California Dreaming


TIME spotlights California on its cover this week.

As a country, California would be with the G8 ( between Italy and Brazil, thus displacing BRIC with CRIC  i.e. California, Russia, India and China).

Yet it has no world-class soccer team (despite having in-shored Beckham) just yet. That’s said, it is one of the brownest States in the Union. And it will stand tall, demographically and technologically.

I wrote about the up-trading Taco truck in my earlier blog. TIME also showed a Korean BBQ truck  using Twitter to announce its stops (high-tech high touch).

What surprised me was foreign students’ major in the State: more chose Business and Management over Science, Math and Engineering (exactly what the Chinese need to move up the value chain).

With 13 percent Asian, California has a natural inroad to Asia (just a plane-hop away).

Washington State has also capitalized on its geographic “proximity” to set up strong ties with the East (and sell some apples, Window and Starbucks while at it).

Who wouldn’t want to live in California: paradise and paradox, problems and promises, most congested freeways, yet greenest state. It has a underexploited Modesto and an overexposed Hollywood , clean tech and bio tech; gay and straight.

California is home to dream factories (Disney and Dream Work). So enamoured with the big screen that the State elected actors to be its Governor not once but twice. Its script keeps getting a rewrite even on location (budget cut? well, hold up a knife Governor. “This is a knife” the line last said by Crocodile Dundee on his first visit to the Big Apple). It’s used to be “Go West young man!” Now, it’s keeping going West and follow the sun.

I talked to people in the Orient and they wanted to come and live in California. To them, California is America (especially if they have a free account on Yahoo, own an I-Phone and watch YouTube, all California home-grown, like its wine and raisins). In up scale China, one can find new developments that were modeled after Newport Beach.

“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray”. If the gubernatorial race is an early indicator of things to come, we are in great shape. After all, anything can happen in a dream, or when we “sit down and pray”. The truth is, my relationship with California has been a dysfunctional one, as is the State.

Despite its high costs of living, California is where you’ll find innovation around the corner, or in the garage .

Californians don’t do attic or basement like East-Coast counterparts. They compose music on wheels (Jewel), produce TV shows on wheels (Jay Leno), and of course, cater tacos on wheels. Year round, they don’t need the bottom half of their jeans (hence the cut off or zip out). This recession and recent gold price peak led a bunch of people to the high mountain, once again, creating a mini Gold Rush, California’s original raison d’etre.

Most listened to is its rush hour traffic report. Least visited is the downtown LA library, before or after the fire. When EReader and Kindle get full adoption, they will turn library into museum .  What’s hip in California (women volleyball, muscle beach) can’t be easily duplicated .  This Wednesday, Google will team up with Lala to help us search for that “California Dreaming” tune. Just a phrase, such as “I walk into a church” can trigger a bot crawl.

Or ” I’ll be back” to pop up the Terminator. It doesn’t hurt to have a Governor with sound bites or once picked up a dumb bell in what remained of  a LA fire.

And the media ate it up: light, camera, action (background lighting, actor, prop and audio). Keep dreaming California.

 

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