I love California, but I had to leave. I grew up in Fremont, attended Stanford, and have spent most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, founding technology companies like Palantir and Addepar and investing in many others. In 2011 I founded 8VC, a venture-capital firm that today manages more than $3.6 billion in committed capital. Few top venture capitalists consider living anywhere other than California and a handful of global financial centers, but I am moving myself and dozens of my 8VC colleagues to a new land of opportunity: Texas.
The harsh truth is that California has fallen into disrepair. Bad policies discourage business and innovation, stifle opportunity and make life in major cities ugly and unpleasant.
Forty years ago my parents came to California because you could accomplish anything in the Golden State. Government policy facilitated the entrepreneurial spirit. Dreamers and doers could thrive. The burst of activity in tech, finance, medicine, energy and many other industries lasted for decades. But now a state like Texas provides these opportunities without the problems and baggage California has accumulated. Let me mention a few personal examples:
• Public safety. Ill-conceived criminal-justice reforms and radical district attorneys are taking a toll on urban life. Three of my colleagues’ wives have been harassed and chased by derelicts in San Francisco’s streets, which are littered with needles and human waste. My wife is afraid to walk around the city with our young daughters. Police often don’t even respond to harassment and property crime, which has surged; San Francisco’s property-crime rate is now the nation’s highest.