How Much Does It Cost To Live In The Silicon Valley?
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles around the web of people wanting to take their startup to Silicon Valley. It seems like the question that is most frequently asked about Silicon Valley, is how much does it cost to live in the Silicon Valley and what’s it like to live there. To be honest, I grew up in the bay area, but I never knew what Silicon Valley was until probably college. I’ve probably heard the term a couple of times and automatically thought that people were referring to a smaller city inside bay area, perhaps somewhere near castro valley. Until today, I do not know the exact location of Silicon Valley. It seems that everyone that I speak with defines the location of Silicon Valley differently. Some would say it is Palo Alto and some would say it’s San Jose. I think it’s just South Bay.
Cost Of Living
The cost of living in the Bay Area in general is no joke. A decent home will cost you anywhere between 500,000-900,000$ and that is nowhere near a luxury-styled home. Rent for a single room and bathroom can range between 1300-2000$. It is always recommended that you share rooms with a friend if possible. Most entrepreneurs choose to rent.
Food here is quite expensive and depending on which “part” of the Silicon Valley you are in, it can get worse. For example a lot of startups such as Coinbase are located in the SOMA district of San Francisco. That is the downtown office district of San Francisco. A typical lunchbox consisting a bowl of rice and a little chicken katsu could easily cost you 9-11$ per box. This does not include any beverages or side orders. Gas prices jump up and down, the main cost is rent and food. Oh, and traffic is horrible here, but not as bad as Los Angeles.
It seems that everyone that is visiting Silicon Valley for the first time has a misconception of how the area actually is. Everyone seems to think it’s some kind of magical place to be in. I recall an interview with Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip, saying that he just really wanted to see Silicon Valley because he thought it was an extremely mysterious wild place. Another friend of mine imaged the area to be V shaped on a hill with lots of startup buildings piled up to next each other.
The truth is that Silicon Valley is nothing like that. In fact, the area is so scattered that you won’t even realize that your in what they call the Silicon Valley. Google have offices in Mountain View and Cisco have offices in Milpitas, but I don’t recall any of them being on a V shaped hill. Just think of this place as a regular office place piled up with office buildings. Nothing special.
If you do want to see some startup hustle, the best place to catch the action might be inside the Starbucks located by Sand Hill. If you hang out inside long enough, you will for sure be able to catch entrepreneurs working hard on their projects or a conversation between an investor and an entrepreneur. When I first went there, I witness a few entrepreneurs making their pitches and a group of startup entrepreneurs working hard on their laptops. Forgot to mention, there was also a nice new Ferrari parked outside. Here’s a picture from digital media festival:
If you hang out in Palo Alto long enough, you’re certainly going to hear about programming all over the place. Last time I was waiting in line to get coffee in Palo Alto and the two people that were in front of me kept talking about how certain methods in programming wasn’t working out for them etc. Then two came behind me and was discussing similar API programming topics.
We don’t have a winter, summer, spring, fall. Most of the people that I know that moved here have a hard time adapting to the weather. The mornings could be extremely foggy, then by the time it hits noon, it can get extremely sunny. At night it could be raining, and before the night is over it could be sunny all over again. One good thing is that living in the Silicon Valley, you shouldn’t have to worry about buying an air conditioner. It probably goes over 90 degrees twice a year at most. It never snows here, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too cold. New York and Los Angeles have more stable weather conditions.
There’s definitely a lot to do in the Silicon Valley. You should never be feeling bored. It is also a very diverse community with every ethnicity you could think of. It’s an excellent place to be if you want to experience authentic culture events and food. You want some authentic Korean food? No problem, there’s grocery shops, authentic korean cafes all dedicated to that. Need Japanese food? There’s Japantown!
I’ve never really been into hockey, but it seems as if the startup community talks about hockey quite often. There’s also the San Francisco Giants that everyone in the bay area loves and the warriors as well. If you like football, then prepare to cheer for the 49ers!
Wine tours could go for as cheap as 12$ per person in the nearby Napa Valley. A lot of the famous golf stadiums reside here in the Silicon Valley.
Most importantly, the startup culture here is amazing. Log onto meetup.com or look through the event list on craigslist and type in “startups”. There should be at least one meet everyday that’s somehow releated to startups. It could a UX/UI design meet, a hackathon, an investor meet, pretty much anything you can think of. We have places like Hacker Dojo where entrepreneurs can just get together and build!
Finding A Job
If you are a talented developer or have good skills and experience needed for a startup, then job hunting should not be a problem. I remember attending a Ruby on Rails meet one time and when the host asked how many people were looking for jobs, only a few raised their hands. Most of the people that were there had full time jobs as developers or other related roles. Most startups are hiring everyday, network well and you will be successful.
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