The amazing things going on in New York’s digital scene have finally bubbled their way up to the New York Times.
The thesis, essentially, is that Silicon Alley is back. This isn’t surprising, considering that it never left. But the last few years have indeed seen a major and more sustainable resurgence, one that is clearly here to stay.
Jenna Wortham, the writer, also mentions Caterina Fake’s observation about the most important difference between the New York tech scene and Silicon Valley’s, which is the relatively small number of folks who have previously been involved with wildly successful startups.
The startup game is distinctly different from Wall Street, consulting, mainstream media and other professions that have long dominated New York’s economy. For those driven by money, it’s feast and famine, all or nothing. Folks who have grown up in the cushy get-along-with-everyone-and-get-good-performance-reviews-and-you’ll-slowly-get-rich world of consulting, law, and Wall Street aren’t well-prepared for the “I worked my arse off for 5 years and then lost everything” world of startups.
What prepares people well for this world is being part of a culture that understands the startup process and values it. What also prepares people well is being part of startup that worked, especially one that worked huge. One of New York’s most successful tech companies, DoubleClick, has thrown off dozens of successful entrepreneurs. The current generation of New York startups will do the same.
As Caterina has noted, it would help immensely for the city to have a Google to call its own (although, with more than 3,000 people here, Google itself is serving this purpose). Even without one, however, New York’s digital scene is here to stay. And as the old media industry crumbles, the new digital winners will increasingly rise up to dominate the city’s consciousness.
Here’s Jenna Wortham in the NYT:
THE two dozen or so people arranged around wooden tables, warming their hands and bellies with steaming mugs of coffee and plates of homemade biscuits, looked like just another Sunday brunch set in New York. But members of this group had braved knee-deep snow to gab about cutting-edge ideas and as they introduced themselves the roll call sounded like a Who’s Who of digital start-ups: Foursquare, Hot Potato, Six Apart, Flickr, Flavorpill, Trust Art, Vimeo.
“There’s a lot happening right here in our ZIP code,” said Dorothy McGivney, a former Google employee who is a co-coordinator of this group, the North Brooklyn Breakfast Club, and runs Jauntsetter, a travel site for women. Like the others, she had come to the brunch to help foster the growth of her little local community of entrepreneurs.