So, a New York based venture capitalist booster says that Stanford engineering students are "not tapped into the current tech scene", and ridicules that they know how to built robots.
Anyway, I found the quote interesting and kind of highlights that there is something of an irreconcilable major cultural mismatch between the scenes on each coast, which may have been an issue with Stanford pulling out. I thing west coast entrepreneurs often don't realize the extent to which east coast people don't think the same at all about tech and business. As the author pointed out, he didn't see much value in Stanford seeding their point of view regarding technology and entrepreneurship to the east, he thought the greater value was in Stanford learning their perspectives about fashion and high finance instead. Those are things he sees as more valuable than using star wars metaphors for designing robots, not seeing that there is utility in research and research can sometimes be made fun. Star Wars is not the only influence on the west coast, there is also the very major influence of Star Trek devices on Apple's entire current business model since we've been seeing iPads on west coast produced TV programs since the 1980s and Siri since the 1960s. New Yorkers, as is evidenced by the comments, see that stuff as a bunch of stupid childish geek stupidity which they have contempt and disdain for. Getting bailouts, buying jet airplanes, and having servants are what proper adults should be interested in. Hah, I guess you can tell which coast I favor, I'm biased as well.
MIT, not exactly a bastion of west coastism, also declined to bid for a campus in New York City. John Hennessy's Ph.D. is from SUNY for heaven's sake. I'm sure many people in California also enjoy "Seinfeld" and the New York Times without feeling like traitors, and nobody can doubt that NYC is sincere in wanting to emulate Silicon Valley's success in high tech.
In any event, a true east coaster from the right sort of family would know how to spell "champing at the bit."
Brooklyn born and bred. My writing on technology has appeared in the NY Times, Slate, Atlantic and Fast Company. Currently editor of this here BetaBeat.
Although as my first job was doing MIPS related stuff I may be biased about usefulness of the book. Amusingly the first featured 5-star review on Amazon is from John Mashey whom older readers may remember from comp.arch on Usenet.
But the thing that makes the SF area great for startups is the proximity (and thus density) of startups and tech in general. While long-distance networking has come a long way, it's still no replacement. If NYC's goal is to build a stronger tech community, I think they're better off building their own East Coast tech culture vs. trying to import a culture from SF.
Disclosure: as a Cornell grad, I'm definitely biased and psyched about it getting more involved in supporting a tech community (a $350M donation didn't hurt either)
(I have lived in New Hampshire all my life.)
I'm joking, but only kind of. I spent this summer working in both NYC and the Bay area and it was like a night and day difference. NYC is so much more hierarchical, image conscious and anxiously intense.
Wall Street check. Biking check. Wine/Food check. 9AM wrong, but 8:30 is close enough. Suit wrong. Alcoholism wrong. Chain smoking dead wrong.
I live in California and work with someone who recently moved here from Baltimore. He's kind of an older gen-X guy, and he likes to go to thrift stores, buy old suits for < $10 and wear them ironically, like with dress shoes but ankle-length white socks and the sleeves pushed up, and the front end of the tie shorter than the back end.
Every few months, a manager will pull him aside and say in a trying-to-be-friendly way, "You know, you really don't have to wear a suit around here." To which he'll respond, "Yeah, I know, it's just my thing, man." And then there manager will stare at him a little harder and say something along the lines of, "No, I mean you really don't have to wear a suit around here." Eventually the manager gives up and writes him off as an incorrigible free spirit.
TL;DR The West Coast is a place where you can wear whatever you want to work, as long as it's a Hawaiian shirt.
Anyway, I agree with you that the tech industry, especially in the west, rigorously enforces the presence of the absence of a dress code. Even PG said "Nerds don't just happen to dress informally. They do it too consistently. Consciously or not, they dress informally as a prophylactic measure against stupidity."
Bummer, cause I actually kind of like it when people dress with some style.
"Wow they take being laid back VERY SERIOUSLY."
Your anecdote is a perfect illustration of that!
In my experience there is a lot of focus in the northeast on where you come from, and what your background is. I've found out west (and I'm not even in the bay area) there's a lot more focus on where you want to go and what you can do.
And I think related to this, I've generally found people to be much more open and friendly. People are generally much more willing to let you into their social worlds than on the east coast.
Good call Stanford.
As a New Yorker myself, I'm not sure what I should think of it. Someone is going to make a campus, be it Cornell or NYU.
Surely there is a more interesting bone of contention here that didn't become evident until late in the process.
Columbia's always been a top-tier research institution - in fact, it has more Nobel laureates than any other university in the world. As far as computer science is concerned, let's not forget that a number of great achievements in tech & computer science (past and present) are the work of people who are or were in some way affiliated with Columbia. I can't find a comprehensive list at the moment - unfortunately the Columbia CS department website doesn't brag about itself enough for that - but it's not too hard to think of examples.
Columbia already has an engineering school (the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences). The school is known for the strength of its graduate and undergraduate programs - its selectivity rate for undergraduate admissions, for what it's worth, is lower than any other school in the country except MIT.
Is there room for improvement? Absolutely - I can think of a number of ways. But the tech scene in New York is young and looking to grow quickly. It makes more sense to me to take advantage of the tremendous resources already here and amp them up, rather than start from scratch.
Unfortunately, for reasons that are more political than they are logical, I'd be surprised if Columbia actually won this contest. But it would be a pleasant surprise, knowing that they made the right decision.