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When I moved to San Francisco in the heydays of the tech boom, she was a much younger city, a soulful city trying to define herself in the face of a massive influx of wealth and talent. As foreign influences mixed with intrinsic identities, the two conflicted causing unsustainable inflation and population booms that put public utilities on edge. But more importantly, this influx also brought an abundance of culture and talent that not only defines San Francisco, but her empire of the Pacific. Her identity was never lost; it only grew, evolved, and matured. And through this profound experience, San Francisco gave birth to her most important offspring. It wasn't technology; it was the public medium.

San Francisco has always been known for its counter-culture identity, a voice that rung independently of the echoes across the country. This independence was forged by our own identity as much as our country's. America was settled by individuals who chose to leave the Old World and establish a new life in a land thousands of miles from home. The West is no different. What they found in California was an environment free from the influences of Old Money, and an atmosphere that was accepting of ideas and peoples of different cultures. That's how my father ended up here at the turn of the millennium.

In the past, technology has always been a compliment instead of a core in business. Associates who close deals are more pronounced than the analysts who ran the business. Because of the scarcity of resources, also known as economics, there can only be a few businesses who can earn a contract. A simple example would be construction. The investor can only pick one developer for a new skyscraper, because there is only one plot of land, and only enough capital for one attempt. You can't start with one company and then switch to another mid project without very serious and dangerous consequences. Issues can range from labor agreements, to the suppliers and grade of steel, to the standard bolts used to uphold the concrete jungle.

Traditional industries require significant time and money to implement, and the effectiveness of a transaction cannot be realized until long after the investment has been spent. Thus, in these situations, the winners of contracts fall on appearances, because the results aren't readily available. However, the technology industry is a bit different. If you wanted to implement an electronic payment solution, you can actually try all 5 major providers in under a work week. The culture of San Francisco isn't the art of the deal, it's empiricism of results.

The reason why technology fertilized in San Francisco results largely from its culture. Back in the early 90's, there was this growing novelty dreamed up by scientists called the Internet. Most authorities dawned this wave of information technology as a passing phase that will soon subside to traditional lines of business. If you look at the Internet objectively, it's insane. The Internet is a series of tubes that connect thoughts and opinions, and if you pitched this idea to Wall Street two decade ago, they would have called you crazy.

The fools who did believe in this future of digital technologies moved out to San Francisco where a culture and a metropolis blossomed from its influx of talent. Within a decade, two nerds from Stanford, an idealist from Palo Alto, and a Jewish kid from Harvard forged the backbone of the modern American economy. They chose the West as their home, not out of necessity like many modern tech professionals, but because of the culture of acceptance that defined San Francisco.

Today, no matter how inane your ideas are, you can always attempt to build a life here in our city. Where in other places, you are mocked for working on a cloud for your cloud; San Franciscan investors will converse with a 25-year-old with the same dignity and respect that they'd show to a seasoned executive. Because technology changes so rapidly, it's quite possible that the youth does possess a better solution than an engineer ingrained in the same software stack for the past 15 years.

Most people moved here because they wanted to use their skills to build elegant solutions to profound problems. As we started our first jobs, we slowly realized that technology was never the avenue to change the world; it's a tool that enables us to do so. One of the best innovations of the past decade was Uber, a ridesharing business that alleviated transportation issues in the city. However, the issue was never technology, it was communication. Uber allowed the consumers of transportation to effectively inform the suppliers. Technology was the tool used to provide an apt solution to logistics.

Furthermore, the traditional giants of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter aren't technology companies; they are media companies. Google turned the whole Internet into the medium of choice for information, Facebook and LinkedIn created the social medium between friends and acquaintances, and Twitter forged the modern standard for mass communication. Together, these companies created a world where people are free to voice their opinions without the restrictions that obliged the empires of the past. Information wasn't controlled by newspapers, broadcasters, or think-tanks, it is freed to be judged and shared by the public.

And through this advent of media, San Francisco defined herself. She isn't a technology metropolis, she's a media metropolis. We created new ways for people to interact and communicate. We removed the barriers to the libraries of the world. We gave everyone a voice. Whether you are Bill Gates or a 9th grader from Petaluma, each tweet is processed exactly the same by the technologies that enable it.

