New York vs. Silicon Valley

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-02-12 Print this article Print

Blodget said he started Silicon Alley Insider because "we felt like there was a community here that didn't really have a publication that was the voice."

He said he does not agree that, as New York Magazine writer John Heilemann said, New York is a "'a sad-assed tech backwater,' but everyone in the [Silicon] Valley thinks that way. But there are two main differences. In the Valley there is this tremendous population of people who have grown up knowing people who have made untold hundreds of millions of dollars. Here we have one generation. We have a couple of big companies like DoubleClick and AOL that are spinning off lots of experienced people, but we do have a ways to go in terms of catching up."

Blodget said New York has more competition for the best minds that are perhaps even more attracted to Wall Street, the media industry and the advertising industry, which "are big competition for small startups that are strapped for cash. And it's tough to go to somebody who has just graduated and is already making $140,000 and say 'come join this really exciting startup where we're going to pay you a third of that and you're going to get some paper that may end up worthless if it doesn't work.'"

Another thing about New York, Blodget said, is you get punished for failure here a lot more than you do in the Valley, where you can try a startup and if it doesn't work you can come back in three years and try again.

"Here if you fail and you go back to Morgan Stanley and tell them you failed, you have to spend days trying to explain how you'd ever been so insane to go off and do a startup," he said.

Meanwhile, asked what New York has to do to attract more developers, Blodget said there already is a lot of developer talent in New York. "But again, it's Wall Street, where you can make $300,000 versus $70,000" elsewhere, he said.

Yet, New York has just had its first generation of big technology companies like DoubleClick and AOL "and some of those guys coming out of there will start companies and I just think it's just a matter of time. So we'll get there."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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