Instead, look to what industries your community has long been successful in, and develop the tech to disrupt those industries before the Valley does.
NYC's example was to focus tech on advertising, finance, and media -- the industries it has long dominated.
I'm from a small mining city in Canada (Sudbury, Ontario). I see the same desperate hope to become a tech center. But the best startups are the ones focused on areas where our community has traditionally held a significant leadership position: mining.
One such startup, and arguable our most successful one, is Minalytix. They develop software for analyzing mining and exploration data.
Another is Symboticware, which creates hardware and software to gather real-time data from machines on the ground and analyzing it back at the office.
Jannatec is focused on solving the challenges of getting quality wireless data in and out of complex underground mines (those many kilometers of hardrock don't exactly make it easy).
TesMan is focused on mine safety. Dura21 works on better pipes. Hard-Line is tackling robotics. ClickMox does lidar. There are many others.
These are small but thriving startups. They're not sexy. They're not likely to be the next Facebook or Google. But they're solving problems our community has long established itself as being experts at solving. It's also transforming our economy from one being tied to a dwindling resource (easily accessible ore), to one that leads in mining operations around the world.
A lot of towns want to be the next SV. It's not going to happen. Trying to be SV is to live in denial about what made SV successful in the first place.
But tackling a smaller niche in the wider tech space? Building on the resources, expertise, and reputation you already have? That's a very doable approach and the field is wide open.
It's a small, cold, somewhat-remote city known for mining, and particularly for having an incredibly tall smokestack visible everywhere in town. You can fund startups, but who is going to move from other places to Sudbury?
It's not a critical flaw. It's a reality to be contended with.
The flaw would be pretending this isn't the case, and trying to be just like Silicon Valley and competing with them on their terms at their own game.
Sudbury is a real city in a real place. It can't relocate. It can't choose a better climate. So community leaders have to contend with reality.
Like any competitive landscape, you have to look at your strengths and weaknesses. Our weaknesses are obvious (it's fucking cold). But our strengths?
How about having two of the largest and longest running mining companies in the world operating here? How about having an entire class of engineers who have specialized on mining and have already chosen to live here? How about having two colleges and a university supplying fresh talent every year? How about a radically lower cost of living? And an abundance of funding from local, provincial, and federal governments who are hungry to see real progress in this space? How about a far more open immigration policy attracting top talent from countries your president is afraid of?
I'm sorry but this Valley-centric mentality is just weird. It may surprise you to learn that not everyone thinks the Bay Area is awesome. (I've been. I loved visiting. Wouldn't want to live there.) Alot of brilliant mathematicians, scientists, and engineers want nothing to do with it.
We also have universal health care, radically lower crime rates, an abundance of nature, low population density, comparatively cheap real estate, and hockey. So much hockey.
That smoke stack has long been roughly 98% water vapor because we long ago cleaned up our smelting process to not need it, and the steam was needed to push the other 2% to the top. It's also being decommissioned in the next few years.
So who's moving here? The people who love it. Don't believe me? Check out #WeLiveUpHere for a hint of the passion locals have for this community.
Anyway, that was all an aside. This wasn't about "hey, look how great Sudbury is, you should all be like Sudbury." It's 100% fine if you don't like it, but it's delusional to think that everyone feels the same way.
My point was that every community has to contend with tech disruption. The desperate ones will throw their money behind anything tech and hope it sticks. The smart ones will focus on the areas where they're already strong.
That smokestack was a crisi-tunity: decades of acid rain made the soil incredibly favourable for growing blueberries.
Ignore those blue blobs they sell in supermarkets, they’re garbage.
There are a ton of immigration programs. The current fed gov is letting in a ton of people.
If you have a job lined up, go for it. It’s a better situation here than most places.
No judgement implied, but this is primarily on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. There has been little increase to economic immigration quotas since the last government.
Also, very few new Canadians want to go anywhere outside Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, which is understandable to a degree but not where the need for skilled, employment-aged people is most critical.
The official reports say that they’re expecting 60% of immigration growth to come from economic migrants.
And the proportion of new Canadians settling in BC/ON/PQ is down from ‘97. But who knows how many “settle” and move the next day.
They’re blaming processing times on any decline for economic migration, which I’d expect this government to rectify. People tend to vote for the people that let them in.
