Paul Graham: Wrong About NYC

Image representing Sean Parker as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBaseI have been to the Bay Area. I have been to northern California. And by that I don't mean the Bay Area. By northern California I mean parts of that state from where the Bay Area looks south. I have been to Los Angeles. I have been to San Diego. I have been to the valley. And by that I don't mean Silicon Valley. I mean California's vast farmlands. I have been.

I have seen the Oracle buildings. They look just like in the pictures. I have walked on the campus of Stanford University. It is just beautiful. It is an amazing, amazing place to be. I might be exhibiting some Global South bias in appreciating the architecture of the Stanford campus. What stood out for me were the Mexican style tiles. I have been.

And I have read up on it. Silicon Valley has got to be just the most fascinating place on earth. It is myth. It is legend. But the difference between Silicon Valley and New York City today is that Silicon Valley is like this giant, mature corporation, New York City is this up and coming startup. Several of the next big things will come out of New York City. (My Web Diagram)

Paul Graham, Brad Feld, Me, BBC

This is more than about hometown pride, although that I have plenty of. I don't have a country, it is not Nepal, it is not India, it is not America. I have a city. That city is New York City.

For my microfinance startup (March 8, 2012: Next Immigration Court Date) if I were to move to Silicon Valley that would be startup harakiri. That would be Japanese for suicide.

My startup enthusiasm for New York City comes from this diagram.

Silicon Valley is number one today, and I can see why. Silicon Valley continues to have cultural advantages. NYC continues to have policy failures. As to why New York City does not have gigabit broadband for everyone in this city confounds me. Why does New York City make it hard to incorporate? Silicon Valley's cultural advantages mean it will beat New York City also in clean tech. Perhaps also in nano tech, perhaps bio tech. (Brazil: Economy: Amazon And Biotech)

But New York City is a strong number two by now. And I see its number two position strengthening. New York City has the option to become number one. But there are choices it is going to have to make.

I am under the impression Paul Graham is a proud Bay Area resident.

The Next Web: Paul Graham on why New York City won’t beat Silicon Valley
Paul Graham says he will not be opening up a Y Combinator incubator in New York City. Ever. ..... The attendee line stretched down 18th Street with nearly 800 eager gents and a handful of ladies packing the hall. ..... “Well, at least we know you guys have now surpassed Boston,” Graham said as he took the stage to address the crowd about New York as a startup hub. “New York is definitely now solidly in the #2 spot.” And why has New York City surpassed Boston? According to Graham, New York investors just have a lot more balls than Boston investors. ........ his uniform of khaki shorts and sneakers, told the crowd that in 1995 he launched his first startup ViaWeb from his apartment on the 5th floor of a 5-floor walk-up on East 89th street in New York City ....... “The antidote for a failing startup is Sean Parker,” he said half-joking in reference to Mark Zuckerberg’s run-in with the former Napster founder who then became an early Facebook advisor. “The reason you should move to the Valley is because you’re going to run into Sean Parker on the street.” ...... Silicon Valley is the ideal startup hub due to a higher density of inspiring people- investors, customers, users and advisors, which greatly increase the likelihood of fortuitous meetings. ”I think chance meetings play a role something like relaxation plays in having an idea,” he said. Chance meetings are how and why success finds more entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley than anywhere else; Incubators like Y Combinator deliberately magnify this. Graham argues that the most important effect of a high density entrepreneurial population is that it sets the social norms...... “Possibly the most important thing about the Valley is that startups are the cool thing to do. In most of the country if you launch a startup people treat you as if you were unemployed. And 100% of mothers tend to live in these parts of the country. If you live [in the Valley] you know not to default to skepticism…There’s nothing more powerful than having people around you applauding and caring about what you’re doing. That’s the ingredient that makes the startup hub work.” ..... a showdown a la 2Pac vs. the Notorious BIG ..... the audience was not happy. Tweets became bullets....... “New York City is an irresistible force meets a moving object. The irresistible force is the energy of people in New York City, and particularly their wanting to make money…It’s true. The people here want to make money more than people in Silicon Valley. The immovable object is the existing dominance of the Valley,” Graham said, kicking off his attack on Gotham. ...... suggesting that New York’s obsession with money is deeply rooted and “Not something you can fix by having Meetups… The Valley is a magnet for nerdy visionaries. NYC is for rapacious dealmakers.” ...... “Maybe what’s going to happen is that startups are going to move more out of technology and you won’t have to be a Bay Area person to start one…To the extent that everything becomes a startup- everywhere that has companies is going to have startups. NYC certainly has lots of companies. So, maybe NYC will win.” ..... Gilt Groupe .... Etsy ... Meetup, Tumblr and Foursquare ..... NYC is less “hardcore tech” than Silicon Valley. We don’t have the Apples, Googles, Facebooks and Amazons ..... “The East Coast tech-scene is booming because we are going through a phase where experience design, clever new business models and distribution is becoming as important as the technology itself. The new East Coast growth companies are standing on the shoulders of the tech platforms that the West Coast has built over the past decade such as easy-to-use infrastructures like Amazon, discovery tools like Google and Facebook’s social graph.” ...... Birchbox, Jetsetter or Lot18 ..... each city is voraciously building hundreds of new-age startups a year, and while they might not be hardcore tech, they’re manipulating technology in savvy, innovative and artistic ways. ..... Graham reminds the audience that living in New York City doesn’t preclude one from taking advantage of what Silicon Valley has to offer. “Look at us like a 3-month vacation package in sunny Mountain View, California,” he said, equating it to scholars in Ancient Greece who visited Athens to further their education. ...... “East Coast investors will take you more seriously if you’ve gone to Silicon Valley for a while, just like artists who go off to Europe and then come back to New York” ..... Graham (above, far left) doesn’t think New York City is going to catch up with the Valley. “I don’t think it’s a weakness because those can be fixed. The problem is strength. In New York City, there’s already something else that’s really cool to do. But in the Valley it’s just cool to start a startup. As long as New York remains the big finance hub, you’re always going to have that dragging you down.” ........ No one moves to New York to relax and kick their feet up. Citizens pay a high price to live amongst the best and brightest because they seek inspiration through opportunities that thrive on intellectual collaboration. Perhaps, this kind of collaboration between the two coasts should have been the focus of the evening.
TechStars is less biased, and hence will take over like Android has overtaken the iPhone. (TechStars' Geographical Advantage Over Y Combinator)

The chance meeting of people of all kinds is 100 times more likely to happen in New York City than in Silicon Valley. Like Ronald Reagan said, a tree is a tree, how many do you need to look at? A mentor is a mentor, how many of those do you need?

Paul Graham has exhibited the tone of a mature corporation, not a fledgling startup. That is where the New York City tech ecosystem comes in. Because it is still fledgling.
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