2 Things About SF Tech Culture

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Last week I learned some interesting things about SF tech culture. For example:

  • Investing in cryptocurrencies is a thing
  • People invest hundreds, even thousands of dollars in “coffee set-ups” — home coffee brewing equipment to make their own personal perfect cup of coffee
  • Everyone loves wearing Patagonia

San Francisco Patagonia Jackets

But the biggest mental shifts I’ve had to make is about money. Here are 2 ideas about money I’m trying to hold simultaneously in my mind:

First when it comes to asking for money, you have to ask for what the market will bear (credit: Pamela Slim). Whether you’re negotiating your salary, asking for a raise, or seeking funding for your start-up, it’s your job to ask for as much as they’ll give you.

This is about making sure you get the market value on your skills, and being treated fairly relative to the rest of the market. You’re doing your long-term career trajectory massive disservice if you ask for any less because you don’t like confrontation, because you’re worried about looking greedy, or because you don’t think you’re the type of person who “needs” that much money.

Second, your self-worth is independent from your market price. In other words, just because someone with a computer engineering degree in San Francisco can get a $100K+ salary straight out of college doesn’t make them more intrinsically valuable than someone making $50,000 at a publishing house in NY.

I think once you get used to seeing this kind of money getting casually thrown around, it’s natural to justify you are worth that money. That it’s just your American exceptionalism at work, and those who don’t make that much, well obviously they didn’t work hard enough.

(A corollary to both these ideas: Your lifestyle doesn’t need to increase in lockstep as your salary increases. If you love your coffee and you have the means, spend the money on your thousand dollar coffee set-up. But just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you have to buy it.)

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