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Silicon Valley Taunts NYC Over Tech Aspirations

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It looks like Silicon Alley has a way to go before it’s taken seriously by its west coast counterpart. This weekend, the San Jose Mercury News published a piece of snark ridiculing New York City’s would-be role as tech usurper.

The dressing down came in response to “Only In the Alley,” a glossy calendar of New York tech types strutting beside their company names. Or, in the words of the Merc News, a confirmation of the city’s reputation for “flashy, soulless advertising.”

The calendar, created by the heads of app developer SNAP Interactive and entertainment site Hotlist, features companies like Livestream, Thrillist and Mashable.

But the west coast is not exactly shaking in its boots.

After issuing a challenge in the introduction — “Bring it on, Silicon Valley” — the calendar offers fashion-shoot-like photos of tech entrepreneurs in New York City, highlighting ideas such as online dating, a database of local doctors, a daily-deals site and an online beauty-products store.

How innovative!

How could analysts think Facebook will have 2012’s biggest IPO when these companies are around? […]

And feel free to contact IA with ideas about a Silicon Valley response for 2013. Maybe just pictures of the headquarters of the biggest tech companies in the world? They’re all here


Ouch. But then again, if the calendar gambit was intended as a publicity stunt, Silicon Valley’s paper of record took the bait.

More seriously, it’s starting to feel that there may be more at stake in the east-west tech dispute than idle bragging rights.

Recall that Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as part of a bid to make New York a “technology capital,” opened the year promising to learn coding while San Francisco’s mayor last week announced a scheme to bring the tech community directly inside city government.

And it’s still unclear what led Silicon Valley’s intellectual jewel, Stanford University, to abruptly pull out of a contest to install a science graduate school near the Upper East Side (New Yorkers had for months assumed Stanford was the default winner but the school bailed in December and Cornell was selected instead).

It looks like the Silicon Valley vs. Silicon Alley story is far from finished but, on this bitter winter day in New York, the west coast sure looks more appealing for technology companies (and everyone else).

3 Responses to “Silicon Valley Taunts NYC Over Tech Aspirations”

  1. Bobbagoo17

    To be accurate, Cornell emerged as the leading candidate for that tech campus before Stanford dropped out. Stanford saw the writing on the wall, got cold feet about dealing with the city, and realized they weren’t going to win. Initially they were the favorites, but Cornell came with a better proposal, far more passionate alumni support, and a lot more experience building and managing a large campus in Manhattan.

  2. Ha! If you’re a coder, it doesn’t matter if you’re in New York, San Francisco, or Barstow, Alaska, because you hardly ever see daylight. (code all night, sleep all day…) Snow? Rain? Sun? Weather? What’s that? That said, both NYC and areas around Silicon Valley are great for ordering in on those all night, late coding sessions. ;-)