I love living in the Sacramento area. Schools, cost of living, plenty family-oriented activities, tons of outdoor hobbies and interests, bearable traffic, easy access to airport with direct flights to virtually all major hubs, and a great mix of mature and budding technology companies. Being a geek at heart, the technology piece has me completely excited to roam around the 50 corridor, Downtown/Midtown, through Roseville/Rocklin, and other locations to see how the technology scene is already here and gaining added momentum and maturity everyday.
From my vantage point, core to this speed and maturity has been the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance or SARTA (@SARTA_Tech). Under the leadership of Meg Arnold (@MegAtSarta), SARTA carries itself with a “get in where you fit in” attitude that welcomes and accepts anyone ready to contribute to the growth of high tech ventures in the area however direct or distant the effort might be. Despite running a million miles an hour the SARTA staff manages to stay connected with and considerate of other non-profits in the area that are pushing technology or business interest.
Of those, my absolute favorite is the Hacker Lab (@SacHackerLab). They refer to themselves as a “coworker and maker space” but the reality it is an innovation mecca. For all practical purposes, it’s a big shack (former tattoo shop) in midtown with three big garage doors in back. However, I think there was some amazing voo-doo in the blood that was splattered on the walls that has this place hopping with really good hee-bee-gee-bees. If you’re an old school ham radio person, new school app developer, staunchy enterprise hardware tester or developer, PC technician, dabbler in code, lover of code, mechanical engineer type, IT manager, user of IT, oscilloscope loving propeller head, or maybe you just like good people and technology- then you owe it to yourself to make a stop by 1715 I Street.
There are many more connections that SARTA brings to the table and it’s much for the locals to be proud of and for businesses in other states to bear witness to. The biggest complaint that I hear about Sacramento in terms of technology and innovation is that it isn’t San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Well no $#!+. Sorry, I’m kind of sick of hearing that. Were you to put the tech scenes of New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Seattle, Bangalore, Tokyo, you name it 100 – 125 miles outside of Silicon Valley, they too would look smallish in comparison. The only missing ingredient that I can muster is a private institution of higher learning that delivers a great mix of young technologists and liberal artists. Downtown is coming around too.
That aside, UC Davis does a phenomenal job of keeping fresh talent rotating through with a knack for research, Sac State has no shortage of graduates ready to dive in both testing and development roles, Cal Poly SLO some how manages to send large numbers of its top talent to the area year after year, and we thank Silicon Valley for being Silicon Valley and sending so much tech genius who’ve decided they want to see green stuff growing from the ground, shorten the drive for skiing, easily access bike trails and rivers, row on Lake Natoma, send their kids to great schools without paying tuition, spend more time working than commuting, amongst many other reasons. Technology is abuzz in the the Greater Sacramento area, the environment is primed for it, and it’s going no place but up- really fast.