In today’s Boston Globe, there is an article discussing why Facebook went to the Valley instead of staying in the Boston area (article online).
Having now lived in both areas for nearly equal amounts of time, I can tell you that there are substantial differences between them. People from Boston may violently disagree, but I have found that the innovative spirit of the Valley, the one that drove the creation of the commercial Internet, does not exist here.
I am, however, someone who now laughs at the insular culture of the Valley, a place that still considers itself the center of the Internet innovation universe. I had a chance to meet with a growing Internet firm while I was out there on business last week (not Technorati), and I found the hubris and ego in the meeting that I attended laughable.
I was not laughing at this firm’s success, which has been great. I was laughing at the fact that the mid-level managers that we met with had the gall to effectively state that having their name on our customer list entitled (and yes, entitlement is also a large part of the culture) them to demand a deal that none of our customers get.
I can’t be sure what the sales guy I went with thought, but I left the meetings laughing. This company, which is younger than my youngest son, thought it had more pull with us than the multi-hundred billion financial firms we deal with daily. Thought that it had more pull than the large, first-generation Internet companies that we work closely with.
Yes, Boston does not generally fund and encourage a culture of innovation (yes, there are always exceptions). But those who seek to take the next great idea to the Internet should beware the hubris of the Valley.