The Bay Area in 2016 is to technology as 1930s Detroit was to automobiles or 14th-century Venice was to the European spice trade, except that these and all other historical analogies are unable to capture the magnitude and speed of local tech growth.
I struggle with this every time I go on a job application spree. San Francisco is the place geeky things happen. But the cost of living is very scary.
If, however, you’re looking to maximize your probability of joining the next Google (or Google itself), moving to the Bay Area probably makes sense. The salaries here do cover the higher cost of living, and if you are able to capitalize on the additional opportunities that are uniquely available here, you could end up doing much more than covering costs.
Basically, if you hit it big, the high living cost will be insignificant… and you’re more likely to hit it big if you’re there.