Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

MediaWatch: The East Coast Tech Revival . . . More To Come?

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 19, 2009

There's an East Coast tech revival underway, I'm told. The publicists for TechStartsUps.com say that Hulu and Etsy have been "overwhelmingly successful" and that is propelling New York City into "once again becoming a hot spot for creative people who make inventive and viable technologies."

I spoke with Kris Smith, the newly appointed senior editor of TechStartsUps.com. He recently moved from Chicago to New York city and says their is a vibrant startup scene and people are dusting off old business plans.

He says that there are some active investors and that large media companies have some interesting projects going on, and that they also make acquisitions of local startups. There's a lot of activity in structural data, semantic web, mobile, and more. And TechStartsUps.com hopes to become the "Techcrunch" of the east coast.

He says there is a cultural difference between Silicon Valley and New York, there is a bit more focus on money. "Freemium has been great for some companies but generally it hasn't been very good for developers."

East coasters like to poke at Silicon Valley's penchant for "build it and then figure out the revenues" attitude -- not that Mr Smith is doing that but it is certainly a cultural difference.

Interestingly, "freemium" is a term coined by New York based VC Fred Wilson.

Mr Smith likes CNN's iPhone app because it charges money. And I agree, premium is a better model than "freemium" -- if you can get the dollars.

I ask him what jokes do people tell about Silicon Valley? He says there are none and laughs when I tell him I don't believe him.

I've had friends move from here to New York over the past few years and while they love the city, they say it is difficult to find people that you can talk to about technology and business. You can have conversations here that are very difficult to find anywhere else in the world, and that's why companies continue to move here from all over the world, including the East Coast.

It's great to hear that New York might be enjoying a bit of a tech revival but I'm afraid that Silicon Valley's view on this topic is equivalent to the famous New Yorker cartoon of the New York cityscape, where the rest of the world is depicted as pimples on a distant horizon. NYC is simply a pimple -- it's not personal it just is.


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