Monday, February 20, 2017

Silicon Valley is Devoid of...Diverse Industries (I Love New York)

At times, I have posted using the title "Silicon Valley is Devoid of Reason." Here is a December 2014 post that used this title. If there is a common theme to most of the posts, it is that the Silicon Valley thinking is often at odds with thinking in other parts of the country, and the world. In other words, Silicon Valley thinking can come up with a cute app or a nice enterprise database, but it's not going to make the trains run on time.

This raises the question - will Silicon Valley's sometimes myopic focus result in a decrease in its ability to innovate?

A couple of years ago, I advanced (for self-serving purposes) the argument that Interstate 79 is a hotbed of innovation. For those who don't recognize this interstate, it runs through West Virginia, which is the location of some major Federal projects for the FBI, the DoD, and others. Without getting too self-serving, I will note that many of the current discussions regarding privacy are based upon activities that don't take place in Palo Alto, but are centered in West Virginia.

But Morgantown and Clarksburg are not the only potential usurpers to Silicon Valley's throne. There's also New York - if you believe a writer from Crain's New York Business.

Yeah, he's self serving too, but hear him out.

The business revolution of the next several decades will move beyond the early tech plays — faster, smaller chips or connecting people and information virtually. It will be about transforming large industries that no longer meet their customers' demands into something more efficient and personal.

That can happen only where those industries are. So although Silicon Valley dominated the first wave of technology disruption, the advantage has shifted to New York, with its vastly greater diversity of businesses.

The city is the undisputed global leader in industries, from finance and advertising to fashion and the arts.

Pretend for the moment that you are a fashionista in Manhattan. You recognize that your enterprise requires a transformative technical solution for something or another - perhaps an algorithm that can modify a model's smile into the stone face that models use when walking down the runway.

By Biser Todorov - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

You, the fashionista, decide to talk to two separate companies about your needs. One of the companies is based about ten streets away, and the principals attend fashion shows regularly. The other company is a couple of thousands of miles away, and is run by some guy wearing sneakers and a hoodie who thinks a runway is something that Sully lands on when a river's not available.

Who you gonna call?

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