National Geographic : 2001 Dec
and the location of a port," Grosser said. "The natural resource here is brains." Despite the intellectual firepower of the Val ley, I kept feeling a nagging sense of something not quite right, a subterranean rumble of something I couldn't put words to. Maybe it was the dozens of Mercedes and BMWs in the student parking lot of Palo Alto High School, knowing the principal drives a 1991 gray Nissan truck. Or hearing one too many stories about the guy with a Mercedes and four-bedroom home who crybabied because he hadn't cashed in on the dot-comn boom like his zillionaire buddies. Perhaps it was the 25-year-old who worked at Yahoo! who, when I expressed the hope my 15-year-old son would always know his way around a library, told me with faint disdain I should stop treat ing books like fetishes. Maybe it was standing under the trees at the Drop-In Center run by the Urban Ministry in downtown Palo Alto, where homeless men and women turn up each morning for a cup of coffee directly opposite Stanford University and the high-end stores in the Stanford Shop ping Center. Besides providing a list of resources ("Where to take a shower,""Where to get medical help"), volunteers hand out 20 bus tickets each day, first come, first served. "The bus tickets are very important to these men," Sergio Samame, a caseworker, explained, as a line formed under the shade of a metal overhang. "Why?" I asked. "They have nowhere to sleep. So they ride the bus all night." -> entlemen, ladies. Attention please. Palm Pilots in hand? Business cards in reach? Ready? Set? We are going to network. Rule number one. Opportunity surrounds you. A meal with friends? Heads up. Case the room. Isn't that Steve lobs at the next table?