And if anything, the economic migrant categories have quotas. Less demand = less points required to win an invitation.
It often sounds like what SV lacks is good ideas for what to spend all the money and talent on. Maybe the residents of Sudbury have an edge there -- presumably everybody knows a dozen people in the mining business, and is well sited to figure out what their pain points are. You just need a few of those people also know enough about tech to see how to help... and then hire a dozen coders elsewhere once they are needed.
Places desperate to become “the next Silicon Valley” aren’t anything to outsiders, as far as I can tell. That’s why they’re desperate.
That's not to say that EVERY town has such an opportunity. But it strikes me as the place to start.
Yet you got fibre optic to the home (with phone and tv) years before those of us in the south.
NYC is coming up, but the graveyard of quirky disruptors would still only be pursued in Silicon Valley. These non revenue generating companies acting as developer daycare need to be flipped from one portfolio to the next until you have a deal size big enough to matter, swap out the board and executive team and shop it to the public markets, ka-ching. New York VCs and other markets cant and wont chase developer daycare companies on a broad enough scale to grow these into deals.
Again, I could be missing the entire point of your comment.
The graveyard of seemingly pointless portfolio pieces is a key component which nyc cant replicate
No, we probably won't be building the next Facebook up in Sudbury. We don't need to.
But we can do extremely well being "big fish in a small pond", as the saying goes. Our strength is mining. Very few communities have the concentrated resources and expertise that we do in this very specific sector.
I think your point of view is a little VC centric. If you're a community leader in any city like ours, your ambition isn't to attract billions of dollars of investment to build the next unicorn. I mean, sure, we wouldn't say no to it. But the actual challenge we're trying to solve is job creation. To create jobs faster than they can disappear.
If we throw all our money willy-nilly at any tech startup, we're not going to get a good return on that investment. Startups notoriously fail at a ridiculously high rate.
But we can look at our strengths, and build upon them.
You know, like any sane business person would.
I wonder what's going to happen when, at some point, the Saudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fund stops putting money into Softbank. They're currently the world's largest source of dumb money. That can't last forever.
Consider NYTimes' own article on the amazon exit. Half the people angry at Amazon were commenting that Amazon wasn't going to pay living wages (thinking that corporate HQ2 jobs are fulfillment jobs.) The other half were angry that Amazon was going to pay too much and would drive up rents. Which one is it? I don't know, but both sides banded together.
One major issue AOC had with Amazon was the fear that Amazon couldn't guarantee they would only be hiring local NYers -- since when did NYC become a country? Where could/couldnt workers come from -- would it be only from Queens? Would Brooklyn be OK? What if someone commuted from NJ? What if someone commuted down from the suburb? At what point does someone who moves to NYC become a NYer? This type of in-city protectionism was shocking and completely ignores how local economies work.
The key issue here is rising rent, and this is something Local politicians (AOC in particular) campaign on. A significant portion of people here would see their rents go up without seeing any additional benefits.
How would you expect an elected official, who campaigned against higher rents, to justify not opposing Amazon?
That said, addressing rising rents by limiting the number of high-paying jobs in a city seems like one of the worst possible ways to approach the problem.
My own experience in NYC's tech scene is that a plurality of tech workers come from outside the city, and I am skeptical that their presence nevertheless "lifts all boats" via Seamless orders and bar tabs.
Having a district-level focus seems like a poor resolution -- should queens residents then conversely be restricted from working in Manhattan? It seems pretty regressive since poorer districts would get poorer.
People grow up in their neighborhoods and are connected to them and proud of them. Their are ways to bring up a neighborhood without pricing its residents out of living there.
The main issue that progressives took with all of this is that Amazon pays $0 in federal tax, demanded $3 billion in local tax breaks, and offered very little enforceable things in return.
We can't just let huge companies run around asking major cities to bend over for them and offer up their money and their souls for almost nothing in return.
Citation to actual financial statements needed. Their most recent 10-K indicates they paid $1.2B in total taxes.
> demanded $3 billion in local tax breaks
No, they didn't. At least $2.5B of that is on the table for any company that wants to build and office for 25,000 people in LIC.
