The New York Times is Jealous of San Francisco

The New York Times has developed a pattern of jealously examining the tech scene in San Francisco. I find it silly and frustrating to read in the paper of record.

These articles follow a similar pattern. They pick an issue to illustrate why SF is better or worse than NYC. Interviews and anecdotal evidence ensue. Inevitably, the NYT author comes to a judgment that either SF is too weird or that NYC's approach is superior.

These NYT authors all seem to miss the larger meme. Despite their collective insistence that NYC is just as capable as SF of hosting the tech capital of the world, it doesn't, and maybe can't. Put aside the high rents, crazy fashion, offbeat culture, and stream of bad ideas, SF is the 16th century Venice of today.

Some examples of this in action: (I'll add more as I read them and laugh)

More near-term support for the “graying industry” view of technology came two weeks ago from Goldman Sachs. The economy may be doing nicely and corporate capital spending picking up, but it will not help the technology industry much, according to the investment bank’s survey of corporate spending plans. In 2005, corporate spending on information technology will rise less than 4 percent, the Goldman analysts predicted. “Technology looks to be firmly in the cyclical category for now,” the report stated.

If anyone can be trusted to say the new information economy is a fad, and hasn't replaced the mass media economy. It's the largest New York Bank telling the New York Mass Media it's so.

Yet another, somewhat longer, view suggests that America’s technology industry will not inevitably decline. The more optimistic outlook rests not on the prospects for Wall Street investors, but on the nature of information technology.

Oh, right. If we look past what short-term stock investment obsessed analysts say, it's pretty obvious that Silicon Valley represents a fundamental shift in how business is done.

Medsphere Systems is a start-up that hopes to bring the open-source software formula to hospitals.

Let's take a left turn to look at anecdotal evidence from one company focused on one sector of the Technology industry.

Amazon — and, to be sure, any number of other companies as well — has taken this idea to its logical extreme: Bring people in, shape them in the Amazon style of confrontation and workaholism, and cast them aside when they have outlived their usefulness.

Joe Nocera


The back and forth between Amazon and the Times and the conversation it has generated is a perfect meta-narrative for the tension between technology companies and media companies.

Emily Bell

The New York times is just collecting the confusion that New Yorkers feel when looking at San Francisco. It's a shame that the confusion exists, but … first they laugh at you…


Act 1 of This American Life's It's Not the Product, It's the Person is a great example of New York 'old media' just not understanding how Silicon Valley works.

Alex Bloomberg pitches his new podcast company, asking $1.5 million dollars in seed funding. He shows an ignorance for how venture capital works, amazement at how business-like getting funding is, and arrogance in carpetbagging.

I've loved Planet Money, and Mr. Bloomberg in it, but this was very frustrating to listen to.

The New York Times is Jealous of San Francisco

Joey Baker


I write code most days. Prevously: photojournalist, EMT. Somewhat obsessed with jouralism.