The One Question San Francisco's Mayor Asks Tech Companies

To keep entrepreneurs in the city, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee employs some admirable communication skills.

When it comes to keeping entrepreneurs and innovators from fleeing Silicon Valley, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee seems to be using a skill employed by many a good boss: compassionate communication. Lee told the New York Times that every Tuesday he meets with tech companies to "find out what their crazy name means, like Indiegogo, Yammer." Lee talks to the employees and has one question for them: "What do I need to do to keep you in the city?"

Compassionate communication with employees is a key skill that separates a good boss from a bad one, fostering loyalty and enthusiasm in workers. By meeting with his city's brightest minds, Lee is trying to foster the same kind of enthusiasm in San Francisco's entrepreneurs.

Lee recently spoke at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored Conference in San Francisco, and said he tells companies: "Keep innovating, we'll be right there."

[Image: Flickr user Joe]

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  • ExBayAreaResident

    This is good...but has he realized that young families that help make a community strong are leaving almost en masse because they are getting priced out of this high-tech but very high-priced city? Is he doing anything at all to keep them in his city?


    This author is aware that Sillicon Valley is not in San Francisco, rIght?


    San Francisco's city limits end 7 miles south of the golden gate. You need to travel another 20 miles south to get to the north end of Silicon Valley. Saying Mayor Lee is trying to keep companies in Silicon Valley makes zero sense.

  • Gregory Lemieux

    I guess technically Silicon Valley is the southern pennisula of the San Francisco Bay Area and northern San Jose. So, no, San Francisco is not part of Silicon Valley. Imagine the Bay Area as being analogous to the five boroughs of NYC and you'll get the idea. Silicon Valley is just one of the places that makes up the Bay Area. Sure the tech culture bleeds into everything around here, but San Francisco, the East Bay, and other regions have major cultural, political, economic, and culinary differences compared to Silicon Valley.

    That said, the thrust of the linked article in the Times was to highlight the fine line that Mayor Lee is having to tread; he's trying to keep tech companies in SF (or have them move there instead of having everyone commute south to Mountain View), while at the same time stem the wave of gentrification. So far it doesn't look likes he's doing so hot as one of the developments he backed just took a major blow at the ballet box.

    I'm disheartened to hear that's the "one" question he asks them, but I'm glad to hear that the tech companies that are part of the city want to be good stewards of the communities they now inhabit.