From our Swindon Correspondent:
Jerry Seinfeld in the NYT
There’s some other stupid thing in the article about “bandwidth” and how New York is over because everybody will “remote everything.” Guess what: Everyone hates to do this. Everyone. Hates.
As someone who does a mix of remote and office work, no. I like remote. Lots of people like remote. Jerry Seinfeld is probably rich enough to live in a nice place close to the office, but lots of people working in New York live in cramped apartments that still have a commute. Tell people they can live somewhere cheaper and not waste time commuting, they’ll generally take it.
You know why? There’s no energy.
Energy, attitude and personality cannot be “remoted” through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.
No, they moved to New York because it was one of the 2 big entertainment places in the USA (the other being LA). Traditionally, you weren’t going to make it in comedy playing clubs in Dayton, Ohio.
This “energy and attitude” of cities is just woo. I’ve heard this dozens of times about London, and worked with companies there and they’re the same as anywhere.
And if you look at where comedy is at now, location is not so important. The physical networks that meant people discovered a comic have been replaced by YouTube and podcasting. You can be in Arizona (like Doug Stanhope is) and build an audience, publicise tours and books.
You ever wonder why Silicon Valley even exists? I have always wondered, why do these people all live and work in that location? They have all this insane technology; why don’t they all just spread out wherever they want to be and connect with their devices? Because it doesn’t work, that’s why.
Except that as a result of Covid, the likes of Twitter and Facebook have realised it works fine and are shifting that way permanently. Github, Atlassian and many other tech companies have been doing optional remote working for years. Making this work really well for large teams was only properly sorted out with the tools available in the past 5-10 years.
We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back.
Not in the same way, and nor will London, Paris or Rome. These places saw a lot of growth in demand (reflected in rents) as service jobs grew, and proximity mattered, but if you only go into the office once a fortnight, you can live a lot further out. You wouldn’t want to commute from Swindon to the city every day, but once a fortnight? Sure, why not.
Editor’s note – Jerry would do well to consider that point made by Karl Marx – technology determines the mode of social relations