A few observations following my latest US trip

I spent 2 weeks in the US last month -first in NYC and then in SF. I've been surprised by a few things. In no particular order:

๐ŸŒŽ immigrants are everywhere. Like somewhere else you can meet them in low-status jobs but unlike somewhere else you also meet them at every other layer of the society -all the way to the top; and whatever that 'top' would mean exactly, you'll meet immigrants there. This is so empowering. I remember the story of a brown couple living in Paris for 15 years, they loved the city and their lives over there but when their kids were teenagers they realised that the only examples for them of people with the same color skin were in the kebab restaurants so they left. They now live in Boston. Their kids can still meet people with the same color skin in local restaurants of course, but also as researchers, big company manager, startup CEO, politicians, journalists, you name it.

Portals of the Past from the San Francisco Chronicle

๐Ÿ›  it seems like everyone is looking ahead; which is so thrilling. Of course it might be deeply related to my point above. In a society where so many people are coming from somewhere else, you're less inclined to 'protect the past' and should indeed obsess more on 'building a better future'. 'AI' or 'blockchain' are neither insults nor complete unknown words. I've met a few young kids who wanted to 'build robots' or 'work on autonomous cars' later in life so they started learning to code and exploring machine learning. I was astonished.

๐Ÿš€ I think that one is a direct consequence of above: optimism and action are valued by most. "You think XYZ isn't optimized, could be done better, should look differently, well, go ahead, do it. And meanwhile, let us know how we can help." These sentences are so rooted in action. You're not afraid of failure. Actually there might be no failure. You'll either succeed or learn. Being stronger, smarter, wiser for whatever comes next. Because there'll always be a 'next chapter' anyway so nothing to be worried about really.

๐Ÿ• again, a direct consequence of above: the pie feels infinite. So don't stress too much how the current pie is sliced among people, focus on growing the pie and everyone will benefit a bigger slice. Simple. Which is why success is so much celebrated. In my everyday interaction people always provided help. It really felt like they truly wanted us to succeed, in the biggest way possible. And never did I feel some jealousy or anger about it.

๐ŸŒ† as a European, I geographically think on a 'city-basis'. If you ask me, I live in Lyon; when I go to Paris I hit up my friends based over there, regardless of their arrondissement [district]. In both NYC and SF people were defining themselves and thought on a 'neighborhood-basis'. It's not NYC per se, it's Manhattan or Brooklyn. Well, it's actually not even Manhattan or Brooklyn, it's Washington Square, the Village, Fort Green or Williamsburg. Same in California. At first I was throwing 'SF' for everything from the city itself to the Bay Area or Berkeley and Oakland but nope, people talked about Palo Alto, Haight-Ashbury or Noe Valley.

Needless to highlight the caveat here: all of the above is heavily biased, non-complete and subjective. I did love my time over there so much, I'll be back for the whole summer in Berkeley, CA with the kids. I can't wait. And I truly look forward for them to experiencing this energy and discovering such a melting pot.