Be careful who you slur as a “techie”

San Francisco's economic dependence on the technology sector has exceeded the heights of the dot-com boom

Topics: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, techies, tech economy, tech sector, ,

Be careful who you slur as a "techie" (Credit: blackred via iStock)

Beware that techie disdain! Those laptop-toting geeks clogging up all the good cafes and driving up rents are also providing greater-than-ever support for the local economy. It’s a classic double-bind, and in the last 24 hours, two excellent stories in the San Francisco Chronicle have captured the increasingly taut and fragile codependence between the Bay Area and its Silicon Valley overlords.

The first, by Nellie Bowles, “‘Techie’ term draws derision from tech workers,” tells an entertaining tale of tech industry aggravation. Aspiring startup entrepreneurs and software developers are speaking up: they don’t like being called “techies.” With some justice, they feel the label is demeaning and dehumanizing. They’d rather be known as “hackers, makers, or coders.”

The second story, by James Temple, puts some hard numbers on what’s happening. The San Francisco economy is now far more dependent on the tech sector than ever before.

Technology companies have leased 40 percent more San Francisco office space since the start of 2010 than during the five-year dot-com boom…. Tech tenants now fill 22 percent of all occupied office space in San Francisco. The sector represented 61 percent of all office leasing last year, a historical high. Since 2009, tech has created 23,500 jobs – 86 percent of all new office positions in the city.

You Might Also Like

What do these numbers mean? Well, in the wake of the dot-com bust, San Francisco lost 70,000 jobs. When the current boom ends, the consequences might be even more dire. The city is increasingly becoming a one-note town (which naturally explains some of the rising scorn for techies). When the music stops, everyone will get punished along with the suddenly jobless “makers” — cooks, waiters, baristas, construction workers, handymen, taxi drivers (whether YellowCab or Lyft). We’re all going to pay.

And newspapers too, probably. Because while there’s some irony in a privileged class like San Francisco’s tech workers complaining about hostile jargon, the real nub of the issue was visible right in the middle of Bowles’ piece on “techie” disgruntlement: An ad seeking Lyft drivers.

Andrew Leonard
Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...