Some lively discussions erupted on GeekWire this week as members of the tech community debated what it will take to make Seattle a thriving center of innovation and entrepreneurship. TeachStreet founder Dave Schappell sparked one, calling on angel investor Andy Sack, GeekWire and other members of the community to “raise the game.” It was a call to arms of sorts, and the community responded.
The entire discussion was fantastic, one of the reasons that Team GeekWire jumped into the thread with so much enthusiasm. Thanks again for the great discussions this week, and please keep them coming. In order to highlight commentary on the site, we’ve added a new sidebar module in the right rail to highlight the posts driving the most chatter.
So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite comments of the week.
Venture capitalist Bill Bryant provided some wonderful historical perspective to the debate over whether Seattle has what it takes to be a great tech community:
“The fact that we’re even having this vigorous discussion is evidence that, on balance, we’ve “arrived” as a startup community. We are talking about how to improve, how to expand, how to get bigger/better/faster — we’re focused on “hows” and not “whys” or “whats.”
This discussion couldn’t have occurred 10-12 years ago, and didn’t occur at all until ~ 2007 with the arrival of Seattle Tech Startups, Seattle 2.0 and later TechStars, Founders Institute, Founders Coop and others who were focused on seed stage projects. In the span of things, that isn’t all that long ago, and I’d expect that we’ll begin to see the fruits of these efforts in the coming year/two/three. Certainly the sheer number of startups (as documented on the Seattle 2.0 index) is an encouraging sign; for every 1000 flowers that bloom, perhaps one decides that it wants to grow up to be a big oak tree instead.”
Full story and discussion: “Rewind: Andy Sack on startups, TechStars and the promise of Seattle’s tech scene”
Brewster Stanislaw’s guest post pointing out the lack of a big consumer Internet success story in Seattle in recent years polarized the readership, with some thinking it wasn’t worthwhile to point out the obvious. I actually disagreed with reader David Aronchick’s main thesis, but his comment made me laugh harder than any other on the site this week.
“I’m not entirely sure of the point of this article. I read a great tweet the other day — “37signals is an example of people who got ridiculously wealthy, have no idea how, but think everyone should try being rich.” Great, you want Seattle to be the home of the next Facebook or Zynga. I’d like a unicorn that peed root beer and hundred dollar bills came flying out of its nose every time it sneezed. We’re both no closer to getting it.”
Full post and discussion: “Why Seattle needs to create the next Facebook or Zynga”
As any journalist knows, headline writing is a bit of an art. A good one can hook readers and foster discussion, something that certainly happened after we posted a doozie about the crappy Internet service and drug infested streets of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. Several readers pointed out that the quirky brick buildings are great for Internet startups, though maybe not when the “big one” hits. RobertInSeattle wrote:
“Perhaps it’s always been the funky flavor of Pioneer Square that appeals to so many startups. Maybe like a Haight-Ashbury for dot-coms? But I’d also have to agree that the old brick architecture will probably be a nightmare when the next big earthquake finally hits us – it’s not so much a question of ‘íf’ but more a matter of ‘when.’
I still recall making up a Top 10 List to appeal to one recruit we were trying to lure away from a Pioneer Square company in the late 90’s during that first boom. Number 1 was his favorite from my list: Over here in Downtown Bellevue, we don’t have entryways that smell like pee in the morning!”
Full story and discussion: “Seattle’s hottest tech neighborhood offers crappy Internet service, drug dealers”
Non compete agreements always seem to spark debate, and most readers agreed with “Smart Policy’s” take:
“This is BS. Let the guy work. Microsoft should stop litigating and start creating something, anything interesting and they wouldn’t have to worry so much. This is bad for WA too. Not enforcing non-competes is one reason California’s tech community is so vibrant and successful. The best people get to practice capitalism and go where they’re most wanted.”
Full story and discussion: “Judge to ex-Microsoft GM: You can’t take that job at Salesforce.com, either”
We were bummed, as were many GeekWire readers, after learning that Seattle was passed over for one of the retired space shuttles. “That sucks,” noted David Geller. Seattle developer and Museum of Flight board member Mike Koss felt politics played a part in the decision:
“It was surprising to see both the NY and CA awards – population density (and a large congressional delegation) seem to be the merits of those two locations; but lots of other minuses – like how they’re going to actually deliver the Shuttle there safely.”
Full story and discussion: “Getting to know our Space Shuttle consolation prize”
Thanks again to everyone for tuning in to GeekWire.