The October 21st story in The New York Times — “Tech Wealth and Ideas Are Heading Into News” — includes Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos among “Silicon Valley and its various power brokers.”
News flash: Amazon.com is not located in Silicon Valley.
Nor is the company that pioneered PC software (Microsoft).
Nor the company that invented desktop publishing (Aldus, now part of Adobe).
Nor the company that pioneered streaming media (RealNetworks).
Nor the companies that drove the revolution in electronic retailing in areas such as travel (Expedia), real estate (Zillow, Redfin), imagery (Getty Images, Corbis), personal care items (Drugstore.com), baby/mom goods (Zulily), etc.
Nor many key gaming industry players (Bungie, Valve, etc., not to mention Nintendo of America, Sony Online Entertainment, Microsoft Studios (and of course Xbox)).
Nor Tableau Software, a thriving Stanford startup whose CEO Christian Chabot recently remarked at a GeekWire event that “moving the company from Silicon Valley to Seattle [when it was only 3 people] turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. We are really grateful to be in the Seattle technology ecosystem, and we hope to be there for many years to come.”
Nor, we should add – hoping to forestall a future article – are many of the nation’s most distinctive and admired traditional retailers, such as Nordstrom, REI, Costco, and of course Starbucks – companies with which Amazon shares its relentless focus on customers, quality, and culture.
Then, of course, there are the biomedical innovations such as ultrasound imaging, automated external defibrillators, bone marrow transplantation, renal dialysis, Embrel and Rituxan, Medic One – even your Sonicare toothbrush.
And organizations that launched global health initiatives 30 years ago, such as PATH and Seattle BioMed. These didn’t come from Silicon Valley. The Gates Foundation, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence also are not in Silicon Valley, it turns out.
And where would we be without Macklemore and Pearl Jam?
Get a map, guys!
Ed Lazowska is the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, which for those who don’t know is located in Seattle.