Silicon Valley is moving to Miami, apparently

"Why is there a goat?"

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🏖️ The Outside: Bienvenidos a Miami

The talk of the town this week has been, surprisingly, Miami. It’s apparently the new Silicon Valley — at least if you ask VC investor Keith Rabois and his y-axis-less bar charts:

The fall of SF and rise of [insert city here] is a perennial conversation topic in Silicon Valley. I first noticed this conversation in 2017 when Tim Ferriss moved to Austin, Texas, and it’s been a low, persistent drone ever since.

Why this flareup? Three reasons, none particularly flattering.

First, the San Francisco board of supervisors decided this week to condemn the naming of SF’s only public hospital after Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, Zuck donated $75 million to revamp San Francisco General Hospital, where his wife worked as a pediatrician, which was then renamed the “Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.” To return the favor, SF gave Zuckerberg a giant middle finger. (Obvious prediction: public SF institutions will receive fewer donations next year.)

Second, Elon Musk moved to Texas. This has been a long time coming; in May, California assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk,” to which Elon replied “Message received.” In a great interview with the Wall Street Journal, Musk talked at length about Silicon Valley — and explained why he’s moving from the city while urging the ethos (building, product obsession, etc.) on all of his listeners.

And third, and perhaps most uniquely interesting to understanding the Silicon Valley psyche, is that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is going out of his way to swoon the next-generation (read: second-tier famous) Silicon Valley Twitterati. There exists a whole class of founders and investors who have achieved some degree of Twitter fame, but aren’t yet mega-famous millionaire/billionaires. The Mayor (brilliantly) seems to have targeted these folks, like Thiel Fellow Lucy Guo, to help him spread the message that Silicon Valley was migrating to Miami.

This, I think, was the main reason for the hype — a brilliant social outreach strategy. These next-gen Silicon Valley folks are social influencers who likely yet wielded any political power. The message that Mayor Suarez sent loud and clear is that, in Miami, you — social influencer — can have political power as well.

My official prediction for all of this is that Miami will be just another flash in the pan. The SF Bay Area will not lose its position as the innovation capitol of the world based on some sweet tweets — but perhaps Mayor Suarez will be offered a PR job at a Silicon Valley company once his term expires.


🔌 I was on Ali Rohde’s “How I’m Building This” podcast this week!

Yes, this is a shameless plug of a podcast where I shamelessly plugged this newsletter.

This was my first podcast appearance — both a fun and strange experience. Ali, the host, found a great way to highlight the eloquent stuff I said:

It’s really hard to do things weekly. There are so many things that can come up on a weekly time horizon that will just destroy your whole week… even through those things, I just have to get it done. I’ve made it not a question, because if it’s a question if you [write], the answer is going to be “no,” eventually. So just don’t let it be a question.

…and also my “personality.”


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✨What’s (not-so) new in the Valley

  • Feature “Inspiration”: Social audio app Clubhouse is back in the news for some reasons it wants, and others it doesn’t. This week, Clubhouse rocketed into the top 50 iPhone apps, a pretty incredible milestone considering it’s still invite-only. But later in the week, Twitter released Spaces, a Clubhouse clone. Such is the life of a startup; you have soaring highs and crushing lows, with little normalcy in between.

  • Head-scratching Partnerships: Last Friday, TikTok held a “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular” event, again, basically creating a QVC for Millennials, and to do so, they partnered with… Walmart. Truly incredible. That wasn’t on my 2020 Bingo card.

  • People Doing My Hobbies Way Better Than Me: I love buying domain names. Just love it. I own a bunch that I will never actually use — from a potential Kanye Presidential website (YeezusForPreezus.com) to one that has to be worth a fortune (NerdCulture.com). But, of course, there is always a bigger fish. Adam Doppelt, founder of Urbanspoon, acquired a $1 million portfolio of domain names by flexing his hacker muscles. Highly recommended for any other domainbrains!


 Someone to know: Jessica Livingston

Jessica Livingston co-founded Y Combinator, an early-stage Silicon Valley investor that we have covered in some depth in past editions of SVOutsider. She’s much lower-key than Paul Graham, her husband and fellow co-founder, but she was just as important to the accelerator’s success. In PG’s words:

Early YC was a family, and Jessica was its mom. And the culture she defined was one of YC's most important innovations. Culture is important in any organization, but at YC culture wasn't just how we behaved when we built the product. At YC, the culture was the product.

She’s a great reminder that Twitter presence isn’t everything! I strongly recommend that all Outsiders check out her book, Founders at Work. It’s an incredible look inside the earliest days at the startup days of companies that are now hugely successful: Apple, Paypal, Gmail, Firefox, and more.

You can follow Jessica on Twitter.


Catch you on the outside,
Christian