New York Emerges as Tech Rival to Silicon Valley

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    I never realized it, but apparently there’s some sort of huge tech rivalry between New York City and the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. In fact, the rivalry last month compelled New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce a plan to bolster the tech community in New York so it could outpace its rival. And a New York-based data analytics services provider went so far as to commission a study it calls the “Silicon Shootout” to highlight the differences between the tech scenes in the two areas.

    That services provider is 1010data, and the study surveyed over 300 senior executives across the country, the majority of whom apparently had no pony in the race. My takeaway from the results shared by 1010data was that New York won the shootout pretty decisively, even though only 18 percent of the executives surveyed gave any weight to de Blasio’s plan. For example, the respondents said tech workers in New York are more likely than those in San Francisco/Silicon Valley to possess intensity, ambition, tenacity, practicality and analytical prowess. Those in San Francisco/Silicon Valley were seen as being more creative and more humorous, but more prone to “group think.” Here’s a breakdown of those results:

    • Intensity – New York (72 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (28 percent)
    • Ambition – New York (67 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (33 percent)
    • Tenacity – New York (64 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (36 percent)
    • Practicality – New York (58 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (42 percent)
    • Analytical – New York (55 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (45 percent)
    • Creativity – New York (46 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (54 percent)
    • Group Think – New York (39 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (61 percent)
    • Humor – New York (35 percent), San Francisco/Silicon Valley (65 percent)

    Moreover, the study found that 86 percent of executives believe the New York tech scene is booming, for the following top five reasons:

    • More venture capitalists and other investors are supporting New York-based tech companies.
    • More New York tech companies are being acquired (for example, Tumblr and Buddy Media).
    • City and state governments are supporting the New York tech scene.
    • New York tech companies are pulling from a better talent pool, with Wall Street and nearby Fortune 500 companies.
    • More New York tech companies are going public.          

    When asked which attributes are most influential in attracting top talent to a tech business, San Francisco/Silicon Valley only beat New York in weather and cost of living. New York beat San Francisco/Silicon Valley in public transportation, nightlife, access to arts and culture, energy level and food.


    Interestingly, a whopping 97 percent of executives said they believe the most successful data analysis companies are likely to come from New York. The top reasons cited were:

    • Financial talent pool from Wall Street (60 percent)              
    • High-energy environment in New York (59 percent)
    • Talent pool from New York Fortune 500 companies (56 percent) 
    • Proximity to Ivy League universities (49 percent)                
    • New York’s reputation as the city that never sleeps (46 percent)
    • Proximity to data-driven companies in many industries (45 percent)   
    • Studious behavior encouraged by bad weather (12 percent)

    Finally, on the question of which area provides a better business climate, New York was the clear winner. Three of every four executives agreed that New York is a better location than San Francisco/Silicon Valley to do business, and four of every five agreed that New York is a more important place to do business.

    As noteworthy as all of this is, I can’t help but wonder how the results of a study commissioned by a Silicon Valley-based data analytics company might differ from this one.

    A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.

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