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Apple’s New San Francisco Office Could be Tool in Tech Talent Wars

entrepreneur-593372_1920by Julia Love, REUTERS
From Apple’s(AAPL.O) earliest days, executives insisted that employees work from its headquarters in sleepy suburban Cupertino.

The thinking, championed by Steve Jobs, was that a centralized campus would put the CEO “within walking distance of everyone,” said Steve Wozniak, who founded the company with Jobs.

That stance may finally be softening as Apple prepares to open chic new offices in San Francisco’s high-rent South of Market neighborhood, which has spawned scores of promising startups.

Apple’s decision to plant a flag in San Francisco, 46 traffic-choked miles north of its headquarters, comes years after similar moves from rival tech firms such as Google (GOOGL.O) and LinkedIn (LNKD.N) and marks a turning point in Apple’s willingness to accommodate workers, according to recruiters and former employees.

The move is one sign of the intensifying war for tech talent – and of the overwhelming preference of younger tech workers to live and work in the city, with its vibrant nightlife and public transportation. The two floors Apple has leased in a building mostly occupied by CBS Interactive offer abundant open space and exposed ceilings, the preferred tech aesthetic.

As Apple’s Silicon Valley rivals dangled perks to woo workers in the latest tech boom, the iPhone maker mostly held firm – the company still does not offer free lunch, and it was among the last companies to operate shuttles to and from the city.

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9 thoughts on “Apple’s New San Francisco Office Could be Tool in Tech Talent Wars

  1. Michelle Reyes - Project Coordinator, San Francisco

    Great article and comments by John Lewerenz. It really illustrates the trade-offs tech companies make when determining where to occupy and the options now available to tech talent that don’t want to commute out of San Francisco.

  2. Robert Sammons - Regional Research Director C&W

    Great work and awesome information John. Positive news for San Francisco!!

  3. Karl Westfeld

    Ah ha. I see we have some non Millenials commenting here. Alvin Toffler? Have not heard that name in decades. You realize most of his predictions from his book Future Shock did not come true. However, some did!

    The accelerating changes he predicted included the “electronic frontier” of the Internet, Prozac, YouTube, cloning, home-schooling, the self-induced paralysis of too many choices, instant celebrities “swiftly fabricated and ruthlessly destroyed,” and the end of blue-collar “second-wave” manufacturing, to be replaced by a “third wave” of knowledge workers. Not bad for 1970.

    His predictions that never came to be included such classic Jetsonian tropes as underwater cities, handing teenagers the keys to the family spaceship, and the doubling of the planet’s population in just 11 years.

    And don’t ask Heidi Toffler, who collaborated with Alvin, about the paper clothes we’d use once and throwaway like Kleenex. “I was wrong,” she said matter-of-factly at the book’s anniversary conference some time ago. “But I was trying to make a larger point about a “throw-away society.” How many plastic water bottles did we throw away last year?”

  4. Leon Altman - CEO, bigideasthatsell.com

    This is an unstoppable trend. And it’s not just for millenials. Creative people of all ages, employee or independent, want to work where they want to work. And more and more often it is in urban environments. Why waste time, energy, and pollute the planet with long commutes!!! It’s one of the reasons Starbucks is so successful (let’s finally give the props Howard Schultz deserves!). It’s why wework is now worth over a billion dollars after a few short years. I know from creativity. And it doesn’t come setting in some headquarters after a long commute.

    1. Mike Kirner - Sr. Marketing Associate, C&W N. California

      Thanks,Leon. Come to think of it, you are so spot on. If I look back at all the jobs I liked, loathed or excelled at: The ones where I had this long, tiresome, dangerous commute where you’re driving 70 miles and hour for an entire hour and get to work stressed out and in a bad mood……how much more counterproductive can you be? Alvin Toffler was right in Future Shock. We will live in small boxes and eschew spaciousness for sublime convenience and proximity.

  5. Tom Duwe-CEO. SMG Corp Inc

    Great Article form Reuters Thanks for sharing, Mike! I do believe that the new digs for Apple at 235 2nd Street in SOMA would be a perfect location, but I am uncertain how this plays out for the City at large. More unaffordable Housing? More evictions in the name of the almighty Dollar More congestions onn the 101/280 corridor, More SF residence fleeing and being pushed out be the tech giants I think this current path we are on is unsustainabl! Read why in my post here:


  6. Mike Kirner - Senior Marketing Associate C&W Norther CA

    Nice to see John’s name after Steve Jobs and Woz! We appreciate that reporter Julia Love wrote such a lovely article Thanks .
    My “Future Shock” prediction on housing: In ten years, brands like Apple, Facebook and Twitter will have eenie weenie mini dorms available to keep their peeps and the Live/Work/Play scenario as relevant as ever. Millenials will forsake large living space for the perks of everything within a stonesthrow.

    1. Anthony Rosetta - Broker Associate, C&W San Francisco, CA

      Bravo to John Lewerenz for getting his name in lights………in the NY TIMES and Reuters no less. (No small feat!) Keep up the great work in getting our name out there. Clearly, The City is changing right in front of our eyes and we’re right in the mix.

      1. Tom Duwe - CEO, San Francisco

        The City is changing allright… but not for the better! Soon, we are forced to call this town San Franrichco, because only the top 1% Income earners in this country are able to afford to live here! For the first time in this Cities illustrious history, more people are leaving town than moving here! Need, many start-ups and businesses have followed suit and moved out of state and beyond the Cities boundaries to spare their employees the high cost of living here since half their paycheck goes to rent, mortgage or the cost of living. That’s bad for the City and that’s bad for business!

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