Perception Correction

This city began in a cove named after a herb.

Chinese fortune cookies were invented here- by a Japanese family.

This city has an active conservative Republican community.

This city’s oldest building was constructed in 1791, and a bunch of little beetles almost destroyed it.

The air in this city is the cleanest in the United States; there is zero ozone here.

This city has the least number of children of any “major” city in America.

This city is among the leaders in the percentage of housing an average family can afford- there is almost none.

This city and the surrounding area features the largest concentration of the creative class in the history of the world.

The overwhelming majority of us do not surf.

Most of us aren’t vegans or dirty hippies or communists.

Most of us are reasonable and independent, many of us are decline-to-state voters.

When you come and visit us this time of year, you may very well be enveloped in a brittle, bone chilling cold. You will need a parka, a scarf and gloves. You won’t be able to see more than 30 feet in front of your face. The westerly wind is a frosty gale, virtually never ending. It wil rip through your body and send you flocking to your car, heater on high. The photo above was taken Sunday afternoon at 5pm. That’s what it’s like in parts of our area- the parts you will likely visit.  We run our furnaces and stoke our fireplaces this time of year.

When you come and visit us, you will ignore the desperate pleas of the locals to not visit one particular area of the city and you will go there anyway, and when you go there you will see a comical collection of  shops and crappy restaurants that bear no real reflection to this town’s rich maritime history. Your wallet will be lightened by any number of  ridiculous tee shirt and taffy emporiums, and you can jump on a bungee trampoline  (as if this is the only place on earth you can do that).

You think you know San Francisco. You don’t.

And for a long time, neither did I. The Bay Area and I are 20 years deep now, yet there remains immense gaps in my local knowledge base.

A lot of people love to visit San Francisco, and we’re glad to have everyone here.  Whether you are at Fisherman’s Wharf or West Portal, you’ll find us generally chatty and helpful. We take a special ownership of this complicated and unique place, where the topography is violent, the freaks are fabulous and the attitude is extra-large.

If you are a savvy and curious traveler, you will find fascinating neighborhoods.  You’ll learn about our rich, randy cultural history. You’ll savor some of the world’s best places to eat and drink. Your experience will be as fantastic as you wish it to be.

San Francisco is one of the world’s greatest cities, and it’s no surprise so many want to come see us. And it’s okay to not be an expert-  the joy of discovery is one of the best parts of traveling.

Perceptions are truths, until they are proven wrong (or right).

When you are considering to hire someone, it’s a good idea to leave perceptions off the table. That interviewee is possibly reinventing, and just because they are 45, or this is the first time they will have worked in your industry, it doesn’t mean they cannot be a tremendous asset to your enterprise.

When you are investigating new fields of endeavor, try to see if your perceptions are indeed correct. Check it out. Discover what you don’t know. The perfect fit may be right under your nose. It’d be a shame to pass on perfection… because of an incorrect perception.



John Scott is the National Online Learning Coordinator and a media history professor at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels clients and groups on the art of reinvention. Follow John on Twitter @johnscottsf.

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