More and more the entrepreneurial community has integrated itself into the technology community. You have to commend them on what an excellent job they have done. At this point startup news and technology news are basically synonymous. At least half of articles posted on tech sites are actually about business and have little at all to do with technology. I’ve mostly just observed and lightly complained about them, but now they are trying to attack my home turf. They are attacking New York City.
Just about every day I read about some article about turning New York City into Silicon Valley 2. What bothers me is they take it for granted that this is a thing that is a good idea, and move right along to discussing how it can be done. It’s obvious why the startup people want to do this. There are a lot of people and, more importantly, a lot of dollars in NYC. It’s the most important city in the world. Yet, there are few technology-centric businesses based here. To these people the city is a huge untapped mine filled with gold.
The thing is, the location of technology companies doesn’t really matter that much does it? If I were starting a tech company I would probably pick Kansas City once Google brings the fiber there. The Netherlands is also a good choice, and has the fiber right now. The only real reason they come to NY is because they need more developers. The valley is tapped.
If they have marketed these entrepreneurial ideas so well, why are they having a hard time getting these developers? Why can’t they replicate the valley in New York? What is giving them all this trouble? I’ll make a general trollish statement and say that New Yorkers aren’t morons like those Californians are. Less trollish statement, New Yorkers aren’t as naive as Californians.
You see anyone who has a silicon valley attitude already probably moved there, or wants to move there. If someone stayed in New York it’s because they have a New York attitude. We aren’t the kind to work all night eating only instant noodles in exchange for a miniscule chance of getting rich and making some venture capitalist much richer. We have something here called rent, and it’s really expensive. We also like to eat good food, which is also very expensive. If you want us to work for you you have to pay us in cash, and lots of it. Venture capitalists don’t like that. They want kids right out of college who will work for peanuts because they don’t know any better.
Also, while New York lacks technology companies, it doesn’t lack technologists. Every desk has a computer on it. There are thousands of technologists in this city, many of them among the best in the world. The thing is, we all work for companies that do something else besides technology. Many work for financials that make money by having money to begin with. Some work for insurance companies, media companies, advertising firms, or *gasp* companies that actually have a product to sell. In other words, we work for businesses that actually make a real profit with a real sustainable business model that hasn’t been made obsolete like Hollywood has.
All these venture funded startups, how many make real profits? LinkedIn just had a huge IPO, how much profit do they actually make? Apparently the company is valued at 521 times its profits. I don’t know how math works in CA, but in NY we know how to use a calculator. That doesn’t add up. If we’re going to work somewhere and get paid, it better be someplace that actually makes money. If you promise me the salary I demand, you better damn well not bounce that check.
These people are treating investment dollars like they’re revenues. In NY people are still living in the real world. We’ll get excited about real things, like sales figures going way up. If some morons decide to invest a huge sum in a company that isn’t turning a profit, that’s not something to cheer about. It’s something to be very worried about. If I see the champagne opening, my first instinct is to run.
I also have a suspicion that the weather makes a big difference. New York has nice weather, but the winter is cold and snowy. That has a huge psychological effect on people. Because we are often grumpy, we want to escape. If you make a New Yorker rich, you know what they’ll do? They’ll buy a luxury apartment, a house in the Hamptons, and a tropical beach house. Then they’ll retire immediately never to be seen again. Make a valley entrepreneur rich, and they’ll show up to work the next day like nothing happened. The weather is so nice, they are happy with their late nights and ramen dinners. They don’t want to escape, they are happy to work forever.
If you’re one of those people trying to push your silicon valley mentalities in New York, let me be the first to tell you to literally get out of town. You’re not wanted here. If anything, I think you guys should take a little New York back home with you. When you have real money and are ready to pay my rent, then give me a call. Until then, save your cash for plane tickets.