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Day 2 of the GeekWire Summit 2016 at the Seattle Sheraton, October 5, 2016. Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire
Intellectual Ventures CEO Nathan Myhrvold speaking at the 2016 GeekWire Summit. Photo by Dan DeLong for GeekWire

Seattle may be known as the birthplace of tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, but its global health and development work often flies under the radar.

Intellectual Ventures CEO Nathan Myhrvold gave a shout out to Seattle’s powerhouse global development community at the 2016 GeekWire Summit Wednesday, saying “Seattle is absolutely the Silicon Valley of saving the world.”

“There’s the Bill Gates foundation, there’s the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, there’s PATH,” he said. “We made a list and there’s like a dozen entities in Seattle that are doing fantastic work to help the developing world.”

Myhrvold said global development work often gets lost among the gadgets and other “transformational” technologies coming out of Seattle companies.

But, he said, “we didn’t actually need our lives transformed. It’s not life or death for us to get the next version of the iPhone…whereas for the 2 billion people living on $2 a day or less, if we could use technology to improve their lives, that could be life or death.”

Myhrvold also said Seattle’s work in global development, like other innovations that come out of the area, tends to go unrecognized because the city is quiet about its own successes.

“I think it’s not in the Seattle nature for us to be beating the drum and saying how fabulous it is,” he said. “We’re much better at things than tooting our own horn.”

Check out our liveblog of Myhrvold’s session for more of his insights.

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