I have been posting a lot on leaving Chicago. My main potential destination has been Texas.
We are starting to see a better, more robust startup scene here in Chicago, although I feel the startup and Ruby scenes here are still a bit too Groupon-centric. I have always been a bit skeptical about startups. There seems to be a lot of circular reasoning about startups. People at startups tell themselves that they are sooo much better and smarter than bigger companies because they are more flexible and innovative because we are startups which means we are innovative and flexible because we are startups which means we are…….etc, etc. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean their product and/or execution are any good.
The point is that since things are changing, a lot of people think I am crazy for wanting to leave just when things might be starting to get good.
But I think I have hit upon part of the reason.
I went to Moo of I, down in Urbana-Champaign. I have kept in touch with about a dozen people from Moo of I. There are a lot of Moo of I alumni here in Chicago, but the few that I still talk to have all left Illinois. Most are in other states. One is in Jordan. He is Korean, so I am not too clear why he is in Jordan.
Amongst the people that I have gotten to know/became friends with over the past ten years, a lot of them are from other states. A few are from other countries.
So I think part of the reason I want to leave is that sometimes I feel like the whole world is moving, and I am standing still.
I have noticed that people from New York and California seem to have a hard time getting it in their heads that those locations are not on my radar. If you put a New Yorker, a Californian and a Texan in a room together, would they notice?
I am always looking at articles that I come across about different cities in the USA to help me decide if I should stay in Chicago or leave for some other city.
Main Street came up with a list of 10 cities that they think will do well in 2012. For the most part I can agree with some of their findings. Some of the cities on the list are Chicago, Austin and Houston. So it is pretty interesting.
The positives for Austin are the usual: the University of Texas, state government, and increasing employment in the private sector. The positives for Houston are the energy sector and a more stable housing market.
The reason that Chicago will do well in 2012 is because the next G8 meeting will be here. So there will be a lot of spending on security and because of all of the people coming in for the meeting. So while that means Chicago will see an uptick in 2012, there is no long-term trend as we see for Austin and Houston.
Many of the other cities are also on the list because they are the sites of one-time events: the Super Bowl (Indianapolis), the Democratic nominating convention (Charlotte) and the Rescumlican convention (Tampa). So what happens to all these cities in 2013? Will they rise or decline? If I leave Chicago, it will not be a short-term change.
In the past I have thought about going to North Dakota for a job. I have no idea if there is a need for software developers in North Dakota, or if my options would be oil rigs or nothing.
I saw an interesting article on Business Insider (the original article is here) about some of the things North Dakota has done over the past decade to improve their economy and stop the brain drain. It’s more than just oil.
One interesting tidbit was that people are moving there from many states, and some people are moving there from Texas. So it looks like my Plan B is someone else’s unsuccessful Plan A.
Image from Wikimedia
On my way home from work I got stuck at an intersection for about 10 minutes because there was some sort of “bike parade”. There were hundreds of people on bikes going down the street. They passed by the Belmont el station right when I got off. They turned left onto Clark, so I was kind of stuck. For about 10 minutes. As were the cars. As were all the other pedestrians.
I am really getting tired of this sort of thing. When I got back from Texas a couple of weeks ago, the traffic in my neighborhood was even worse because there was some neighborhood street fair. I do not think that I should have to change my routine for any fest or parade or art fair or any of that junk.
All people did during this fest was get drunk and make a lot of noise. Which is usually what they do in that part of the neighborhood when there is no fest.
If our new mayor wants to make Chicago a better city and if he wants to make it more business-friendly, here is my suggestion: end all of these fairs, fests, parades, etc. I want to live someplace where I can just go from Point A to Point B without anything unexpected getting in my way. I leave. Then I arrive. That is it. I honestly would not recommend that anyone move to Chicago. I really do not care about taxes. I just want to go about my business.
Going back to the bike parade: I am pretty sure that it had some sort of city sanction or permit. There were quite a few police officers in the parade. I am not sure what the point of it was. Was it to encourage people giving up their cars and bike more? If so, I guarantee it was a failure. It made bad traffic even worse. If you are the reason someone is spending even more time in traffic, they will not listen to what you have to say on transportation.
Image from Wikipedia
Originally posted 2011-05-17 07:26:54
Yesterday Rahm Emmanuel was inaugurated as mayor. A lot of people think that having a new mayor will revitalize our city. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I hope things get better around here, but I don’t know if it will be enough to get me to stay.
At the hour of the inauguration, I was on the CTA. There was a delay due to some signal problems. So I was on the CTA for an additional 30 minutes. I think it was pretty ironic. The start of a new era and I was motionless.
Image from City of Chicago website