The birth of the public medium promoted not only freedom, but also opportunity. Like all mediums, this public media has to be supported economically, just like the traditional medias of TV, newspaper, and radio. Behind the technological giants of the Silicon Valley, lies the true source of our wealth: advertisement. Google isn't an Internet company, it's an advertising company. Instead of TV or radio, its medium of choice is the Internet. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are no different; behind the tweets, connects, and likes lay a technological infrastructure supported by advertisement. Despite our progressive initiatives, the giants of San Francisco are still businesses.

And in under a decade, this newfound wealth drove the supporting information technology industry of the Bay Area. Outside of San Francisco, why would anyone need data processing in the petabytes? Why would a bank in Butte, MT need a data architect when it only has 3000 members? The massive scale of our public medium demanded an infrastructure that seems esoteric outside of Silicon Valley. But when our local businesses implemented these initiatives in 2006, it established the foundations of 2016's economy. Which company doesn't have a Twitter or Facebook? Which company still uses ledgers instead of databases? Who still sends memos when there's email or Slack? Who still uses physical servers instead of a cloud? These are basic business infrastructures that seemed inane only ten years ago.

And through this growth of technology, came San Francisco's most important contribution: the democratization of the economy. Power has shifted from private boardrooms to the public, and it all started with advertisement. The cost of entry to advertise on Google is only a few hundred bucks, and the price per ad is determined by economics. This is juxtaposed against traditional media where the cost of entry can be a few hundred thousand, and the price of your campaign is determined by rounds in a boardroom.

Soon, this democratization spread to the transportation industry, where the power shifted from a handful of medallions to anyone with a car and a smartphone. And with this new democratization, came the economics that determined the value of your labor. Taxi drivers and patrons constantly switch between Uber and Lyft to use the service that offers the better value. The equilibrium price adjusts to the ebb and flow of supply and demand rather than some arbitrary set price. If you don't believe me, try ordering a Lyft on a rainy day. San Francisco does not obey the prices set by corporations, but by the natural laws of economics.

No one said that this democratization makes life easier; it just means that everyone has a chance to succeed. If you want to make video games, Unity will provide you the game engine, Amazon will provide you the host, and Google will help you monetize. With such readily available tools, it's up to you, the individual, to try, and fail, and try again, and fail again, and keep on trying until you have something you are proud of. No one's going to hold your hand and walk you step-by-step to success, but no one says you can't try. It's up you to forge your own destiny.

The soul of San Francisco is the voice of its citizens, and the growth of our city depends on our insurance that every voice is heard despite the popularity of their opinions. In a world where technology evolves daily, the next revolution can come from the sociologist from Seattle, as easily as the senior economist from Marin. The future of our city depends on our integrity to treat every single individual, irregardless of their backgrounds, with the same level of dignity and respect.

Because in San Francisco, our economy was built by courageous women and men who moved to the city with a few hundred bucks and an idea. Because in San Francisco, we don't care about your background or experiences, we only care about what you can accomplish. Because in San Francisco, your voice isn't just your words, it's your talents, your contributions, your thoughts, your desires, your motivations, your ideas, and your rights as a citizen of our city. It's not ivory tower executives who pick the winners and losers; it's the public economy that decides between success and failure. Whether you're an engineer, a developer, a biologist, an architect, a writer, or an economist, it's your contributions that transformed our city into a tech metropolis.

The rains of March subside and give way to the seeds of a new year. For our glimmer in February wasn't our might, it was a harbinger of our strength. And as the rest of the country saw the light that faded, they think forward to the blistering heats of their summer and the coldest winters of San Francisco. To them, our moment of brilliance has come and gone. And as the summer days grow bountiful and lush in the East, the West resigns to the biting winds of the Pacific. They obliquely confirm their truth. But our summers aren't orthodox; we follow and live on a unique calendar, and we bide, toil, and strive beyond the faded glories of the past. And when the summer resigns to the chills of autumn, the might of San Francisco rises. As the leaves fall and the days of light fade into the colds of winter, San Francisco shines brighter, longer, and stronger than any could ever foresaw. Our golden age hasn't come and gone, it's being built by people like you.

It's not technology that built our metropolis. It's people that built the Empire of the West.

At GDC, I got the chance to interview Two Tribes Co-founder Collin van Ginkel, a true veteran of the game industry. His career started in 2001 and ends this year with the release of their final game Rive: the best platformer I've played in recent memory, possibly ever. It takes the best elements of Gunstar Super Heroes, Bastion, and Super Meat Boy, and combines them into one game. We chatted a bit about Rive, but the conversation soon wandered to his career story, what he learned in his 15 years, and the future of the game industry.

 

Collin: "Our first game was released in 2001; it was Toki Tori for the Gameboy Color" And for some reason we managed to sell the game to Capcom and they distributed it in the US and the UK. I was still in school studying interaction design... And I was like, I just wanted to make games. If I can sell my hobby project to Capcom and get it in stores in America and the UK , why am I still I school? 

 

"So that was the start of Two Tribes."

 

"If we can do it once, we should be able to do it again, and then it wasn't so easy. That's always the case... We worked on the Game Boy Advance, since it came out in 2001, and we almost convinced Nintendo to be the publisher (for our next game). It was called 'Three Tribes'" a co-op RPG like Zelda where players can help each other out"

 

"Then we went on to mobile phones games before smartphones, and it was truly horrible... It was very annoying to make (games) for a million different phones without decent controls... After a while, we made a Worms game for the Nokia N-Gage" it was Nokia trying to make a cool game device" Then we went back to the Nintendo (DS) with a game called Garfield, and Worms Warfare 2, in 2006 or 2007... Fast forward a few years" we got ourselves involved in digital distribution, and started making games for the IPhone, the original Wii as well, some NDS, and then transitioned to PC and consoles." 

 

"At some point two years ago, we had 15 people working for us... The last game we made was". Toki Tori 2 and it didn't bring in enough money to keep going"and we had to let go 12 people of the 15... It was back to our roots because in the beginning it was just 2 or 3 people... Now it's still those 2, 3 people and we are working on Rive... and we just announced we are going to retire and stop making new games after this."

 

"Basically we are old. I'm only 37, I'm not old old, but" when you are young you see more possibility and you embrace everything that's new"For me, video games is something you play on your couch and turn on the TV" Nothing with internet, or Twitch streaming or season passes. A good game should be simple, straight forward and super fun"and in this environment, it's difficult to make people enthusiastic about that because it's too old school for these days."

 

"It's been good. This is our last GDC, we came here and we gave a goodbye party yesterday" and we invited the friends we've made over the last ten, fifteen years. And we are looking forward to finishing Rive and making it the best possible game we can."

 

 

http://new.sftechbeat.com/images/rive2.jpg

 

Jason: "What are you going to do after?"

 

Collin: "I have no clue, but for some reason it feel like it should pop up in my mind without thinking about it." 

 

Jason: "Do you think you'll stay in the game industry?"

 

Collin: "I don't know."

 

Jason: "VR is what mobile was in 2007."

 

Collin: "Everyone thinks its going to explode."

 

Jason: "But it won't until 2018" let's take a normal market cycle" no one is going to buy this until Christmas of this year, so 2017 is when the cool people will have it... So instead of asking for an Xbox, they ask for an Oculus... 2017 is when all the influencers will be playing it, and 2018 is when it hits mainstream." 

 

Collin: "For me, when it's immersive it has to be perfect. It would be a long, long time before I accept it as a mass market thing."

 

Jason: "VR is definitely going to explode, but the big thing is going to be AR, augmented reality... VR is mostly for entertainment purposes, but AR will have more serious applications... especially in war." 

 

Collin: "But also for consumers when it's in your car"and renders the arrows of Google Maps on the street where you should go."

 

Jason: "That's pretty cool."

 

Collin: "But I think it will be a while before we can get that to work properly. You need to understand the world in technology and layer something on top of that."

 

Jason: "What I heard, they aren't going to process the world in real time; they would map out an area already" so there's already a map on the server."

 

Collin: "And they superimpose stuff onto that map."

 

Jason: "It's really big, and I really think that's where the industry is going to head... For games, it's going to peak at VR, and go to AR for a little bit, but for technology in general, AR is where it's going to go to."

 

Collin: "It's more useful for regular use" but if AR encompasses your entire view, it's just VR... So AR is like VR but more advanced."

 

http://new.sftechbeat.com/images/rive3.jpg

 

Jason: "What game would you like to see VR?" 

