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Chris Pirillo on Hawaii

January 25th, 2008 by Ryan Ozawa · 13 Comments · Hawaii, People, The Web

Renown übergeek Chris Pirillo is vacationing in Hawaii, but he hasn’t taken a break from technology nor his thriving community of fans. Chris has been streaming live video and reporting from his cruise ship as he tours the islands. A recent segment was titled, “Reasons I Might Never Move to Hawaii.”

He had five main doubts about life in the Aloha State:

  1. Hawaii is too touristy. “Most of the economy is supported by tourism. I can only imagine having to put up with stupid tourists for a week, let alone year round.”
  2. He’s not a water lover. “Not into it, never have been, I’m a geek, I like it in front of the computer screen.”
  3. Hawaii is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. “Whoa. Just whoa. There’s virtually no escape route without propery planning.”
  4. Limited broadband options.
  5. He doesn’t like hot weather. “Having heat for most of the year would bother me. And I do like Seattle for the weather.”

Chris, always up for a conversation, invited people to respond, either to share their own reasons why Hawaii isn’t for them, or why an island life may still be worth it. I figured I’d give it a shot.

  1. Hawaii is too touristy only if you’re a tourist. Especially if you’re destinations are largely determined by a cruise ship itinerary. You don’t have to venture far to get away from the crowds, either. Whether you want a working man’s lunch at an urban hole in the wall or to spend a peaceful morning alone on a mountain ridge, Hawaii can deliver. Hawaii’s economy may be primarily dependent on tourism, but believe it or not, hundreds of thousands of people who make their home here don’t interact with them at all.
  2. Hawaii is great for active people, and the stubbornly inactive. Sure there are a lot of spectacular, sporty ways to kill yourself here, but trust me… there are a lot of people just like Chris who are happiest in the glow of a computer screen.
  3. Hawaii is relatively safe. Of course, the geographical isolation is pretty extreme, and if that’s an issue, I can’t blame you. “Rock fever” strikes locals and transplants alike. But what risks you face environmentally (volcanoes, tsunami, hurricanes) are made up for in other ways. Honolulu has the same problems other cities face, sure, but it’s still among the safest in the country. And frankly, I doubt you can find a spot on Earth that’s immune to natural disasters.
  4. Broadband is getting better. Okay, yes, compared to what Chris has access to at home, Internet access in Hawaii falls short. We’ve essentially got Oceanic cable and Hawaiian Telcom DSL fighting for your business. But in Honolulu, at least, consumer offerings go as high as 11Mbps, and I know folks who have commercial grade service at home for even more. Your options may be more limited in more rural areas, but that’s true anywhere.
  5. Hawaii’s not hot everywhere, all the time. Oh, sure, in the summer, much of the state is exactly what it looks like in postcards. But if you like Seattle, you should know that the island of Kauai is home to the wettest spot on earth. The constant gray clouds and rain in my spiritual home of Hilo make Seattle look positively sunny. Up in the mountains, it gets quite chilly, and the tradewinds constantly mix things up. In fact, on the Big Island alone, you’ve got everything from arid desert to rainforest to snow-covered peaks. Besides… live here long enough, and your senses get recalibrated. Even former skiers eventually find themselves shivering when the mercury drops below 60 degrees.

More than anything, though, I fear Chris simply hasn’t seen the real Hawaii. This is only his second vacation, and while I don’t know what his itinerary has been, I don’t get the feeling he’s been able to go off the reservation and, perhaps most importantly, spend quality time with other regular people, rather than tour guides. Indeed, the people of Hawaii are among its greatest assets.

I want him, and other visitors, to see the Hawaii that we choose and sometimes struggle to live in. Where the cost of living is high, but the quality of life is higher. Of course, that’s something that’s hard to summarize in a list. But it doesn’t sound like he’s seen, in a couple of weeks, what I’ve seen all my life, and what makes me so proud to call Hawaii home and to raise a family here. And I’d love to show him.

So give Hawaii another chance, Chris. But forget the cruise ships and organized tours next time. There are a lot of fantastic, like-minded geeks on the ground in the islands that will be happy to share a much different side to life here. After all, if the Internet makes it possible to do anything, anywhere, why not do it in Hawaii?

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Rex Pechler

    Great article. It’s good to know you can get decent broadband. I can’t wait to go back to Kauai… my favorite island so far.

  • Russell C

    Hawaii IS too touristy and we as citizens suffer for it, but The fewer people who move here the better!

  • Linkmeister

    Russell, I live 13 miles Ewa of downtown, and other than driving past the historical sites at PH I haven’t seen a tourist in months (well, other than my annual Christmas shopping trip to Ala Moana).

  • Charley Foster

    The tourists on Kauai are the only way a resident here can enjoy a little anonymity in an otherwise very small town environment. I like the tourists.

    Sometimes I like to tuck an aloha shirt into a pair of burmuda shorts, put on a leather belt, some white tube socks and a pair of running shoes and just fade into the background.

  • Lloyd

    I think you missed the point. Hawai`i IS too touristy. The state has never ever been diversified. It seems to never learn the lesson of whaling or sandalwood.

    Safe, yes, and isolated. It is one thing to watch the Gnomedex stream and another to be there live. Island fever aside, the distance makes it impossible to participate in events. even if you could afford the travel costs, who can afford the extra travel time. Two day events become four.

    Broadband is better, uhm, okay. And there is always mail order.

    Hawai`i has the best weather though it is too humid for my tastes. But then again I live in the desert where we had highs of 118 this year, but it is a dry heat…

    I am not sure I agree with you about the quality of life calculus. The high cost of living AND the horrible commute AND the isolation in the end did not compute for me.

  • Mike

    Which is why you’re there and not here. Diff’rent strokes and all that rot. Its not like we need more people to move here, but if you’re going to rule it out, base it on better reasons. Like Lloyd’s!

  • cw

    whether or not it’s too touristy ( i don’t really see that from my view) it’s obvious pirillo hasn’t seen what’s special here, which doesn’t bother me too much. there’s plenty of people that do.

  • Keith

    Well said, Ryan. I hope Chris Pirillo is reading this and considers hooking up with you or Burt Lum or another of the alpha-geeks here in the islands next time he’s here. And didn’t we at one time lead the nation in percentage of homes with broadband?

  • Mike

    I’ll be the first to say that Hawaii isn’t for everyone, and I don’t feel we need to try to change people’s minds who don’t dig the place. If you’re not a water person, for example, you probably won’t appreciate how good the diving and surfing is out here, and that’s fine. Those who do, realize and appreciate what plentiful gifts we have here.

    I do disagree with some of Chris Pirillo’s assessments – such as Hawaii being too touristy. Then again, if you never step foot outside of Waikiki, it’s understandable how one could come to that conclusion.

    I’m kind of glad that we have a lot of local secrets – true treasures that only reveal themselves to those willing to explore a little bit.

    We have something really special here in our community out here. Those of us who know, know… and I don’t really mind keeping it our secret!

  • Marge

    Totally agree with your counterpoints – and if there were two job openings in our field in Hawaii right now, my hubby and I would move back there in a heartbeat!

  • The Tuesday Night Tech Show

    My wife is visiting Hawaii right now until Tuesday; any good secret spots I should tell her to check out for the rest of the week? She keeps saying the usual “we have to move here..” and I keep saying “It’s too expensive..” If you can do another few of these Living In Hawaii posts, that would be awesome!

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