When I was trying to decide just a few years ago what architecture graduate program to attend, I sought the counsel of my favorite professor, Eugenia Janis. She taught classes in art history and photography, she was voracious and vicious but also absolutely brilliant. She looked at me, and said, “Go to Berkeley. California is like nothing you have ever experienced. There’s no place like it.” She had been angling for months to stop me from returning to Europe because Janis didn’t appreciate comfort zones and she knew I was better than mine.
And when I did pack my bags and move to Northern California, I never left. And, really, she was right that California is nothing like Europe, nothing like anywhere in the world. Some people find that surprisingly, considering how many Europeans end up in California but I think there must be something in the water, or at the very least the Pinot, that changes you.
And it doesn’t hurt that there’s a dizzying amount of innovation at your doorstep, with the established titans like Apple, Facebook and Google but also the up-and-comers like Instagram, Foursquare and Cloudtap. California gives you momentum.