 

Collin: "If you were to say would you want to play Shadow of the Colossus in VR, I would say Yes" the thing that overwhelmed me was the scale of everything" And if you are standing there and you see this guy towering above you, that would be really impressive. It's the perspective that you can get" it could be the Grand Canyon we are sitting now" and anything we do in that environment would feel impressive because of the scale."

 

Jason: "For me, I'm waiting for World of Warcraft to come out"That would be so much fun to be hanging out with all your friends and killing bosses. That's something everyone wants to do."

 

Collin: "I guess in 5 years we will know. My guess is that VR will be more mature and AR is what VR is now."

 

Jason: "The problem with AR is that when you look at something, it has to process that image?"

 

Collin: "Yea, it basically has to 3D scan your environment" and the precision is not there... If you look at something, it has to process it, and you turn your head like this."

 

(Collin turns his head to the side)

 

"It's not even a quarter of a second" And when I look there, it takes the image, processes it, and overlays the additional information. It will always be behind" It's a really big challenge to get it fast enough... It needs to record reality and change it... My guess is that the HoloLens is the same thing, it's just something that they want us to believe in, because it will be at some point, but just not now."

 

Jason: "That's cool I've never thought about it like that."

 

Collin: "I think about it because it's my job, well it's not my job now. It was my hobby, but I made it my job. I think about it because it's interesting for me."

 

Jason: "I did the same thing."

 

http://new.sftechbeat.com/images/rive4.jpg

 

I was thoroughly impressed when I played through the demo. The first thing I noticed was the precision of the controls; I had no doubt over my movements or actions. Next came the atmosphere, art style and narration, it engrossed me in a world just like Bastion. Finally, the combat was just plain old fun. The encounters were diverse and a bit harder than I was used to, but it never felt unfair; the precise controls carried my character exactly as I commanded. 

 

Rive is simple, straight forward, and super fun. It's the definition of a great game.

 

Earlier this week, I sat down with Ryan Cousims, the CEO of Krtkl Inc., makers of the Snickerdoodle. The Snickerdoodle is a SOM, system on module, SBC, single board computer, where the IO's, input/outputs, are reconfigurable. In common terms, it's a mini computer that can adjust its inputs and outputs to fit your exact needs. The Snickerdoodle is unique in its FPGA, field programmable gate array, architecture: It's "hardware that you can reconfigure with software." For example, semiconductor manufacturers use FPGA to prototype new chip architectures.

FPGA architecture allows you to "dictate which signal is going to where and what type of signal it is, because you are rearranging the actual gates itself." This is in juxtaposition to most SBC's, such as a Raspberry Pi, which have fixed IO pins. "As opposed to a regular processor " all the legs coming out of the processor are static because that's how that particular piece of silicon was printed at the factory and you can't change it at all."

Let's take your general 40 pin IO board: 20 GP, general purpose, pins, 10 PWM pins for motors, and 10 I²C pins for communication. You can only connect 3 or 4 motors to the 10 PWM pins, and if your drone needs more motors, you are out of luck. FPGA architecture allows you to turn all those pins into PWM, so you can connect 10 to 15 motors without restrictions to a pre-planned design. "It makes it really flexible, when you are developing systems that have all these interfaces, like robots, and sensors and cameras, and each one has different requirements for it, and being able to change it on the fly as you are building makes it so much easier to do and finish the project." KRTKL does this by rewriting the circuit design, somewhat like RAM. "You load a block of memory to it and it'll stay that way until you turn the device off" It's the same process here but you are rebuilding that every time with a new configuration."

The FPGA design even allows you to hardcode some algorithms, such as video processing. KRTKL recently worked with a "consumer drone doing computer vision on board, but the problem was that the processor they were using was being overloaded by video processing data, the idea here is you can lower your power consumption and take all that load off the processor, by doing all the real time artificial vision stuff in the hardware, the FPGA, as opposed to the processor itself, so the processor is left to manage the higher level flight and control logic." If you design the hardware to only process one certain type of data array, you can do some of the brute work on the SBC, before it's sent to the processor. Now that's pretty cool technology.