> offered very little enforceable things in return
Not sure what you mean here. The majority of the tax breaks are directly tied to headcount or construction. No hiring/construction == no credits.
Right. Leaving $500MM in cold hard taxpayer dollars to build a building for the richest guy in the world so he could promptly compete with local businesses. Which, to be clear, was not something a lot of those taxpayers were happy about.
No one is suggesting restricting anyone's ability to work but you can't be surprised when people elected to represent a district act with only that district in mind.
I also live in this district but work in tech and have a market rate salary. Amazon moving in would be good for people like me, but the average resident of this district is much closer my MIL.
> Would your mother-in-law not rather work in a hotel closer to home? Not everyone has to work directly for Amazon in order to benefit from the investment. Increased numbers of high-paying jobs means increased spending and new businesses in the area, as well.
Sure, maybe she could work at a brand-spanking new hotel next to HQ2 in her former neighborhood -- after she's been driven out of it by rising rents caused by HQ2.
I think it's easy to understand why people in Queens would fight against a similar fate.
I'd say limiting high-density housing is really what has brought down the Bay Area. In contrast, New York has mostly embraced high-density housing. Take a look at LIC:
When you build upwards, the sky is the limit, literally.
Also, forcing people to move into low-density homes seems regressive. It can be an option.
So perhaps it's less harmful for the current residents of Queens, but it's still negative. Why should they not oppose that?
- stop all jobs growth in Manhattan (10min subway ride to LIC)
- and/or we'd have to put a cap on salaries (what happens to doctors? minimum wage? how do they pay med school loans?)
- and/or ensure LIC residents dont commute to well-paying jobs in Manhattan
- and/or ensure only low paying jobs are created in LIC (how many mechanics jobs and other non corporate jobs can LIC support? Why havent they already been created?)
All of the above seem silly. At some point, you'd almost be breaking off LIC into a self-sufficient fiefdom in itself. The assumption would be that all the benefits that came from banding together as a city and creating a modern society were net negative to the residents of LIC. This seems quaint but doesn't feel right to me.
I suspect we could find many people who do think life was better before tech and finance took over. Not only in LIC, but in blue, pink, and even some white collar neighborhoods around the country.
Whether their opinion feels right to us here on Hacker News is only relevant to the extent that our political influence outweighs theirs (if it does).
It won't actually change much since Long Island City is still booming, but you could say the same thing about building housing; every little bit helps.
Amazon is welcome to expand without a deal, and in fact they still are, just not a brand new HQ2.
Her speaking out against Amazon was her speaking out against something that is not within her sphere of competence or within her elected sphere of influence.
She's a citizen of the state and city and, as such, should indeed have “political authority” to influence decisions state and city officials make.
If that is the case, where are the calls to end the Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program, the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, and the Excelsior Jobs Program? That is where the vast majority of the credits came from. The backlash was because it was Amazon that wanted to take advantage of those programs, and do so after that ridiculous and condescending dog-and-pony show they called a search.
Now, some subset of opposition surely is from people who think no company that wants to build a large complex in LIC with 25,000 employees deserves billions in subsidies. If that is the case, those people need to work against the root causes and stop acting like this $3B package was some special deal for Amazon.
There was no outcry to prevent Amazon from using general programs that were open to all applicants, the problem was with the special extras they negotiated.
There's no reason to think that Amazon would have been facing opposition if they'd just announced a new project in LIC and applied for the normal programs.
They didn't do that.
No, it isn't.
> There was no outcry to prevent Amazon from using general programs that were open to all applicants, the problem was with the special extras they negotiated.
People were outraged over the $3B. Less than 20% of that was special extras for Amazon. I don't think anyone would have been any less outraged if the number was $2.5B instead. Particularly since most of the arguments boil down to "billion-dollar corporations don't need tax breaks from NYC/NYS".
> There's no reason to think that Amazon would have been facing opposition if they'd just announced a new project in LIC and applied for the normal programs.
Yeah, because nobody would have known. Look at all the people who assume other large companies in NYC don't get any tax breaks simply based on not hearing about said tax breaks.
I don't think Coldplay is very good. We all have opinions. If they wanted to see what would have happened in that scenario they should have tried it.
> Yeah, because nobody would have known. Look at all the people who assume other large companies in NYC don't get any tax breaks simply based on not hearing about said tax breaks.
