The San Francisco Bay Area has more VC firms and dollars invested than all East Coast cities combined. But the NY scene has recently been getting uppity. Chris Dixon wrote a story, the NY Times wrote a story, now Silicon Alley Insider. I tweeted that it was all embarrassing provincialism. So who’s right?
Both cities attract the very best and brightest. But NYC has 20 times more.
The best programmers and internet entrepreneurs are in the Bay Area. Don’t kid yourself about that, not even for a second. To paraphrase Reservoir Dogs, NYers who even dream we’re in the same league ought to wake up and apologize. Looking for a young SEO or SEM wiz? Want to have a deep discussion about network effects vs. viral effects? Go west, young entrepreneur. The practical experience and intellectual capital in the Bay Area is light years beyond that of NYC — or anywhere else. Even East Coast VCs — never mind entrepreneurs — barely know what network effects are. They routinely confuse them with viral effects and/or switching costs, or they confuse viral effects with word of mouth. It’s pitiful. It’s only critical to your success, people; no reason to master the fundamentals…
What NYC does attract, year in and year out, is the very best general talent from around the world. The absolute smartest, neurons-just-fire-faster, can-bend-spoons-with-their-mind talent. What MBA types call “athletes.” The Bay Area gets the best of the web. NYC gets the best of everything else. And NYC gets 10-20 times more.