The Snickerdoodle, by Krtkl, is a FPGA SBC that revolutionizes the prototyping and concept-to-market processes of hardware projects. I see significant usage in drones, where the flexibility to design your robot as you-see-fit contributes greatly to the functionality of a great product. I hope you didn't get lost among all the technical jargon, because this is fascinating piece of hardware. The Snickerdoodle's unique flexibility and configurability is unmatched by any product on the current market. Their crowd funding campaign raised 135% above its asking goal, so I'm not the only person singing its praises. The Snickerdoodle ships its Alpha wave in April to select users, and opens up to the general populace later this year. As engineers, your success shouldn't be limited by the pre-defined allocations of your Raspberry Pi, but will thrive on your ability to design a great product.

Twitchcon concluded yesterday in San Francisco, and it was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. It was an opportunity for gamers to come together, hang out, and celebrate the culture that defines us. The most popular genre by far was Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA. MOBAs grew massively over the last five years due to the insurgence of Dota and LoL. For many, Valve, the developers of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike, solidified MOBA as a permanent genre in the video game industry, in the same way Blizzard solidified RTS and MMORPG. But, that doesn't mean Valve will keep the crown in the coming years.

At this year's Twitchcon, I got to play a handful of excellent MOBAs that really pushed the boundaries of this rapidly maturing genre. The best game I played was Paladins, a FPS MOBA from the makers of Smite. Smite, in my opinion, was lackluster due to its first-person approach (as in controlling the movements and actions of your character directly, instead of issuing orders through mouse clicks), but a first-person game engine made perfect sense for Paladins. Paladins is Team fortress using the Smite engine with Hearthstone card draw mechanics. I also have a few beta keys for the first gamers to message This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Paladins is refreshing, because it is different from the standard archetype. TBH, what's the point of leaving Dota or LoL for another clone. The only way to gain traction in the video game industry, or all industries for that matter, is to do something uniquely different. Therefore, it's now longer a question of whether to play Dota, Dota clone A, or Dota clone B. It's whether to play Dota or Paladins.

At Twitchcon, I also got to play two mobile MOBAs, Vainglory and Call of Champions. Vainglory is about as polished as a MOBA can get on the tablet, but the actual game play is pretty standard. There are differences here are there, but it's pretty much the same core MOBA mechanic. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with at all. In fact, I think it'll gain a lot of traction in the coming year, because it's truly a well made mobile game. The other game I wanted to call out is Call of Champions, a mobile game that casualizes the MOBA experience. It's a 5 minute battle where complex RPG elements are replaced by combat oriented brawls. 

I also want to give a shoutout to H1Z1, King of the Hill survival game, and World of Warships, naval combat arena. They aren't my personal cup of tea, but I think they are excellent games in their respective fields.

Whether you personally like MOBAs or not, it's the direction that the industry is heading. MOBAs allow friends to play together in burst segments without any prior commitment; this is in contrast to some MMORPGs. Other than game knowledge, a person with 1000 hours played does not have any inherent advantages over someone with 10 hours played. 

Finally, I want to talk about monetization. The growth of MOBA benefits the gaming community due to its Free 2 Play nature. I'm not talking about the South Park version of F2P; I'm talking about games where you can play at a competitive level without any monetary investment. Most MOBAs derive their income from selling skins, but some extend their monetization to selling play styles. The classic example of such games are Hearthstone and LoL. Take LoL for example, all heroes are relatively balanced, but people can buy new heroes to increase the diversity of their games. After the whiplash the industry received from F2P over the past few years, the maturation of actual Free 2 Play is a definitive boon. You don't need to pay to play at a competitive level, but you might have more fun playing as a samurai over a knight.

I'll still be a Dota fan for as far as I can see, in the same vein as how World of Warcraft is still the dominant MMORPG ten years after launch. However, I won't be surprised if I start complementing my day with a few matches of Vainglory and Paladins. Valve, we're only...friends, for now.

A few weeks ago, I met with Colin Karpfinger with Punch Through Designs. Colin grew up in Wisconsin, and started Punch Through in Minneapolis around the turn of the decade. Punch Through was initially a consulting firm doing work on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices, and they operated for 5 years before taking their first seed round to focus on their first product, the Bean.

