SF’s Dreamforce Is Back. And I Still Hate ‘Techies’

They’ve returned to the summit of all summits.

The very concept of Dreamforce isn’t inherently dystopian nor distasteful; there’s nothing off-putting about creating a community around a vocational cohort. It’s also become a (mostly) reliable calendar staple for local small businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, to financially benefit from. Startups, even if they haven’t entirely fledged the nest of profitably, will cheerfully throw $14,000 to reserve an entire 40-seat eatery for their employees, clients, and angel investors.

I’ve seen this happen. On more than one occasion

Again, the surface-level notions that decorate the mobile over Dreamforce aren’t offensive. It’s just that the realities of having 40,000 “techies” inundate a city so affected by their normalized six-figure incomes isn’t something I can shake off. And I haven’t since moving here in 2016 to pursue an editorial career.

Expected to be the largest iteration since the Covid-19 pandemic, Dreamforce remains the city’s biggest private event from its largest private employer, Salesforce. As the Chronicle reported, 40,000 in-person attendees — “a sold-out crowd” — will participate in this year’s global summit, inhabiting all corners of tech. It will span all three Moscone Center buildings from Tuesday through Thursday; the newspaper notes a total of 150,000 people are “registered online and in-person”; it’s a figure not far from the 171,000 people registered before the pandemic.

Disregarding the impact of the pandemic, the average tech worker salary in the U.S. for 2020 was $146,000 compared to a global average of $130,000. These are the people, if they reside in the municipality, bemoan the state of San Francisco — perched high inside large apartments, be them newly built or lined with decades-old patina, and have synonymized community engagement with financial transactions.

They flock to rooftop bars, wrapped in Patagonia vests. The shoelaces knotting their Allbirds sneakers are tied tight. It’s a similar feeling of tautness their feet feel when inside ski boots, worn while they carve the snow-capped hills around Lake Tahoe nearly every weekend come winter. 

They try drowning their miseries in the condensation that wets crystalware. Time and time again; to no avail.

They have friends in the arts — the creative fields. But they don’t understand how anyone is OK with making such little money in the second-most-expensive city in the United States. Crafting a life and livelihood around innovative manifestations is an alien concept. Or, rather: A vision of living they, themselves, weren’t brave enough to chase at one point… so they surrendered to a cult of mundanity.

These are humans who find a social cache in what exclusive airport lounges they can access. By proxy, they think a tad less of those who don’t hold the necessary credit scores high enough to gain access to those areas — though they wouldn’t outright say this.

They consume culture; regurgitate it; move on and move away from here, all while complaining about how life is too hard, too expensive, too unfit. True forms of community evade them — as expected. Why? It’s merely another byproduct of organizing life around affluence and chasing roles that support their lavishness.

Techies, especially those who reside in San Francisco, live under an umbrella of stigmas. For those of us who’ve managed to eke out an existence here outside the realm of ad sales and app development, we’ve come to learn these prejudgments prove mostly true, unfortunately. 

Grindr and Scruff and Hinge and Tinder have become playgrounds for flexing vacations to exotic travel destinations. Their friends in photos look to all be in tech. They contain the same amount of melanin in their epidermis as them.

Diversity is aspirational, so long as it involves dining at nice restaurants or comes with an Equinox membership.

Until Friday, there are now thousands more of them running around downtown San Francisco, rolling their eyes at encampments en route to do a bit of retail therapy at Union Square. As someone who, in fact, lives downtown — I hate it here. Well, at least until Monday. 

1 Comment

  • Corporate Hater

    Dreamforce attendees aren’t techies.

    The event is for sales teams and middle managers from generic corporations from all across the US and world.

    You should be hating on all corporate people.

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