Lately San Francisco has been in the news a lot for mostly the wrong reasons. Aparently tech companies continue to flock to sanfran despite being well past the cost breaking point. Out of control homeless population and absurd house prices go hand, in hand with people living month to month on six figure salaries and finding themselves on the streets immediately after the slightest hardship.
I live in Lisbon, a fairly cheap city in Europe, and all this sounds pretty crazy. As Make’s Sabrina Merlo noted on her visit to our Maker Faire Lisbon and San Francisco look like long lost twin cities, with the same by the sea feel, the same bridge and the same street cars. It’s October, sunny outside and I’m in a short sleeve polo shirt. Just had a good meal for 8 euros but sometimes go crazy and splurge 20 euros for tasty sushi. Housing is affordable and while we keep complaining about our public transport it covers all the wider metro area and it’s stellar by USA standards. A large part of the population has at least rudimentary English communication skills, certainly due to the fact tv is subtitled not dubbed, and we invented the multicultural metropolis.
While Lisbon remains mostly untapped Portuguese talent is well known as quite a few of the skilled engineers our technical universities graduate every year end up in London, Dublin or Berlin. Some smaller and more agile tech companies are already taking advantage of the Portuguese amenities but the practice hasn’t caught on yet. Maybe with the move of Web Summit to Lisbon that will change and more tech companies will open offices in Lisbon.