Well yeah. They launched a massive national PR campaign to showcase that they were demanding the highest level of special treatment. They literally engineered an auction where they were asking cities to compete to see who could give them the most taxpayer dollars. A lot of New Yorkers weren't interested in "winning" that competition.
Not only could they still take advantage of the existing programs, it's almost certain that they actually still will to some extent. And as you'll see when it happens few will protest that because it wasn't the thing people were protesting against.
They were protesting special treatment.
Many New Yorkers felt, justifiably, like the richest man in the world and the most valuable company in the world should play by the same fucking rules as everyone else. I live here and I'm one of them.
This is pure speculation, but I suspect the opponents wouldn't have altered their tone. At any rate -- I agree with you that Amazon shouldn't have received the special tax cut, and they didn't need it, and it was foolish of the State/city leadership to offer it.
I wanted AMZN to come here to NYC, but that whole charade they put on was a turn off. meh.
There’s literally no evidence of this. Dozens of companies, including evil empires like Google and Goldman Sachs, have taken advantage of Empire State grants and EDC programs and whatever else without all that much drama.
Amazon literally shot themselves in the face with their arrogant, entitled attitude here. Consider placing the blame where it belongs.
I (and many others I've spoken to) don't have a problem with the idea of economic subsidy to support businesses moving to NYC, but objected to a company the size (and success) of Amazon doing so. I can imagine there would be widespread support for a move to limit these programs to smaller startup companies, and maybe we'll even see some local politicians propose that.
But there's a city/state issue here. Few people would object to Amazon creating a massive HQ and 25k jobs in Albany, even if they would in NYC. So any answer would have to take that into account too.
Which is hard to do, since Amazon convinced most city leaders across the country to keep the majority of the incentives secret, and therefore no one could know how bad it was until it was already too late.
There's a strong argument here that the protesters were the only people involved in this whole ordeal that actually did their job properly.
Really, can anyone be surprised that this was not met with enthusiasm? IMO the blame lies at the feet of Cuomo, who is used to getting his own way and dictating to others. This is one of very few times that it came back to bite him.
Patchett did toss out a scrap of news about what’s next for Long Island City. He said city land that had been slated for the tech giant’s corporate towers will instead become a mix of homes and businesses. That, after all, had been the original plan before New York decided to drop it and go a-courtin’ for the company. The new-old project will consist of a thousand residential units—two hundred and fifty of which will be affordable. The neighborhood will also gain 100,000 square feet of light manufacturing and industrial space, ground floor retail, a cultural center, a 600-seat middle school, and a one-acre park."
Those things sound like a much better addition to the area than one Amazon.
That said, I'm really getting annoyed at the people who are both ignorant of how Amazon was going to get its $3B in credits and assuming that other companies, like Google, are getting none simply because nobody talks about it.
Edit to explain further: much of the backlash was about concerns like gentrification, or the inability of local infrastructure to handle 25k new residents.
Not that many people here care much about limiting development in general, especially in dense center city areas like the East River waterfront.
People were pissed that we were considering giving money to the richest guy in the world to do something that nearly every company seems desperately interested in doing anyways, namely locating businesses within a half mile radius of midtown manhattan.
I don't see much support for your argument here. As I see it, the stance is NYC is a strong enough tech city to be able to say no to Amazon; to not need to bend to their every whim to bring them here.
But that isn't the my argument -- my argument is that the entire rhetoric is nonsensical. My shock is the dual narrative on "tech pays too much -- down with tech" "tech pays too little -- down with tech." This reeks of false excuses and clinging to some mythical perfect that doesn't exist and isn't driven by tech.
Inter-city import of workers is also non-sensical.
Finally, that the exit of 25,000 high paying jobs could be seen as some sort of victory is also alarming. NYC has really never recovered from the 2008 crash when ~500,000 well paying finance jobs were compressed/reduced/automated. NYC needs those jobs and the ecosystem they would create.
EDIT: In response to the citation request, i'll look for it. But rough numbers are: several broker dealers disappeared all together - Lehman, Bears, Merrill. UBS' building in Stamford is practically empty now. Legions of contractors, not on employee payroll but still working there, were also let go.
