AC – Differences with Seattle & Silcon Valley

One interesting takeaway for me from this conference is gaining some perspective on the differences between high tech in Silicon Valley versus Seattle. In interacting with a bunch of the conference goers and a few of the speaker’s talks (beware sweeping generalization), there’s definitely a “New Agey” thing going on down here.

For some of the folks at the conference, I swear I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. If you could imagine a random fancy-high-tech-talk generator, you can imagine some of the conversations I had and talks I listened to–at times, incoherent. Contrast that to Seattle, at least in my opinion, where people take a much more practical approach to high tech development–calculation, predictability, usefulness. Maybe it’s a Norwegian thing?

Microsoft is the perfect example being very calculating in its approach to releasing new software. “If it makes money, then we build it!” The Bay Area seems much different. Money comes into play but utopian thinking and idealism play a strong hand. Take Steve Jobs, he see’s his developers as artists. Google has a mantra of “do no evil.” Those just aren’t perspectives you commonly find in the Northwest for better or worse.

The common thing to both regions is innovation: Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe (formerly Aldus), SPRY (Internet in a Box) as a few examples. But for me, personally, the more rational perspective we have in the Seattle area is much more in tune with my personality.