Nearly every week there’s a new survey or study out showcasing how Seattle’s technology community ranks among the top in jobs, wages, venture capital or some other metric. Just today, in fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau ranked Washington state as having the third most number of employees working in businesses associated with Internet advertising. (Behind New York and California).
There’s certainly a lot of activity going on in the Pacific Northwest — one of the big reasons why we have no trouble keeping the editorial engines humming here at GeekWire.
Nonetheless, it is always good to pause for a moment to reflect on the community, taking the pulse of the region. Certainly, things could be better. (More risk capital, better educational systems, more IPOs, etc.).
But Seattle has a lot going for it at the moment, especially as big trends such as cloud computing, mobile and big data take hold. Those will be some of the topics Wednesday as the Washington Technology Industry Association convenes its big TechNW event in Seattle, featuring leading entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
In advance of the event, the WTIA partnered with PR firm Weber Shandwick to interview several entrepreneurs and investors in the region. (See the vignettes below). Team GeekWire will be covering TechNW in full force on Wednesday, so check back here for updates, including coverage of keynotes from Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Amazon Web Services senior vice president Andy Jassy. Meanwhile, here’s what a few of the tech leaders in the region had to say about Seattle.
Bryan Trussell, CEO and co-founder of Glympse, on starting a company in Seattle:
“If you are new to it, like I was, leverage off of the existing community up here. It is very accessible, it is very open. I was able to meet with a lot of people who had had successful startup companies, and learn a lot without having to make the mistakes myself.”
Tim Porter, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, on Silicon Valley giants establishing outposts in Seattle:
“I think people really recognize Seattle as having a lot of great technical talent, and that feeds upon itself, so more companies come here and bring more people in. And that’s a great thing for the ecosystem, from the very biggest companies to the very small.”
Adam Lieb, CEO of Duxter, on the Seattle startup community’s special sauce:
“The thing about Seattle that is unique is the mix between the culture of entrepreneurship — people want to be part of creating something new and also the dedication to see it through. It is not just about getting rich quick and ‘let me hop on a startup, so I can ride the gravy train.’ It is actually creating something.”
Jordan Weisman, founder of Harebrained Schemes, on Seattle’s culture of entrepreneurialism:
“A lot of people who are raised effectively in the entrepreneurial environment — people who came out of Microsoft; Amazon; Starbucks; — companies which were entrepreneurial startups and then educated people about the potential of startups and kind of made them see that that risk-taking quotient was in their blood. And that makes it a fertile ground to do things like this. People are willing to take those risks, and in a lot of rust belt cities, people aren’t used to that. The idea of leaving security for a risky startup is just not in the culture as much.”
Maria Zhang, CEO of Alike, on Seattle versus Silicon Valley:
“We could do better in terms of suppporting more and more entrepreneurship of people taking the leap of starting their own startups. And, I think that is as compared, to say, Silicon Valley that it is a little bit lacking and we have been seeing a lot of people who actually worked on Microsoft or Amazon for a few years and actually move to the Silicon Valley area to join a startup.”
Here’s a look back at the video snippets from those who participated in the interview series last year, including yours truly. Let us know what you think: Are things moving forward in Seattle’s technology community, stuck in neutral or going in the wrong direction?