Tuesday, October 17, 2006

West Coast vs East Coast - Yin and Yang

I continue to be struck by the difference in attitudes toward innovation on the west vs. east coasts. Recently, I have spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley, and a lot of time in New York City.

A typical response to us from people on the West Coast is "You are underselling the game-changing potential of GlobalGiving. This thing could change philanthropy the way eBay changed shopping, Google changed search, iTunes changed music, and MeetUp and MoveOn have changed politics. We need to think much bigger about this."

By contrast, a very successful financier on the East Coast recently said "Send me all the numbers and let me look at it. I'll see if it makes sense to invest a little, or whether the whole operation needs to be cut down to size."

You can imagine what would have happened if an entrepreneur had pitched eBay, Google, Hotmail, Amazon, YouTube, or something similar in New York. They would have been "cut down to size" pretty quickly.

On the other hand, successful startups need finance from New York - to go public and sustain themselves in the big equity and debt markets. So to be fair, Silicon Valley and New York City are the Yin and Yang of the extraordinary innovation that emanates from the US.