Image via Wikipedia
Now that it's been a weekend since my return from the US and I've had plenty of time to get over the cold of epic proportions that hit me on the way to the airport (literally, I was buying and popping fever reducers at the airport before boarding) and I've had plenty of time to compose myself, I can finally write down some thoughts of what I'd seen on my two week journey into the unknown.
At least I thought it was the unknown. Turns out there was no culture shock to speak of.
Apparently if you watch enough movies and television, or just if you watch as much as I do, the US turns out to be a pretty unsurprising country to visit. I had more surprises visiting the UK or Italy and they're practically neighbours.
Everything is just as you'd expect:
- the roads are incredibly wide
- the roads have way too many lanes
- the cars are stupidly big
- everything is insanely cheap
That last point in particular was quite surprising. The US markets itself as the land of plenty, the land of supple opportunity and the land of the rich. Well, from a European's point of view, the US is pretty much a big discount store. You enter the country and everything is sold at roughly a 30% to 40% discount depending on the day.
And the cheapening effect doesn't stop at the Dollar vs. Euro dynamic. Because of the bigger economy and cheap labor (I imagine) stuff is just cheaper in general. For example a sushi lunch in Ljubljana would cost three times as much as it did in the US, while being at least half smaller.
It's pretty insane.
Or like I bought a pair of jeans at a pretty reasonable price and upon getting home my sister tells me what I bought was one of the top brands super-expensive type of jeans. O.o
Ok, so I guess there's a bit of culture shock. The cheapness of everything.
There were, however, a few more odd little tidbits that I noticed:
- americans aren't as fat as you'd think, on average they're quite europe-like
- all doors open the wrong way (fire safety or something)
- there is a severe lack of automatic doors everywhere
- some stores still give you hand-written receipts
- very few stores have modern computer-like cash registers
- almost nobody takes debit cards as payment
- all store clerks are SOOPER nice, it was surprising
- a lot of "natives" don't speak english
That's about it, I should write some more about the actual startup scene, the companies we visited and what we've seen of the US from that perspective; but that's best reserved for Preona's company blog.
Oh and while I did go see Alcatraz and it was very fucking incredibly rainy that day, I didn't get to see the Golden Gate Bridge, which is just stupid. But anyways, here are some random pics from my shiny new iPhone4.
PS: Cheesecake Factory has the best fucking cheesecake (or cake in general) that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting!
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
20% off this week
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️