Their books of business were absorbed but the staff were mostly redundant. Secondly, 2008 was used (wisely) to compress unnecessary workers -- tons of stuff that used to be done by teams got automated by software.
As an example, i saw our own market data teams go from ~20 in 2006 --> 7 in 2010--> 2 in 2014 as more and more APIs and standardized software took over rote tasks like pulling market data, creating curves, etc. Other examples include Fax --> DTCC econfirm for operational work. Tear-ups for redundant contracts (e.g., TriOptima and other platforms.) Custom trade platforms per-firm cant compete in most cases to straight out of box Bloomberg POMS/AIM and again, technology made things more efficient.
What's shocking about this? If you're uneducated and barely scraping by in LIC and Amazon moves in you have two problems: their low end jobs don't pay enough to improve your quality of life while their high end jobs are unattainable and will drive you out of the neighborhood. While Amazon might have been a net positive for the city it would have been actively harmful to a slice of the population. They spoke up.
LIC is already a 10m commute to midtown and home to nothing but shiny glass towers.
Can you expand on that, or provide a citation/link? It doesn’t ring true to me (a New Yorker who worked in finance in 2008), but I’d love to learn more.
I'd be very interested if you could find that link.
Let me answer your anecdote with another anecdote: I worked for one of the banks that disappeared (Merrill), and it's not like they just locked the doors. Many, many employees (like me) just became workers at Bank of America. Even given extremely generous assumptions, your 500k number sounds off by at least an order of magnitude.
The statement "NYC has never really recovered" still doesn't seem right to me.
NYC unemployment is like 4%. I don't think it's in need.
I understand that too low unemployment (<3%) is bad since it constricts movement and creates inflation. However, aren't high paying high benefit jobs always a good thing?
People can be upset that 1) developer salaries are large enough to disrupt the local real estate market, and 2) that fulfillment center and delivery positions are churn-and-burn jobs that are paid like shit.
Neither of those positions are contradictory.
My shock is the dual narrative on "tech pays too much --
down with tech" "tech pays too little -- down with tech."
This reeks of false excuses
I understand the issue of gentrification is real. But this is the first time I've heard a progressive argument against good paying good benefits jobs -- usually the argument is that jobs don't pay enough and the benefits are too little (that can be regulated.)
When did that happen?
> NYC has really never recovered from the 2008 crash
I also don't really understand why AOC is being scapegoated for this — this wasn't her district and she's not a state or city politician anyway.
Because she's being billed as a socialist boogieman by the media? She's extremely visible and vocal on the national stage that this whole HQ2 debacle has played out on. People in Seattle and DC don't know NYC's lower level politicians by name, and this is being billed as a national story because so many spurned cities and their populations have a viewing interest.
Had this been done differently, it would be a much smaller story covered by some segments of the tech media and local NYC publications with limited national coverage. In that reality, it likely would have been local community organizers and district pols being named in articles and scapegoated.
For the same reason the purple-haired woman screaming into Logic Man's face fuels millions of "SJW cringe" video views.
AOC for many people is a symbol of "snowflake socialist millennials who want the world to be handed to them". This is a narrative that persists even when it is Amazon that pays no federal tax and demands extra concessions despite already being highly profitable.
If NYC has a problem it's with Byzantine building codes and zoning.
NYC tech will be absolutely fine. It's still a very desirable place to base a company, and IMO people won't even be talking about the Amazon deal in a year's time. I mean, think about the level of resistance big tech companies face in San Francisco, or Seattle even. This is a pretty uniform thing.
Particularly, they picked a part of NYC where neither the housing market nor the neighborhood's transit infrastructure can handle that extreme rapid growth. The 7 and G trains would be overwhelmed, lots of residents would be priced out disruptively fast, etc.
They also don't need billions of dollars of subsidies from NY. They are among the most valuable companies in the world, already have an office in NYC, and will still be growing that.
By contrast, I have no problem with Google doubling it's NYC office from 7k employees to 14k, because it's in a different part of the city which can absorb that just fine in all regards. And no subsidies involved, as far as we the public have been made aware.
(Disclosure, I used to work at Google NYC for Google, but I really would be saying the same thing about the locations and growth plans if the company labels were swapped. I have no inside info on either company's real estate plans and don't work or speak for either now.)
