Anne Kadet’s recent Metro Money column in the WSJ posits that New York is a “Techie Magnet”, although she puts forth her argument a bit halfheartedly. Kadet centers the piece on Rohan Deuskar, an entrepreneur who moved his start-up from Philadelphia to New York to be closer to the scene (fashion, in his case) despite the inflated costs that it brought. For him, “it’s about networking and time management” — busing in from Philly to meet fashion executives didn’t jive with his 90-hour work weeks. His company, Stylitics, is attracting VC funding so it seems to be working out, but Kadet writes that the Big Apple’s tech scene is still “a third the size of California’s” and that people have been saying that tech is heating up here for awhile, “sort of the way Long Island City is always poised to be the next hot neighborhood.”
This got me thinking about an article that caught my attention a few years ago, written by Antonio Garcia-Martinez while at AdGrok. I liked it because it was a funny and well-written takedown of NYC as a hot tech town — he makes fun of New Yorkers as essentially disinterested in start-ups, easily impressed by bling and hype, and unable to cook or build anything themselves. The culture is all wrong for tech; San Francisco is for bootstrappers like Zuckerberg; New York is for hustlers like Gekko.
This argument has been going on for years, but it’s kind of irrelevant, really. Of course Silicon Valley is the undisputed King of Tech. Who cares? New York tech is growing because tech everywhere is growing — the world is increasingly all about tech — and New York will always be New York, attracting all sorts of people. A woman mentioned in Kadet’s article moved her tech startup back to New York after just six months in San Francisco because she missed the City’s “respect for revenue, support for female founders and camaraderie.” New York the city of brotherly love? Not exactly – but given our status as underdog on the tech scene, it’s no wonder we’re pulling together to support each other.