Monday, February 18, 2008

Seattle Vs Silicon Valley - Haters

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.


Unknown said...

Nice post, Matt, and an interesting theory. My take on it isn't so much that we have more haters up here as that we have fewer people who are willing to take risk. It's not entrepreneurs who leave snarky comments - they know how it goes - but the cube-dwellers who know they'll never take the leap. Armchair quarterbacking is the consolation of the salaryman, and if it makes them feel better they're welcome to it.

Dave Naffziger said...

Chris, great point.

Everyone I know in Silicon Valley is at a startup, has been at a startup, wants to go to a startup or is at an upstart (yes, Google & Yahoo fall in this category but Microsoft doesn't).

Ted said...

I do have to say that I'm not sure what is worse, the "cube dweller haters" or the arrogant holier than though but still defensive startup guys! Thumbs down for each in my book.


PS - I'm a small business owner not even in computers