The Bean is an Arduino Bluetooth micro controller that's extremely energy efficient. About a month ago, Punch Through announced the Bean+, an upgrade version of the original device. In under a month, it raised over $135,000 on Kickstarter: more than 4 times the original ask amount. The Bean+ can be thought of as the Iphone Plus to the vanilla Six. In this article, I'll be referring to the Bean+ as just the Bean, as they are both the same type of core product.

Punch Through is now in its sixth year of operation, and it has developed a strong reputation for its expertise on BLE technology. They have offices in San Francisco and Minneapolis, employing 15 people, most with an engineering background. Punch Through still generates most of its revenue from consulting, but they recently took a seed round to focus on the Bean. The Bean isn't something you'll find at the retail Best Buy; it's a core component used to build more complex hardware products. "At the highest level, it's a micro computer useful at doing low-level tasks." Low-level tasks, in computer language, means stuff like turning on a light, or making a wheel spin. 

The Bean ships with an accelerometer and a temperature sensor, but its designed to allow easy connection of additional devices. The Bean is extremely energy efficient, able to operate on a single coin cell battery. "For example, a Raspberry Pi might not even start" on that. This all sounds great, but what makes it so innovative? I was kind of wondering the same thing as I chatted with Colin, until he gave me a concrete example. "This is one of the projects that I could talk about. We are working with a company called Urban Earth, whose working on a semi-automated vegetable growing setup. The Bean tracks the amount of sunlight, recommend what can grow, and even automates watering."

Basically, the Bean is a mini computer that can take inputs, such as various sensors, and then outputs low-level functions, like turning on a water sprinkler. The Bean has seen use from elementary classrooms to NASA, it's a core component that makes it significantly easier to design and build useful hardware products. The reason I'm excited about this product, because it's actually useful. It solves an existing problem by creating a product that connects various hardware machineries, just like how a server connects various clients. 

The one issue I did notice with the Bean is that it needs to compile its code on a computer or a server, sent from the phone app . Apple doesn't allow code compilation directly on the Iphone. So if you are programming your solar sensor out in the Sahara, you'll need to bring your laptop with you to compile the Arduino code before its sent to the Bean. 

The Bean is an easy-to-use and versatile Bluetooth low energy micro controller that solidifies a standardized solution for integrated hardware products. In our software dominated world, it's refreshing to see such a useful hardware product, that I wonder why it took so long for something like this to reach the market.

A few weeks ago, I posted a 5-question survey on Reddit to find out our perceptions of rental prices across the Bay Area. I asked the following 5 questions:

  • Which city do you live in?
  • Do you rent or own?
  • What's your current rent?
  • What do you believe should be the "fair" rent?
  • When did you move in?

You can find the original dataset below. I also scrubbed the dataset by standardizing the responses, categorizing the cities, and removing entries where rent was under $10 a month.

Dataset

The first and foremost takeaway is the drastic difference in rent perceptions between renters and homeowners. Across the Bay Area, the average monthly rent, whether owning or renting, is around $2,200, which is strikingly close to each other. However, the two perceived rents: $2,583 for owning versus $1,699 for renting, are substantially discrepant. Owners believe their property is undervalued by 16%, while renters believe their property is overvalued by 28%.  

It also seems that people who moved in earlier pay less rent, and are more satisfied with their perceived rent prices. After 2010, on average, Bay Area residents believe their monthly rent/mortgage is overvalued. From this graph, we can clearly see the effects of the 2008 recession.

Unsurprisingly, most people who recently moved into the Bay Area are renters, which means their monthly rent is most likely overvalued. 

Finally, we hit you with some simple facts about rents across the city. The largest discrepancies come from the South Bay. Where renters believe their property is 44% overvalued; yet, homeowners believe their rent is 30% undervalued.

 

You are free to use the dataset above as you please, just remember to source it. Thanks!

Some people say that I’m the last to hold out. The staunch California Republican who can’t stand to vote for this politician. The Democrats can say everything they want about Hillary Clinton, but who she is will never change. I’ll never like her as a person, but that’s okay. Her job isn’t to win the country’s appeal, her job is to represent a nation. 

On Thursday, I tuned in to Clinton's acceptance speech on Twitch in jocality; more interested in the live banter than the content itself. But as Clinton began her speech, it became apparent that she believes in what she’s doing; and despite her methods, she’s been fighting for it longer than my lifetime. 

