There’s been a lot of discussion in the past couple of years about the resurgence of New York City as a tech center (I actually called the comparison to Silicon Valley a silly one about a year ago). In the past couple of years, however, a lot of factors seem to be pointing to New York not only becoming an important force in the technology space but also finally achieving its potential not as another tech center but more as its epicenter, displacing Silicon Valley after almost three generations.
The rise of New York to prominence is, first and foremost, due to a series of happy accidents. While the technology world was long dominated by hardware and algorithms, the current phase (often referred to as “the social web”) is all about people.
In order to full back those assumptions, I’ve created five lenses, each with its own post:
- Monocultures have negative impact. Polycultures take longer to create powerful organisms but inherently build ones that are more adaptable.
- Living in a city is inherently a social experience. Living in a car-driven society isn’t.
- Everyone poaches techies – the New York tech scene was born of those people that can’t be poached and found ways to attract like-minds.
- Don’t look at adversity as something that can be overcome with brute force, deal with it as a normal condition and you will find innovative workarounds.
- Businesses are ultimately about money so to continue fostering success, valley startup might do well to act a little more like New York ones if they want to build sustainable futures.
A historical setting
The New York dotcom scene of the 1990s was vibrant but ultimately flawed. Its own hubris killed it (and I should know as I was one of those people) and along with it killed the chance of New York displacing Silicon Valley as the epicenter of the technology world. A decade after its implosion, New York is being given a new chance to pick up the mantle, along with some distinct advantages this time around.
With many veterans still being part of the scene, it seems the lessons of the past have not been forgotten so the challenge to Silicon Valley’s supremacy will be substantially stronger than it has been in the past. I hope this series will give both groups chances to think about the different issues facing their own environment and work on dealing with those.
At the end of the day, if both Silicon Valley and New York were to emerge stronger than they are today, this conflict could leave the US more prepared for the next set of challenges that will push both coast to pull together and fight against the rise of cities in foreign locale to try to take the leadership away from the USA. If you are reading this, you probably have a dog in that fight and it is up to you, as well as everyone else in the field, to ensure that this competition ends up turning each location into the best it can be.
Note: This post is part of a series of why New York may gain the top position in the tech world, displacing Silicon Valley. The whole series is now online: Intro, Culture Part 1, Culture Part 2, Talent, Adversity, Business. Please read the whole series before making snarky comments (once you have, you’re free to make those comments).