It’s been almost two years since I moved back to Seattle for the second time. The city of New York is a really special place in my heart and it was difficult to move away from there, but the motivation was the be close to family. I moved to Capitol Hill and re-united with my my mentor at HTC. A year later I then joined Black Pixel, the one company I sought after for several years. It was the dream job. After leaving Black Pixel I spent months exploring to figure out what I would do next.
From that I exploration I met a mentor who really changed the way I worked and thought about ideas. I worked in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco California. As I worked, I also started contracting at One Medical, where my friend David (another designer named David H. with a slightly smaller cat) works. He told me that I would love it and there is this great new CTO who has been taking charge for a while and thinks I’d get along. That person is Kimber Lockhart. I remember when I first talked to her on the phone after a panel interview she did, I felt an instant connection and resonated with this person. As I contracted, she and I began doing 1:1s and the rest is history. I decided to join One Medical’s product team as the last decision I made in 2015.
2016 turned out to be a _really_ odd year. A lot of us can feel that once David Bowie died we knew this year was going to be a bad one (I’ll let you fill in the rest). In 2016 some personal events made it really important for me to remain in Seattle. I found myself on the Monday 7am Virgin America flight every week…so much that the staff and flight attendants all knew me. I’d fly to my first meeting and work there until Thursday evenings to fly home to Seattle.
Here’s the kicker…I didn’t officially have a place to live. I crashed with my aunt down in Redwood City and spent a lot of quality time with her. She is the one who taught me to be curious, live a simple life, and always travel. In addition, my friend Rob and his wife Emily took me in for several months with me crashing on their couch and occasionally feeding the cat. Their sacrifice made it possible for me to continue flying back and forth. By the middle of Summer I realized I needed a more steady arrangement and reached out to my friend who serendipitously was looking for someone to rent her place while she was traveling. It really reminded me of when my friend Damon was staying at my place while in Europe. His presence did such a favor for me to have someone trusted in my apartment.
This year has reminded me a lot of the power of community—a word that is often thrown around as a buzzword but yet so obviously necessary. Community for me is the tribe I’ve found in Seattle Xcoders and the Cocoa Community, my Destiny clan, and the Brunch Crew in San Francisco. As friends have sacrificed to accommodate me while I achieved a goal, I found that I wanted to pay it forward and have friends stay at my temporary place instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a hotel room. It also gave me the chance to catch up with them and spend some quality time.
2016 also brought constant change in my life and willingness to embrace change. The time feels right for a change, yet again. At the end of the year I will be moving down to the San Francisco Bay Area. The difference this time is I will only be living in one place—something I have not done in several years.
I would be lying if I said there wasn’t any initial reluctance to moving down there. In fact, I still do. Of course, there is the myth that rent is $800 billion a month for a studio…okay, that is slightly exaggerated. Just slightly. That actually wasn’t my concern.
My concern about San Francisco is that it is losing its sense of purpose and reality. There seems to be a focus on making the world easier, not better. You could not tell the difference between an episode of Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley and real life. The tech scene in San Francisco is very much often “the scene” and superficial. It seemed like more of a lifestyle instead of a privileage to make such an impact, and with such great power comes a great responsibility to do something meaningful.
However, my concerns were addressed with a sense of hope, meeting people who were truly authentic about their mission and was looking for the signal through all the noise. I met people who were part of a continuos narrative of some of the great pioneers of the bay area. I feel I have ties with people I look up to here. Similar to the connection I felt in Brooklyn with Adam Yauch, I have ruthless innovators who taught me to “just win baby” and be a crazy one.
My goal is to chase the big dream and finally do something really meaningful…be a living proveocation. I’m looking to put that dent in the universe. My commitment is to stay true to a mission in using technology to empower and enable humans, not exploit them.
I want to be a better community member, and really be present in one city. This starts with simply being a great host. I’ve traveled the world for so many years visiting friends, and as they have hosted me with wide arms open, I want to return the favor.
I will miss Seattle a lot. It is the city that where I have spent most of my adult life and I will always have ties here. Ever since moving back from New York I have appreciated it so much more than I ever did. I will miss most the Seattle Xcoders community—a place where I really found my tribe and sense of purpose. However, I know it is just a hop and a skip away to come home and visit friends.
When I was young our family friend, Mrs. Pulliam, once told my dad “David’s life is like an unwritten book. You’ll never know what the next chapter will contain.”
Here is to the next chapter.
– Yes, Wilson is moving
– The title is inspired by the Propellerheads song “Take California”, which was the song used in the original iPod commercial