I grew up in the sunny paradise of Los Angeles. Yes, I grew up without seasons. Surprise…it was awesome. I had to laugh at my sister’s habitual checking of her weather app; this really wasn’t necessary since we both knew it would stay somewhere between 76 and 81 degrees year round.
At 18, I moved up to Stanford University, where the weather isn’t as melancholy as San Francisco, but I did experience my first real seasonal change. Leaves changed colors, temperatures rose and fell, and the surrounding mood changed too. Maybe that’s why everyone in L.A. is so happy, I wondered. During my senior year at Stanford, I started working on a project with a fellow product designer, which eventually became our startup (you guessed it: SomaSole!). After an amazing summer spent crowdfunding our product, it was time to pack up SomaSole and surf on down to the tanned-and-toned capital of the world.
Now that I’m back, the differences between L.A. and the Bay Area are clearer than ever. Sure, some trends have gone mainstream enough to overlap both locations (I’m looking at you, Juicing, Soul Cycle and the Yoga Pants Uniform), but if you’ve ever toggled between the two spots, you’ve probably picked up on the more polarizing parts of the L.A. versus Bay comparison.
Two Wheels vs. Two Feet
In Los Angeles, the Bay Area’s obsession with long distance cycling through forested trails is replaced with constant Nike Free-powered runs along the beach. While the destination of both is usually a PSL (officially in season) at Starbucks or a Mint Mojito Iced Coffee at Philz, I am a huge fan of the conversion to fitness by foot. If you no longer feel like everyone is wearing a helmet, or that you are about to be run over, you are probably in L.A.
Shirts Off vs. Shirts On
The phrase “suns out, guns out” is no joke. The thing is, the sun is always out in Los Angeles. If you feel like you are constantly on an episode of Silicon Valley and Top Gun at the same time, where Tom Cruise’s glorious aviators are replaced with your startup’s shades, you have found yourself in Silicon Beach, where the “Startup Life” takes a whole new meaning. While the incredible indoor work environment of Tech Start-ups defines the Bay, stock option plans in Los Angeles now seem to include mandatory volleyball competitions sponsored by Snapchat and Tinder.
Uber vs. Lyft
While almost equivalent services, the Nor Cal, So Cal rivalry heats up when discussing what ride service to use. If you are averse to using Uber for social reasons because Uber is only for the pompous upper class, you probably haven’t made the trip yet down the coast. However, if you whip out the new iPhone 6+ when headed to the Bungalow, open Lyft, and someone says, “Ew, you use Lyft, Lyft is so sketchy,” you’re definitely in L.A.
Glass of Wine in the Park vs. Beach Volleyball
A common weekend activity in the bay is to select a park, whether Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, or one of the many others, and enjoy the day with a glass of wine. It seems that the Southern California goal, always, is to get to the beach. Popular weekend activities include workouts at the beach, eating at the beach, and of course, volleyball...at the beach. If your goal is a weekly migration to the beach, then you have likely made the trek down the coast.
Coachella vs. Outside Lands
If you are new to either region, I warn you, enter this discussion at your own risk as this topic is putting my friendships in jeopardy. Most people who have a bold opinion on this subject have not actually attended both festivals, making them perfect candidates for Congress. After six Coachella festivals and two years at Outside Lands, I have come to understand that these two festivals become accumulations of every stereotype from their respective regions. Outside Lands has the Bay Area residents in heaven, combining their free spirit and drug rug obsession with a magical, tree-consumed musical festival in Golden Gate Park. The desert wonderland of Coachella, on the other hand, take’s L.A. weather and culture to a whole new level by infusing 100 degree temperatures with the L.A. music and fashion scene. Of course, both festivals have their fair share of festival fanatics who don’t know a single band.
The Bay Area and Los Angeles do have a lot in common. For one, both have the yoga-loving, hipster-coffee-drinking, aggressively colored sock rocking, startup T-shirt wearing Equinox inhabitants. However, Los Angeles, the land of skinny palm trees, skateboard parks, long drives, traffic and of course fitness, is the new home for SomaSole. And in case you were wondering, yes, we will be at Muscle Beach.
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