You and I agree that the people who thought Amazon's NYC HQ would pay below living wage are misunderstanding - at least for directly employed workers. Not sure how their office contractors are treated, but I expect the answer would match whatever's true in Seattle.
> The G, 7, E, M, F, R, N, and W are all within a reasonable walking distance from the proposed HQ site. In the short term, Amazon will occupy one million square feet of 1 Court Square, which sits directly above…Court Square on the E, M, 7, and G lines (the other aforementioned lines are not far away). While they’re all crowded during rush hour and Court Square itself will strain under the ridership (but less so than during the L shutdown) the G and M have additional peak-direction capacity. Also, they’re all well below the current crowding levels on the L and 4/5.
Further, there’s good reason to believe many Amazon workers will follow non-traditional commuting patterns. For starters, a number of them will probably live within walking or bicycling distance from HQ2 given the housing construction boom in the neighborhood. For those who don’t, many will reverse-commute from Manhattan (Hudson Yards, the other NYC neighborhood experiencing a housing construction boom, is straight down the 7). For workers looking to commute from the suburbs, LIC has two LIRR stops, although they currently don’t have very attractive service patterns. Some might even choose to live in Metro North country, given that LIC is one stop on the 7 from Grand Central. It’s also worth noting that East Side Access service, which would bring the LIRR to Grand Central, is slated to begin in December 2022, making Long Island a more attractive option.
The point is not that any one of these options will be most attractive to future Amazon employees, but all of them will attract some and the load will be dispersed. This is the beauty of a robust, healthy transit network: it can absorb even the biggest of shocks.
40000 people across 8 lines with a bunch of countercyclical commuters is a drop in the bucket in NY transit.
As for Hudson Yards, that commute isn't countercyclical at all until after it gets east of Grand Central. Whee more crowding.
Also, the NYC transit network hasn't been healthy since at least 2012, much to my chagrin when I returned there from the West Coast in 2013.
The fact that some people may have been misinformed about one aspect of the issue (the number of fulfillment jobs) does not -- in any way -- diminish the perfectly legitimate concerns that others had about rising rents and displacement.
What if someone commuted from NJ?
The concern is not about commuters from the metro region.
But rather for the expect large numbers of transplants from many thousands of miles of way -- in exchange for massive subsidies positioned as "necessary" for the benefit of local job creation.
This question is coming up because moves of this scale aren't common, especially in big cities. NYC is very densely populated, and affordable housing is already a huge issue.
Nobody worries about Foxconn hiring non-Ohioans because most people aren't going to want to move to Ohio to work for Foxconn.
NYC is still a tech town. But it's not _only_ a tech town. You don't have to only be one thing in order to succeed.
New Yorkers have no problem with technology companies. Google just bought a third of the West Village. No one cares. The Times is running trend pieces about hapless Facebook employees moving from Palo Alto to the East Village and paying 7800 dollars in rent. No one cares.
One thing I'd encourage you to do is think of New York as a system instead of focusing on the storylines of the individual players. NY is a grossly corrupt city with a non-functioning democracy. The story of NY for the last two hundred years is a series of big companies making shady deals with the government to get big handouts while public infrastructure is failing, housing supply is unaffordable and neighborhoods get structured by real estate developers instead of people.
Unless the system attracts too much attention, it's mostly stable. That's why Google is on a multi-billion real estate buying spree and the subways have gone sixty years without signaling upgrades. The problem is that Amazon made a huge show out of their arrival and pushed for concessions beyond what their peers asked for. That created a lot of attention and organizers harnessed long standing grievances with the government and housing policy along with it to push Amazon out.
10 years, or if you were here on 9/11.
First, agree on the enemy/problem. Then, work out why they're the enemy. This can be xenophobic: migrants, jews, black people, brown people, chinese people, etc. There have been massive popular movements against all these in recent history. They all followed this pattern.
Jews were simultaneously accused of being behind banks and capitalism and bolshevism. Migrants are almost always accused simultaneously accused of stealing jobs and living off the dole. Others chime in that they're destroying or diluting native culture.
It can be more abstract. The problem is capitalism, socialism, monopolies, "corporate greed," the monetary system... Everyone will have their own definition of whichever enemy emerges, and their own reasoning for why its the problem.
