Intro: Simon Tan

I’m an aspiring urbanist, on a journey to start a new career as an urban planner. Currently taking graduate school courses and aiming to finish in 2022.

I previously had a run as a product manager in the software industry. I worked for companies including Dropbox, Atlassian, Box, and Microsoft, specializing in mobile & enterprise productivity SaaS (cloud software).

While I’m passionate about the future of work and mobile productivity, I left the tech industry in 2020 to pursue my other lifelong passion in urban planning, where I have much more to learn and new ways to grow. I’ve been involved with nonprofits such as SPUR, SF Transit Riders, and Seamless Bay Area for years, but now I’m taking this hobby to the next level.

Brisk mobility largely defined my style as a product manager in tech, and I anticipate this is an element I will carry with me as I enter this new field. I look forward to documenting the journey here and invite you to connect and offer any advice or suggestions along the way!

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Recent Posts

Consulting vs. Public Sector Jobs in Planning

As someone new to the urban planning profession, I was often curious about the various types of jobs available to planners and asked extensively about this during my informational interviews with practitioners in the field. I learned that planners generally work either in government (public sector), consulting firms (private sector), or non-profit (advocacy) organizations. I … Continue reading Consulting vs. Public Sector Jobs in Planning

Reflections on Career Change

Around two years ago, I finally committed to a decision that I had been contemplating for the better part of a decade beforehand. I would retire from the tech industry and pursue a brand-new career in urban planning, a field that had piqued my interest ever since high school. (Yes, I did stereotypically play a … Continue reading Reflections on Career Change

The Tragedy of Lowell High School

Across the United States, few high schools attract as much national controversy as Lowell High School. This elite magnet school in San Francisco is famous for its academic rigor, competitive culture, and demographically skewed student body (57% Asian as of this writing).


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