The Silver Lining to the Tech Meltdown

To the editors:

I would like to comment on Robin S. Lee’s “Postcard from San Francisco: The New New Economy” (Opinion, Aug. 10). I moved to San Francisco a year ago—probably the worst time to come here in recent years. No one knew that the dot-com bubble was about to burst, so workers were still flocking here to grab a piece of the pie, and landlords had a field day charging exorbitant rents for ordinary apartments.

Imagine lining up two hours before an open house with 50 other apartment-seekers, only to rush inside and wave cash in front of the landlord’s nose, offering him more than the $2,600 he’s asking for that 2-bedroom and begging him to choose you.

Things were getting out of control last summer, and while I sincerely feel sorry for everyone who has been laid off, I can’t help being happy that this city is starting to be a little more normal. A few months ago, people with good jobs were leaving because they couldn’t afford to live here, but now those who survived the layoffs are starting to find a better way of life: landlords are more willing to renegotiate lower rents, parking on the street is actually becoming possible, and people have more discretionary income. Today, one doesn’t have to make $100,000 a year to really enjoy what this city has to offer.

I’m sorry that the return to the “old” economy has forced many great people to leave this city, and I’m sorry that everyone here, myself included, has been touched in some way by the demoralizing process of layoffs. However, I think we can all learn from recent events that while the greatest successes often come out of the biggest risks, those risks are no guarantee of success and should be treated with an appropriate degree of caution.

I hope San Francisco can hold onto the great entreprenurial spirit of the dot-com boom, but I also hope that the next time around we can judge an idea on its merits before we throw millions at it.

Virginia S. Fuller ’00

San Francisco, Calif.

Aug. 19, 2001