Why Los Angeles Is The Silicon Valley of Social Impact
Walking down Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach is like walking down an alternative Rodeo Drive: one that is populated by high-end boutiques and restaurants, all featuring the latest fashions and food. But look a little closer and you’ll see that there is a common thread. Socially conscious fashion brands like Shinola, Warby Parker and Tom’s all have flagship stores, bursting at the seams with customers. The coolest restaurants like Gjelina, Felix (Esquire’s Best New Restaurant in America) and The Butcher’s Daughter are known for beautiful, ethically-sourced, plant-forward cuisine (one of the hottest menu items on the street is The Impossible Burger,a delicious meatless burger that tastes as close to the real thing as you can imagine). At MedMen, a sleek cannabis dispensary outlet, the design is more Apple store than smoke shop, all Ipads and blond wood, with patient ‘budtenders’ there to help the crowds of newbies with education and advice. Down the block at Bulletproof Labs (a spin-off of Bulletproof Coffee) fitness enthusiasts get to optimize their performance, biohacking themselves with cryotherapy, light therapy and float tanks. At StretchLab on Rose Avenue, trained yoga instructors stretch tired muscles into shape, easing the tensions of daily life. It’s not unusual any more to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fly overhead after a launch from nearby Vandenburg Air Force Base, whilst below our feet Elon Musk’s The Boring Company is getting ready to transform traffic jams into a thing of the past. And as the gentle California sun sets, tourists and locals alike gleefully zip around on Bird electric scooters, grinning like ten-year-olds in delight (no wonder the company was the fastest unicorn to hit a billion-dollar valuation ever).