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How does Boston compare to SV and what do MIT and Stanford have to do with it? (danluu.com)
31 points by simonebrunozzi 7 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments





If anyone is interested in learning more about the history of the (very early) competition between Boston and the Bay Area, you can search for articles about the "Massachusetts Miracle" and "Route 128." It was a major tech hub, home to companies like Wang Labs, Lotus, DEC (of PDP and VAX fame), and Data General.

"Computer Changes Jolt Route 128" (1989) - https://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/11/business/computer-changes...

"A Tech Corridor's Life Cycle" (1998) - https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1998/03/25/a...

"The Valley of My Dreams: Why Silicon Valley Left Boston's Route 128 In The Dust" (2009) - https://techcrunch.com/2009/10/31/the-valley-of-my-dreams-wh...


From the tech crunch link:

> She noted that Silicon Valley had an amazing dynamism about it. There were extensive professional networks, job hopping was the norm, information was exchanged openly, and the culture encouraged risk taking. The Silicon Valley ecosystem supported entrepreneurial experimentation and collective learning. In other words, Silicon Valley was a very open network—a giant social networking site working in analog before the concept of such a thing even existed.

>This organizational mechanism was in sharp contrast to that of Route 128. Dominated by large, vertically integrated, and secretive minicomputer producers such as DEC, Wang, Prime, and Data General. Technology, skill, and know-how were trapped within the boundaries of the large corporations.

That was from the book Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 in 1994. Wonder what the author would say about SV now.


As someone who grew up in the 128, i was surprised visiting SV and realizing no one in tech out west has heard of it.

I think its really lucky boston was spared the extra glut of cost of living issues that SV has. Route 128 area was never cheap, but not SV levels.


Painting with a very broad brush here, but as somebody from neither location who lived in both for awhile, New England culture is..risk adverse is not the right word, I'd call them deeply traditionalist. New England feels like something out of the British aristocracy where you're expected to go off to school and become a respected professional like a doctor, lawyer or professor. This is perfectly exemplified by the example in the article where somebody turns down being an early employee at Netscape to go back to grad school. This is a great culture to build something like an IBM but terrible for starting an AirBnb.

Meanwhile Northern Californian culture just doesn't give a shit about all those titles, the surfers and the hippies all are in the same social circles as the professors and engineers, and value is placed on just doing interesting things for the sake of interesting things.


I thought mass enforced non competes far more than California did?

I would assume so, considering they are basically illegal in CA and legal in MA.



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