A decade ago the Great Recession hit the U.S. economy. The massive downturn put local merchants out of business and employees out of work. It was a rough time—even for Silicon Valley. But we’re back!
In the 10 years since dark days of 2008, the world’s technological engine has chugged along. The iPhone—not even a year old when the housing bubble burst—would spur a tech renaissance, as entrepreneurs churned out apps that would change the way we interact with the world.
For us, however, Silicon Valley is not Uber and Facebook and Tesla, the way the world views us. It’s the place where we live. And prosperity has brought a new set of problems as rents soar and local businesses can’t find people to hire. When we went to visit prospective Best of Silicon Valley nominee A & K Flowers on the valley’s east side, it had closed up shop. We headed west to write up Los Gatos’ amazing Amour Patisserie, and brown paper had been taped to its windows. In Japantown, we peered into 71-year institution San Jose Tofu Co. and noticed that the concrete baths where soy cakes were pressed had been removed.
Luckily, Silicon Valley is still a place where human hands drive cars, play musical instruments, paint murals and wield chef’s knives. We still shop and listen to jazz in brick and mortar buildings. The craft food, brewing, roasting and maker movements continue to populate busy retail areas and bring quality consumables to hardworking valleyites. Thankfully, we even read newspapers.
In this year’s Best of Silicon Valley issue, we celebrate the entrepreneurs, artists and do-gooders who leverage the economic and technical strengths of the tech industry’s job machine so that we not only have the most advanced tools and toys—we also have choices. There’s plenty to offer here, as always, and we hope you enjoy the recommendations of our writers, editors and very smart readers.