Haven't you heard? San Francisco is literally hell, a place where crusted-over old guard socialites mix—cautiously—with tech arrivistes. Vanity Fair has a foie gras slab of an article on the uneasy unity of sclerotic blue bloods and geeks. We've found the best (worst) chunks for you. Come on, look at that guy!
It's better to experience this piece as a series of money vignettes, rather than any kind of narrative—because the entire thing boils down to These people are rich like this, but THESE people are rich like THIS! in splendidly horrible detail. But they all enjoy spending their money, so everything is fine, the end.
See if you can tell the difference between old money and new money in these excerpts:
- Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer is swanning through Wilsey Court in a blue Angel Sanchez gown, collecting total props for her recent call for telecommuting employees to work at the company headquarters.
- The bubbly Alison Pincus, co-founder of the online-shopping destination One Kings Lane, is contemplating the question of who is San Francisco’s most eligible bachelor
- Over there, Juliet de Baubigny, the fetching tech-talent recruiter from Kleiner Perkins. In every corner congratulations are in order—on initiatives, growth, valuations, and generally “killing it.”
- For society’s more junior members, however—for whom Facebook is the very essence of worldly relevance—the arrival of the high-tech elite is a cause for celebration, or at least an opportunity for mutual enhancement. “We love our new neighbors. It’s all great,” says Vanessa Getty, who’s married to oil heir Gordon Getty’s youngest son, Billy
- “Even when [designer] Tory [Burch] was out here, she spoke at Stanford. She went to Google. It’s all interlinked.”
- When he decided to get married (to Swanson-food-and-wine heiress Alexis Swanson) and start a family, he deemed the house too small (“O.K. for one kid, but not multiple kids”) and moved across the street to his current house. A 1905 Georgian, it would fit not only a growing family but also his 300-piece photography collection
- “I said to [our decorator] Ann [Getty], ‘Could you do a wall of hand-sewn peacock feather?’ And she said, ‘Absolutely, no problem.’ She had her people hand-sew it.”
- To which Giddings, an oh-so-chic Swede wearing weathered leather pants and bejeweled gloves, shoots back, “What do you mean? The older guard is very happy that a younger guard has money! It would be much worse if they didn’t have money.”
- “I didn’t really think about it,” says Sacks when asked about the moment last year when he knew he was $1.2 billion richer thanks to the sale of Yammer to Microsoft.
One more spoiler: Vanity Fair's Evgenia Peretz explains how the new class of software robber barons is far less willing to make charitable gifts to the city, which is perhaps the one thing dried out white people are good for. Changing the world is the name of the game, but that means dry cleaning delivery apps, not boosted museum budgets or computers in classrooms.