Though the piece glows and glows, it does have its dark spots, such as this one:
“It’s like Detroit used to be for car companies,” [said Mr. Hilf, the vice president of cloud product management at HP.] “The galactic players are here, and they are creating lots of little companies. The only thing driving anyone away from here is the weather.”So one day in the near future, some city that is being celebrated as the center of a new technology will look right back at us, at our ugly ruins (that's what you get with ugly architecture), and say: "It's like Seattle used to be for cloud computing." To remix the words of T.S. Eliot: Our end is already here in our beginning.
The piece also does the usually thing of comparing us to Silicon Valley and stressing how Seattle still fails to attract venture capitalists. But if this and other writers who follow the tech industry read Mariana Mazzucato's important book Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, they would understand there's more noise than substance in this business of worshiping venture capitalist. VCs do not have the kind of cash that can sustain long and really risky research. Their kind of money is mostly good for helping a company with developed products make the leap to IPO. And if all goes well, shares are soon sold and the enriched venture capitalists believe they have had an adventure in capitalism. The deep pockets are not found with this lot but with the state. Indeed, near the end of the NYT article:
Another factor is the growing presence of the University of Washington’s computer science department, now considered a leader in distributed computing. “There’s an argument that Seattle owns the cloud now,” said Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates chair in Computer Science and Engineering at the university. “Universities are always part of the axis” in building out a regional tech center, he said.Do not get caught up in the name of that chair. It is the surface of something much deeper.