Last week, John Markoff touched off a blog meme comparing the Seattle start-up environment with Silicon Valley's with his New York Times article. We got some John Cook, some Glen Kelman, and some Michael Arrington. Starting from the top with Markoff, this wasn't an especially substantive argument - kind of like 'tastes great. less filling' - both are good places, but in sifting through the comments on these posts, a real difference started to become apparent to me. Haters. The hater quotient in Seattle is higher than in the Valley. Ideas are apt to get shredded in Techcrunch comments, but on John Cook's blog, commenters get nasty and personal immediately - and that negativity is less encouraging to a community of innovative entrepreneurship and risk capital.
After reading a couple of nasty comments on John Cook's Askablogr post, I lost it, and had to write. Some more examples, comments on coverage of Redfin, Jobster, Judy's Book. Get a life, guys! I know Glenn and Jason and Chris and Andy - they are all impressively smart, successful and energetic guys. Guess what, lots of startups close down, lots of startups dig big holes to climb out of by raising too much money too fast - but it's not dumb money, that's how the venture model works, the singular successes pay for the myriad others - and you don't find the successes without the rest of the portfolio.
Positivity is one area where Silicon Valley still has the edge over Seattle.