My route from the subway to work takes me past Moscone Center, specifically the Moscone West building. From what I can tell, the Moscone West building hosts some kind of business convention or seminar every single week. I used to think it was predominantly tech conventions, because of the seemingly omnipresent banners for Oracle and Intel that adorned the building's facade. I also came to this conclusion by observing the attendees, who all looked like nerds.
Conventioneers were a fascinating study: wearing free promotional t-shirts and oversized name tags, scurrying across Fourth Street in frightened packs, gaping and pointing with equal awe at carousels, billboards, and homeless people. Obviously, SOMA is not the natural habitat of a nerd. My observation was more akin to looking at lions at the zoo, wandering around in some confused recreation of the savanna.
Upon looking at their home page, I realized that Moscone's conference schedule is not especially populated by tech companies. The nerdish behavior I saw was not unique to employees specializing in computer products. I'd be hard pressed to point out a significant difference in how Intel conference attendees behaved compared to, say, the American Pharmacist Association, though I am curious to see what the University of 7-11 conference is like. I was being unfair. Working for a tech company's office doesn't make you a dork. Working in any kind of office will do that.
This weekend, Moscone West hosts WonderCon 2006. From my intial field studies, I've observed that while Howard Street has seen a 10-20% increase in nerddom, and the lines for Dance Dance Revolution are out the door at the Metreon, the most significant trend is the 700% increase in corest-wearing young women in the area. This topic deserves extensive further study, I believe.