Those are extreme and indefensible examples. But, popular movements can also be right about things, while being irrational about reasons.
What we are when we gather politically is... not our best selves.
^btw: I don't know enough about the nyc-amazon affair to have an opinion. Also, not comparing anyone to Nazis.
At several meet ups recently the moderator wasn’t shy about warning Silicon Valley companies “I’d advise you to be clear about how you plan to make money and be profitable because if you don’t the audience here is just going to grill you on how you plan to make money and be profitable.”
That said, NYC is a good environment for established tech companies opening large satellite offices like Facebook, Google, etc.
You are looking at modern day Amazon and comparing its profitability to startups, when Amazon itself consistently lost money every year until around 2004.
Here to Stay:
Facebook, Twitter, Square, Netflix, Salesforce, Workday
Likely Strong Businesses:
Airbnb, Stripe, Slack, Palantir, Twilio, Trade Desk (profitable), Zendesk, Automattic, Squarespace, One Medical, Juul
Stitch Fix, Yelp, I'm sure there are others.
Cloudera, New Relic, Dropbox, 23andMe, Robinhood, Plaid, Opendoor, Instacart
We will see, but big private valuations:
Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, Coinbase, Instacart
Then for NYC I would have:
ZocDoc, Warby Parker, Classpass, and probably also Harry's, 1stdibbs, Lemonade, Compass, and Betterment. I'm sure I missed a few interesting ones, but I still think the current crop of SV companies established after 2004ish are on a different scale or tackling a bigger addressable market than the ones in NYC. Wallstreet is probably an even worse critic when a company is in its own back yard. I was at a Bloomberg event where the founder of Blue Apron was absolutely annihilated by the interviewer, and you could tell it was taking a toll on him mentally. Meanwhile, Evan Spiegel is in a similar situation and doesn't appear to have a care in the world out in LA.
The Californian "Try It" attitude is basically the equivalent of throwing shit against the wall while using other people's money. It works sometimes, but it's a terrible strategy that only works because VCs hit a unicorn that wipes out all the mistakes every so often.
The "only" part of that doesn't actually invalidate the fact that it works. What you said is: it's a terrible strategy that has worked extraordinarily well.
It's a great strategy that has been shown to work across five decades of tech upheavel, precisely because it does pay for itself over time and keeps generating returns for institutional money. That it works so well is why it has all kept getting bigger as the positive results roll forward. It also produced the greatest concentration of tech dominance and invention the world is likely to ever see in one place.
New York is an Alpha++ world city. When New York looks to compete with other cities, it competes with other Alpha++ and Alpha+ cities. New York doesn't even think about SV. It thinks about London, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, etc.
My Brooklyn apartment is about the same cost per sqft. I don’t have a yard but my access/commute to the metro core is much better.
In practice, finding tech jobs as a Brit has been horrendous. I've applied for countless roles, including roles at all FAANG companies, startups crying out for people with my experience, and established medium-sized companies hiring (and offering sponsorship of work permits)...and nothing. Either immediate rejection, or emails saying "actually, we don't sponsor visas".
I don't know if this is an America thing, but I've had other companies more than happy to fly me over in other parts of the US California and Washington). Given how mixed the culture is in NYC, with so many immigrants throughout the city, I have been very surprised that it's so hard to get a job there.
This is purely from my experiences, and maybe it's just that all these companies hate me for some reason, but IMO you can't be a tech town if you're not willing to bring talent in, at least in the same ways other worldwide tech hubs will.
An E-2 visa is kinda neat though--have you thought of taking matters into your own hands?
Like I said, the visas in play are, L1,O1,H1B
L1--a common option for large companies, that can accomodate having an employee first work in a European office, before moving them to a US based one. So perhaps you get hired, and you work in Zurich, or perhaps even Canada, for a year, before moving to the NY office. Also abused by large offshore consulting firms, who move employees between countries.
Obviously, not an option for most companies.
O1--are you well known in your field? Published? Won awards? Print articles about you? Then you have a good shot at an O1. Possibly, FAANG have the ability to hire those top ~5% people disproportionately...
