My Journey in Radical Transparency

What are you the best at that you enjoy doing the most?


San Diego nExT: Part 1 of 5- The Opportunity

Since arriving in San Diego, I’ve often been asked to share my view of the startup ecosystem here. I’ve been waiting to talk broadly about it until I’d had a chance to discover things for myself. I’m happy to say, the time has come to share. Now some may think this is Brant’s Rant too. It’s not.

My verdict? There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in San Diego. If I thought otherwise, I wouldn’t have chosen to stay. The question then becomes how I came to that conclusion.

When evaluating a community it helps to use a framework that creates a common language. My initial review is focused on the five primary pillars of a community:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Government
  • Health
  • Art

In many communities at least one of these has significant issues and becomes the topic of local scorn. You tend to hear, “If only X were better, then we could be great.” Here’s what I’ve discovered in San Diego, so far.


There’s a fantastic educational infrastructure in place here in San Diego. From primary through postsecondary there are many areas to celebrate. The most notable of these (in today’s economy) is the university system’s ability to do research and educate software engineers. This is the envy of many startup ecosystems around the world.


San Diego also has very strong business growth in a variety of sectors. From the outside, the most notable industries are Biotech, Semiconductors and Tourism. Once here, you realize there’s much more to the story. You can find companies in everything from cyber security, digital marketing, hardware, fitness tech, big data and more.


The local and regional political leaders in San Diego are interested in helping. They continue to stay engaged and listen to the requests of their constituents. Knowing the best way to help, given the resources available, is not always easy or straightforward. That said, having leaders that are taking steps to make a difference is much better than the inaction you sometimes find elsewhere.


Another incredible strength of San Diego is health. From the top ranked hospitals and primary care to the safety in the city, this is a very strong pillar. The peace of mind this provides can’t be underestimated.


Last, but certainly not least, San Diego is home to an amazing arts scene. From fine art galleries and artists to the theaters and musicians, this city has great variety to offer. This also merges into the applied arts of makers, architects and builders and the product of all this can be found in every neighborhood throughout the city. This is just the beginning of our development through design thinking and fostering creativity.

As you can see, I believe San Diego has five strong pillars that make it the amazing ecosystem it has become. If that weren’t enough, these traditional pillars are complemented by the military presence here and the bi-national culture in the area. These additional two pillar are only available in a few key areas and are rarely seen in a single community. This is a major differentiator for the region.

From a high level view San Diego has it all, plus some. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Of course, this is just one opinion. I’m always interested in discussing other views. What aspects of each community pillar do you like the most?

nExT Up: Part 2- The Challenge