As she continued, I realized that her tone greatly contradicted the convention in Cleveland. It wasn’t about a country in peril waiting to be rescued, it was a message of optimism and unity. It called for an America that believes in the struggles of our people and accepted a world that could be better. It was a story of national pride. 

There are always problems throughout our country, but when a candidate speaks of a fearful future, instead of a prideful potential, he is not a true American. 

Our country is not defined by freedom, liberty, or any of the other catchphrases out there, America is defined by the cultures and ideologies of her people. We are a nation that respects others, but will fight to our last breath for what is right. We are a diverse country of acceptance, because strength comes from unity. Strength comes from Americans, together. 

Though I still dislike her as a person, I want to live in a  country that believes in herself, a country that upholds herself to the highest standards. A country where our children know and understand that Americans are good people. There is no point to winning, if we win without pride. Like Clinton said,

“America wins, because America is good.”

Street musicians bring livelihood to our city and we should support them. On Saturday, I picked up my guitar and went busking in Union Square. I heard somewhere that these street musicians make up to $10-$15 an hour. I was completely wrong. People won't pay for something if they can get it for free, also known as the Free Rider Problem.

Street musicians provide a lot of culture to their vicinity, and if we don't support them, they'll go away. While I was busking, I met many people who were tapping their feet and doing other little oddities that indicated their enjoyment. My favorite instance was when a little girl of two starting dancing, that really made my day. I ended up making one dollar after an hour of busking. The money mattered little to me, as I was just hanging out in Union Square enjoying my Saturday; however, some might not be as fortunate. These musicians are providing significant value in terms of entertainment, and we must support them. As a citizen, I'd rather spend a dollar on live street music, than a fourth of a Philz Coffee.

If you enjoy live music, please donate. Whether it's a dollar or some loose change, you are a patron of San Francisco's culture. These musicians bring soul to the streets of our city.

John started his career in the Ohio senate at the age of 26, quickly followed by 9 terms as a representative for Ohio's 12th district. Afterwards, he spent a decade as a banker before winning the governorship of Ohio. A fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican, John has a good heart and a maturity that seems absent in the current field. I hope he stays and fight, because the longer he stays on stage, the less revolting the Republican Party becomes. As Democrats envelope most of the moderates in America, the only way to win the Republican primary is to shift further to the right than the next guy. At this stage, I can't vote for any of the elephants in the room, so I might as well vote for a donkey; because either of them is better than a rabble-rouser who prides on anger rather than resolution.

John, I like you, and I think you have the right heart to be the leader of the free world. I don't agree with some of your policies and I know you are attributing Ohio's recovery more to yourself than to the business cycle, (seriously, which state didn't gain a trillion jobs from 2009-2015). Even if you don't win, please run until the very end. Without you, our ticket consists of a bigot, a sleazebag, and a chump. At least we can have one sensible adult in the room.

Last week, while I was enjoying the sunshine at Dolores Park, I met a girl visiting her family back home. She grew up in the city, but moved out of town to study theater. Lilly was a very attractive and intelligent lady, who happened to work as a dancer. Whatever paid the bills, right? Apparently, she made between $400 and $1,300 a week depending on how hard she "hustled", and this is only in Canada. Dancers start at around $20 a song, but a patron can buy an hour of her time for $150.

After we parted ways, I kind of wondered about the clubs here in the city. So began my investigation. I noticed was that most clubs in the city have a cover: set 20% of the time and arbitrary 80% of the time, dependent upon on the doorman. The cover ranged between $5 and $20, but generally settled around $10 after you get their "Special (arbitrary) Discount". I want to say that this is the common among most of San Francisco's nightlife. Some clubs even required a certain standard of attire, restricting opened toed shoes and hoodies. I was getting food around 7 wearing sandals and a sweatshirt, so my personal experience was relatively distanced. I did step inside one club briefly, but left shortly as I didn't want to spend any money. From what I could tell, your experience inside is entirely dependent on the dancers, and if there's someone like Lilly, you'll have a great time as your wallet slowly drains.

There seems to be some correlation between the quality of the dancers and attire standards, but little correlations with the cover price. 

I think her music is good, too bad she isn't from San Francisco. California is local enough.

 

The NFL hosted their annual kickoff concert at the Ferry Plaza, featuring Ellie Goulding and Train. There were also some football stars, too.

 

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