H1B--for "specialty" occupations. You HAVE to apply through a lottery (and be sponsored, etc). The applications are ONLY accepted first few days of April, for work that begins October 1 (six months later). Last year, 190,098 people applied. There were 65,000 regular openings, and 20,000 openings for people with Masters degrees.
After you get selected in the lottery (if you're not chosen, your application is returned, UNOPENED) your application is reviewed. Google etc. has about a 100% acceptance rate during review, body shops do much worse (it's basically a disqualification process..applicant is not sufficiently skilled/experienced/educated, doesn't have a job waiting for them, etc.)
So the upshot--
Google wants you bad? They will work with their immigration lawyers (who are skilled, and do this routinely,) and Google may not care if it takes months or years to complete the process to bring you over to the US.
Small, or even midsize company company? A lot of overhead, and expense, and waiting, and it may not work out. Hence the lack of enthusiasm...
(Caveat--already here on a legal work visa? Then lots of smaller companies would be happy to take it over.)
To be honest, I've always viewed the H1B visa as the "default", since it's the visa type associated with FAANG type interviews. As far as O1 goes, I'd be interested in how many developers make it over on a O1 visa to see where the bar is for being "known" in your field.
The L1 visa sounds interesting, though! I've looked at a few jobs in the UK where companies have offices in different cities, but I often get the feeling that few of them want to hire someone in their office when they have an eye on their sister office. As suggested in the other reply, banking sounds like a good idea, but the downside is that...you're working for a large company on (I assume) boring corporate stuff.
I’ve never been in the Bay Area, but here you can make just above $100k and live comfortably with a <60 mins commute to work. I know that because that’s what I do.
You won’t be able to buy a house and having a kid without a spouse with a similar salary may be tough, but for a single person it lets you enjoy the city and actually be able to save money.
I don't doubt that someone can live in Manhattan on less than 30k per year -- my wife worked in nonprofit when we met and I saw lots of people she worked with managing to live in salaries that were half of what people on HN regularly decry as being effective poverty for the area. However, when you do a simple search for apartments for rent in Manhattan, studios are routinely around $2k/month.
I know! People should be satisfied with the opportunity to change the world (and make me rich) at my startup. Asking for more is kinda greedy. /s.
It is a finance town. It is a marketing town. It is a fashion town. It has so many things that dwarf it's tech industry.
It's not a tech town, and I honestly don't expect it to become one.
Although not the only one, NYC has some of the best universities, many top-tier companies, pools of talented people, and the best cultural amenities. There was no reason to kowtow to a behemoth to come here. NYC is big and innovative, and it will stay big and innovative for the foreseeable future. Tech was here before and will it be here after, without being dominated by a single company.
But what industry doesn't have outposts in NYC? Why would we expect tech to be any different? Where is the story here? Where is the news?
Everything genuinely important in this country ends up run from New York City eventually. People forget the Rockefellers made their money in Cleveland.
But that aside NYC has always had a serious tech community since the electric grid was invented in lower Manhattan, or the transistor in suburban New Jersey.
I wouldn't even consider New York to be the most important city in the history of the US, much less world civilization
But, I agree. Obviously NYC is an important city, but to say it is the most important city in the history of world civilization is a bit outlandish and US-centric.
Everyone else in the US knows to enthusiastically agree, quietly raise prices by 40%, and wait to roll their eyes until after the New Yorker's back is turned.
There are many aspects of this stupid topic, but for me personally I would rank Rome much higher when looking at the history. London too. And few other places. But this is highly subjective topic
When I was in NYC for an internship. I remember sitting in Central Park enjoying a warm humid breeze that smelled like being at a garbage dump. Blech.
We do? I mean, I live in Cleveland and grew up in Ohio, but this is surprising to me.
Uh huh. You and New York just keep telling yourselves that.
Google is not tech, it’s advertising. Amazon is a mail-order company. Uber is a taxi company. Stop calling “tech” technology. The revenue generated by those companies is not the technology itself.
A semiconductor fab, a satellite construction facility, a defense contractor; those are “tech”.
Besides, that's an extremely narrow view of what those giant companies do. Cloud? Hardware? AI? Car/drone autonomy? Natural science research, even?
If you define words however you want you can say whatever you want, but it doesn’t mean it’s worth saying.