Brooklyn, Seattle, Atlanta, New Orleans
As promised, I am going to give a little compare/contrast of a few of the places that I have lived. I'm not sure the best way to organize this or how to really approach this topic. So this maybe a bit of rambling, but I'll definitely try to cover what I can.
Well, this is where I grew up and I'll always be a Saints fan but let's talk about the city in general. New Orleans is one of the most interesting places I have ever lived. The variety of people, music, and cultures is really fascinating as they mix throughout the city. I lived on the WestBank and the Gentilly area for my time there. Not a big tech scene that I remember but I did land my first tech job there and moved away a few years later. Best parts of New Orleans is definitely the food and the culture. I love the street performers and even danced one time to earn bus fare to get back to the dorm. They city really embraces creativity, dance, singing, and visual arts. The worst part of New Orleans is the crime in random places. You will be in a "nice" area, cross the canal and you are now in dangerous gang area. The pace of the city is generally slow and pretty laid back. The accents range from heavy cajun to some southern/hip-hop influence (shoutout to Master P/Juvenile for their influence). All in all it is a great place to visit but growing up there probably not the best option. A lot gang violence and public schools are dangerous. So many private schools to choose from and they provide a much better environment. I would never understand why uniforms in school, but in retrospect, it makes life a lot easier, no decision, no clothing competition, just focus on study and extra-curricular stuff.
This is my officially adopted home. I LOVE Seattle. For the tech industry, there is no better place (except maybe San Francisco but that is even debatable). Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Getty Images, and several others provide the big corporation opportunities and some of the brightest people I have ever worked with. I love the summer there (that is the time from July 4 - Sept 1). Also, the winters rain as much as you think, but you just think that when it is raining it is snowing in the mountains. Some of the best snowboarding in North America. Let's get to the people... there is a term - northwest chill, they don't bother you, and they don't really want you to bother them. It was pretty difficult to make friends there especially outside of work. Work was where you meet friends. The redeeming quality of the friends I made there, are still friends today. I have noticed that the culture there is heavily based on college experience, you are either a Husky or a Coug (like in Alabama, you are either for Bama or Auburn). That is how people often connect there. The motivation of people in Seattle is really impressive also. They have a strong drive to be "successful" which may vary greatly on what that means. They are also very socially aware as a whole group. Keep in mind I am referring to Seattle, not Washington state. Washington state varies GREATLY from Western Washington to Eastern Washington. The depressing winters really affect some people but after almost 15 years there, I never felt that affect. Great place to explore nature and experience whales, mountains, and hiking all over. Not my thing really, but I did it. Even when kayaking there (go figure). :-)
Atlanta is definitely a city in "The South". Waffle Houses on every corner, fried chicken, fried tomatoes, fried cheese, fried twinkies... you get the point. And barbecue, SO much barbecue. They claim to have a strong tech scene there, but coming from Seattle, I don't think it is as strong as they believe. The Atlanta Tech Village is a good incubator for startups and Atlanta Tech Development Center is another good option for startups. Also, General Assembly in Ponce City Market is producing some great junior talent to build that community. The main thing that I have noticed is the pace of Atlanta is slow. The lack of drive/motivation overall seems to hinder innovation and growth, I'm sure that is going to ruffle some feathers. People are very happy at where they are and not growing/learning to improve in some area of their life. Atlanta people are generally friendly but they lack the depth of conversation that I had with my friends in Seattle. It may be that I didn't get to know too many people at a deeper level, but the lack of follow-through with meetings was frustrating. I think from a cost of living it is the best place to live from the places I have been. Housing market is relatively cheap and the houses are amazing. Life is definitely comfortable there. The seasons are great and not horrible winters (except for that one snowpacalypse). I definitely grew a lot in my time in Atlanta and realized that I really like barbecue. :-)
This is my shortest time to give any kind of assessment (it has been two weeks), I love the fact you can navigate the city without a car, truly an experience for everyone sometime in their life. Also, the drive here is amazing. People are motivated, inspired, and generally follow-through as often as they can. I think the fear here is doing TOO much and not taking the time for yourself. I would get into cost of living, but just know that it is just plain EXPENSIVE. That is life in New York. However, you can ride a subway into the city and see an actual Broadway show. Nowhere else can you do that. Also, the tech scene here seems pretty alive for an east-coast city. Probably because it is New York. The people here are amazing, helpful, diversified, and generally nice. They are efficient and polite, unless you are an idiot and interrupt their efficiency. A lot of horns here and a lot of noise, but Brooklyn is SIGNIFICANTLY quieter than Manhattan. I also love the fact that restaurants are open past 9pm. In Atlanta, some places are not open on Monday/Tuesday and close at like 8pm? Seriously? Also, delivery here in New York in amazing. All in all, I love it here, but be prepared for weather... bring your umbrella, your jacket, because when weather happens you are in it. I just wish it was as cheap as Atlanta. :-)
So stay motivated and always learning something... Be polite and helpful. I heard a great quote today... Love People and Use Things... the other way doesn't work. :-)