managing Partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund—which invests specifically outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston.


ANNA: “I often say that from a venture perspective, we see opportunities first through the lens of geography, and that dictates not only our mission, but also our investment mandate. Seventy five percent of the dollars invested in venture capital every year for the past couple of years have gone to three states, California, New York, Massachusetts. And we believe and we think increasingly the data and the success of a number of not only ours, but other so many investments being made into communities all across the country will show that, you know, brilliant entrepreneurs can go game changing businesses literally anywhere in the country, from Kansas City to Birmingham to Tampa to Denver, Salt Lake City and all over northwest Arkansas, Chattanooga, the list literally goes on and on. So it's been. Fascinating, disconcerting, heartening, exciting, sort of all of the emotions, I think bubbled up into one to see this groundswell unfolding in the aftermath of covid and the pandemic not starting, not just around where dollars are flowing, but where people are moving and how talent is redistributed in what looks like really seismic waves.”


When talent and money flow everywhere instead of just to the coasts of our country, we create an economy that works better. We are on the precipice of something really great. Imagine if every city could create the innovation and opportunity that the Bay Area has? I say New York or nowhere, but that’s kind of shitty. It has to be New York and everywhere.


*Roll transition music*


New York and everywhere, though, comes with a caveat. Where we go is core to who we are, and vice versa. In all of this, there lies one major danger: hypocrisy.


If you’re a progressive who moved to Austin and you’re not speaking up about your new governor’s barbaric policies on women’s healthcare, you are a hypocrite.


If you moved to Miami and you’re not actively trying to ensure that the immigrant neighborhoods that have contributed to Miami’s vast cultural diversity are taken care of just as equally as South of Fifth and Key Biscayne and Indian Creek Island, you’re a hypocrite. 


If you took issue with San Francisco, the city that offered you world-class tech talent and access to ungodly amounts of money and, instead of using your privilege to do something about what’s broken, you just moved to another city to eventually leech the same way there, you’re a hypocrite.


If you live in New York City and you’re not supporting logical post-pandemic efforts to expand affordable housing so that everyone can live happily and healthily here, you’re a hypocrite.


Where we live becomes part of who we are, but we should become a part of that place too. In my recent blog, I asked this digital community what you think your physical city says about you, and the answers were inspiring. You said things like grit, determination, creativity, generosity, ingenuity...and you’re right. The place you call home says a great deal about you...and you need to make sure it’s saying the right things.


In my last episode about climate change, I talked quite a lot about the necessity of both talking and voting to accomplish change for the better. All politics is local, and efforts to achieve change should start at home. Failing to ensure your city is made to be more equitable, more opportunistic, more diverse...that’s a huge failure that lies with us, not the mayor or the city council or the CTO.


Moving because you’re bored is like having a kid to save your marriage. It’s really effing dumb. Move to find opportunity. Move to build a better life. But don’t move to be where it’s warmer and not do anything to make your new city truly better. Our sense of place gives us so much—we ought to give back every now and then. We have the power to do that.


At the end of the day, cities aren’t going anywhere. They’re in flux right now, and some high impact people are moving and lots of headlines are being written. But there will always be room for New York, for the Bay Area, for Miami, for Austin, and for every other city that wants to become one of the greats. Even for Tulsa.


Because people are persistently on the move—we always have been. Most experts suggest that only 3% of people made moves they’d call permanent over the last year or so. And even that is just an acceleration of movement trends that probably would have played out over a few more years anyway.


As aptly named urban studies theorist Richard Florida recently put it in Bloomberg: “Very little actual work or production is being relocated. What’s really changing are the addresses of those who own and control the capital.”


My hope is that the owner class recognizes their power. Because they have a lot of it, and that power has power. 


For example, some 80% of New York City’s income tax revenue comes just from the 17% of its residents who earn six figures or more per year. If only 5% of the people who top $100k in annual income moved away from the city, its budget would be down almost $1 billion in tax revenue.


Another example: David Tepper, a billionaire hedge fund manager, left New Jersey for Miami Beach in 2015. His move left a gaping hole in New Jersey’s budget that some experts pegged at upwards of $100 million annually.


That $100 million could be the difference between surviving and thriving for some locals. And it doesn’t mean the wealthy are condemned to stay in the armpit of America for all eternity, but it does mean this: Your money and by proxy your influence only have meaning if you do something with them. So go do it.


But I imagine most of us aren’t David Tepper yet. That doesn’t render us powerless. It highlights our greatest strength—creating community with like minded people. That doesn’t take a dime. All it takes is a conversation.


Every morning I wake up in New York feels like the first day I moved here. Despite Josh’s hope we would move to Miami for tax purposes, we’re both staying here. Our sisters are both moving here. Our friends, our mentors, and our support groups are here. Ands we come out of a season of life that was so incredibly dark and so incredibly lonely, I can’t wait to lean on them in person.


For me, it’s New York. For you, it could be anywhere. We have this whole wide world at our fingertips, and we’re all finally getting close to gathering once again. Whether your community is physical or digital, in your hometown or a brand new city...my hope is that you take advantage of all it has to offer...and offer the special things you have that no one else does in return.


Remember, thinking is cool and so are you. See you next time.