Venture capitalist says New York’s Alley culture keeps it behind Silicon Valley
In today's Daily News, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Victor Hwang argues that in order for New York to compete with Silicon Valley—something Mayor Michael Bloomberg would very much like to see happen—it needs to become less of a dog-eats-dog city.
"In New York, even the simplest transaction—from buying a sandwich to picking up dry cleaning—can be a zero-sum war," writes Hwang, the managing director of Silicon Valley's T2 Venture Capital, which has invested in a broad array of technologies.
New York is renowned as the cultural capital of the world, but building the next Silicon Valley requires a new positive-sum culture to take root: one that enables strangers to trust rather than suspect each other; one that provides assurance that if you seek something other than fairness in a transaction, it will come back to haunt you.
The startup community in New York is working to build that culture today, but it needs more of the city to join them.
The theme of New York City suffering from a kind of culture gap with Silicon Valley is a familiar one.
Tumblr C.E.O. David Karp offered a variation on it last month, when he told Capital that New York is developing a distinct tech "flavor," one that's more media- and design-centric than California's.
"You hear from a lot of technologists who move to California or spend some meaningful time there, and they come back saying it really feels like the future out there, it feels like anything is possible," said Karp.
"And it’s true ... Because everybody there is an obsessive Twitter user, compulsive Facebook user, deeply understands the technology, is friendly with engineers. They’re building the stuff all the time. They’re driving around in electric cars. You see Tesla cars parked out there as much as you see sports cars in New York."