California Dreamin'

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Are you a chance taker? Do you constantly set ambitious goals? Do you strive to do things other people might think of as crazy? Even if you're not, I bet you know someone like this.

This week, in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest will begin. A festival for film, music and interactive, countless numbers of people from our own technology-rich Bay Area will be there, including myself. Texas is about to get a big dose of California.

Recently a survey came out ranking California as one of the least-liked states in the country. For some, California is that place for crazy people, with their big ideas and big ambitions.  But really, it's kind of true.

From the Gold Rush to Hollywood, to Silicon Valley, there has always been something about California that's made it a place where you could dream. This sense of anything being possible is woven into the very fabric of our state. To be honest, I don't know anything else. Growing up in Sacramento, going to college in Southern California, and now living in the Bay Area, this is just a part of me.

For the last 14 years I've worked in computer animation. That crossroad of art and technology, Silicon Valley and Hollywood.  I got to work on films seen by millions of people all over the world. I was living the dream. And then I left. Not because the dream wasn't good enough. Rather, I took the chance to start something new. Something the world hadn't seen before. And while taking a chance with a family and a mortgage is very different than taking a chance when I was just out of school, creating something new, dreaming big, this is part of me as a Californian.  All of us who live here are lucky, because we're surrounded by risk takers and dreamers. Some don't make it, but enough do, and that keeps the flame of innovation going.


So whether you're a 22-year-old newbie to California, or have your roots deeply planted, never stop taking chances. Never stop dreaming big. Steve Jobs liked the quote, "Stay hungry, stay foolish." For those of us living in California, this has always been a part of who we are.

With a Perspective, I'm Bobby Podesta.

Bobby Podesta was a supervising animator and is currently head of creative at a San Francisco startup.