There’s been a discussion this week on the New York Tech Meetup mailing list, and this guy’s answer (Allan Benamer) has to be documented somewhere. Check this out.
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“…find it difficult to understand why a Stanford can achieve such great town-and-gown synergies that brought the world Yahoo!, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Google, Silicon Graphics, etc., and a Columbia or a Rutgers or a Cornell or a SUNY cannot.”
I’m from the West Coast and got to see the dotcom boom up close. I think it’s not just Stanford but my alma mater, Berkeley, and a host of other great schools on the West Coast like UCLA and Cal-Tech that are also helping out. The truth of the matter is that much of NY Metro’s inherent “nerd power” is sucked up by financial services firms. An engineer being paid upwards of $100k a year to do crappy Oracle SQL calls for some financial services Intranet app is pretty much the average around here. There’s no incentive to innovate as a result. Plus, there’s a cultural problem. If you go on BART, you’ll see people reading programming books all the time. Here, it’s just multiple copies of Kite Runner on the subway, (not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s why I moved out here.)
The nerd infrastructure is just not supported well either — nerds need Fry’s and great tech book stores like they do in the Bay Area. Here, all we’ve got is J&R, a host of cheesy grey market electronics retailers and Barnes and Noble. It’s hard out here for a nerd.
That said, I would more than welcome whatever energies are poured into a Silicon Alley. I just hope that the infrastructure gets better as a result.