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Exclusive: Ed Lee Lunched With the Titans of Tech and We Got the Transcript
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Gensler | December 16, 2013
Three words: private floating island.
According to the Examiner, Mayor Ed Lee met today "with leaders from the tech sector for an invite-only lunch" in order to have a frank "discussion on the future of San Francisco and the tech sector." Though the meeting was held in secret, San Francisco managed to obtain a transcript. Here, in full, the summit between your Mayor and your new tech overlords:
The assembled group murmurs it assents.
Benioff: Good. Then down to business. You know why I have called this meeting. The future of the tech sector is under threat.
Larry Page: It’s true. That bus blockade left our workers stranded for more than a half an hour.
Peter Thiel: But don’t you have WiFi on those things? Couldn’t your people just work from the bus?
Marissa Mayer: Working outside of the office? That'd never fly in my shop. But, it’s true, we’re in trouble. Why, just last week Vogue magazine basically said I had Asperger’s because I don’t emote at meetings. And when I made my employees write nice things about me in a book, some of the things that they wrote weren’t even that nice.
Biz Stone: You want to talk about not nice? How about protestors showing up at five in the morning in front of my headquarters on IPO day?
Ron Conway: Yeah, but you were in New York City at the time.
Stone: Come on, dude. Distance is meaningless now. You know we’ve disrupted geography.
Page: Um, I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure that Maps did that, not you.
Meg Whitman: I could always run for Governor again.
The room breaks into barely-concealed laughter.
Whitman: What? What?
Conway: Meg, I think it might be more productive to focus on local solutions right now.
Whitman: Could we buy a Congressman or two?
Benioff: We're trying. But we need something we can do today.
Lee: Like free citywide wi-fi?
Lee: What if we just did it along three blocks of Market? I bet we could get away with that.
Benioff: Sergei, Larry, make it so.
Brin: Done. But, Ed, you're not thinking big enough. Google’s already taking heat for forcing out a Starbucks in Soma. If we went citywide, then what would happen to all the coffee shops?
Newsom: What if...now I'm thinking outside the box here...but, what if we just turned the whole city into one big video game? That’s’ what Larry and Sergei told me we should do. Gamify. Let’s have people play Frogger with Muni. Something like Farmville, but for citizens. We could call it Citizenville!
Conway: Gavin, that’s the stupidest idea you've had since the seven hour state of the city address.
Newsom: Sergei likes it.
Brin: Well, um, Gavin, the thing is…
Benioff: Take it offline, guys. What else have we got?
Sheryl Sandberg: If they don’t like what we’re doing, people should just lean in.
Lee: Sheryl, can I ask you a serious question? What does that even mean? All I can figure out is that you want the women who work for you to work harder.
Sandberg: No, that’s right. That’s all it means. In fact, why aren't all of you leaning in right now?
Shawn Parker: Can I say something? We should probably just threaten to sue everybody. That’s what worked when everybody was mean to me about turning the coast line into Rivendell for my wedding.
Thiel: Now you're the one thinking too small here, Sean. Floating private island. It’s all about the floating private island.
Michael Birch: Hey! We’ve already sort of got one of those. Basically. You should all come over to the Battery. We’ve got Super Nintendo, and Nerf Guns, and Spiderman comics, and my mom’s new boyfriend Ron totally doesn’t care how much Mountain Dew we drink. Brit can’t come, though, because girls are gross.
Brit Morin: Whatever. I was planning to braid Marissa’s hair after we’re finished.
Birch: So you guys want to come over to my super awesome fort later?
The room is silent.
Page: Can we get back to Thiel's island? Because I like that idea. But maybe not an island. What about a barge?
Morin: Just, you know, like, brainstorming for a minute here, you guys? But, like, what if we, like, share our lifestyle tips with them? Like, like, how to hold a nail with a comb? Or how to put an LED into a balloon? That’d be like so much fun? You guys?
The room is silent again.
Sandberg: Brit, dear, you and I need to have a long talk after this is all over.
Benioff: I'm afraid to say it, but we're running out of ideas for the Mayor here.
Lee: And if we're going to avoid the class war, you techies—sorry, "makers"—better tell me how to deal. Anybody have an idea? Gavin?
Newsom, taking a selfie, is too distracted to answer.
Conway: Tax breaks?
Brin: Internet ballons?
Lee: Oh boy. We're in trouble.
Peter Shih: Listen, I have to interrupt, but Gopman and I have been talking, and we think we have the answer.
Greg Gopman: That’s right.
Benioff: I don't know guys. You're less popular than Meg right now.
Lee: I don't hear anything else. Go ahead, guys.
Both: The space option.
Shih: Greg and I were watching Star Trek into Darkness last night—
Gopman: Which was, can I just say, a horrible movie.
The room agrees.
Shih: But it got us to thinking. Why couldn’t we build a space ship and travel the galaxy? Disrupt Mars. Gentrify Alpha Centauri. Surf the cosmic shores on an ever expanding pulse of wave information.
Gopman: Plus, we already asked, and Musk is totally down to build us a rocket ship. He even thinks we could crowdfund it.
Benioff: Interesting idea.
Parker: I like it.
Lee: Hold up guys. What you’re telling me is that you’d be willing to take your show on the road?
Mark Zuckerberg: Sure we would. This place sucks sometimes.
Lee: But the only catch is that the City of San Francisco would have to pay for it. Is that right?
Conway: That’s the long and the short of it.
Lee: Hold on. I'll have to call Willie Brown and Rose Pak to sign off on it. But we may have a solution here.
Lee leaves to make some phone calls.
Benioff: Okay, who's up for $12 house cappuccinos? I'm buying!