Last month I decided to finally splurge on my living situation. My usual strategy has been to find the cheapest apartment near work to save money, but recently I’ve been going out a lot more and have a girlfriend who lives in the Eastern part of LA while my work is in the Western side, near the Pacific Ocean.

I decided; fuck it, it’s time to move and be young! I basically grew up on a farm in a forest in Washington State for the first eighteen years of my life and spent the next few years either in SF South Bay, or in Irvine, a boring suburb in Orange County. I wanted to be somewhere nice and in the city, like in a skyscraper with good amenities. Now the details of how I picked the apartment and the actual price and amenities of the apartment aren’t important to this message.

I moved into a skyscraper of glass and steel in the center of the city. Life is good here and our amenities are nice. We have an outdoors infinity pool, complimentary Starbucks in the lobby, and more. Most people I run into in the lobby, gym and elevator look well kept and young, beautiful even. But, I’m more interested in the many intangible benefits of living somewhere upscale and privileged.

A few days ago I was carrying a guitar in the elevator when headed towards my girlfriend’s place for the night. A stranger in the same elevator looked at me, at the guitar, and then casually told me that he managed a large record studio and that I was welcome to come in to audition sometime. Sadly I’m a terrible musician but what an opportunity!

Also, last week when I was out grabbing coffee in our lobby I ran into a talkative middle-aged man who was complaining about his sink faucet not having enough water pressure. We ended up briefly chatting and I discovered that he was the CEO of a large restaurant franchise in Southwestern America. He gave me career advice and invited me to eat at his restaurant. We exchanged contact information and went off on our separate ways.

At this point I was convinced that living in a nice apartment and networking properly can get you just as far, if not further, than something like business school or networking events. You are amongst the people who’ve already done well and are successful, not just the people who are ambitious.

Of course there are many other factors to consider, and I’ve only made a very shallow comparison, so please don’t take this essay seriously when actually making a career or academic decision. I don’t doubt the value of business school, but this writing is to make a case for other outlets of networking and meeting people.

Until next time, Lucas

Lucas Ou-Yang Hey, thanks for reading! I'm Lucas Ou-Yang, I live in Los Angeles and work fulltime at Snapchat Inc. My main interests are in content ranking and user-experience, I have a good amount of industry experience at both Snapchat and Facebook with ranking & product work. I also authored the most popular python news scraping library on Github: Newspaper, check it out! Feel free to send me an email with any comments, concerns, or requests!

Want to get to know me more? Read my bio and resume.

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"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo