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.