Getting Out of Bubbles

One good thing about getting out of Chicago once in awhile is I get out of routine and the bubble.  I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago.  I worked and lived downtown.  I am a Chicagoan (minus the graft and corruption) through and through and have the accent to prove it.  I am sad about the end of the Blackhawks run and surprised whenever the Bulls win.

My wife and I “missed” the snow yesterday that fell on Chicago.  It was fun to look at photos on social media of it.  Our routine of leaving in February isn’t about just missing some bad winter weather.

It’s good to get out and see how other people experience their world.

For example, driving through California, I cannot get my radio to hold a radio station for long.  You can see why someone would be frustrated with that and invent streaming services.  In Chicago, traffic issues are real but there are work arounds in the city and even suburbs if you use the train.  In California, no train.  You are stuck so you really have to plan for traffic.

I have also heard how “tight” the Valley was.  I had never spent a ton of time here.  The trip from Palo Alto to Burlingame isn’t incredibly long (as long as there is no traffic).   It always looked farther to me on a map.  The different downtowns in the Valley all look similar with independent twists.  But, they are suburban feeling, not urban feeling.   I think the fact they are suburban feeling might affect the mental attitude of the people working on stuff here.  The fact that the weather is mild also helps because you can push away from your computer and go walk around.

I do get a sense of “if it’s not built here it’s not important”.  That strikes me as similar to solutions to problems built by outside developers for high frequency trading firms.  If it wasn’t built inside the firm the engineers would pick at and make fun of the solution.  That might not be a Valley thing and just an engineer thing.  But, despite the cheerleading you hear in Chicago the community isn’t really on the radar screen here like New York and LA.  Maybe I should buy a University of Chicago pennant for the Old Pro.

Off to see some old friends from Chicago Booth today!