Nick Denton continues to bash the San Francisco bay area, now discerning a brain drain going on in the form of an exodus of notable bloggers:
So Dave Winer, a Silicon Valley institution, is moving to the East Coast. Winer, an influential independent developer, as influential as he is crotchety, is taking up a fellowship at Harvard Law School.
Dave Winer’s originally from New York, and has been spending more time on the East Coast while his father has been ill. But he’s part of a general movement of web people. The Bay Area just isn’t as much of a draw, either intellectually or financially, as it was.
Meg Hourihan and Jason Kottke moved over to New York in December. Ben and Mena Trott are thinking about it. Paul Bausch and Jack Saturn moved to Oregon. Dan Gillmor is writing his new book from New York. Cory Doctorow yearns for Toronto.
(Emphasis added.) Now, if you read up on Nick you’ll learn that he made his transition from journalist to entrepreneur in London, then moved to the Silicon Valley during the bubble, and eventually relocated to New York.
Like Dave, I am myself originally from New York but moved to San Francisco about seventeen years ago without any speculative venture drawing me here (besides the general exploration of life and alternatives to the New York City megalopolis where I spent the first 21 years of my life).
If the Bay Area is no longer drawing web people, that’s probably all to the good. The web should free people from having to overload a single metropolitan area to get productive work done. I’m not sure why the web should draw people to New York either, for that matter. I’ve retained many ties to New York and would happily live there again if the circumstances were ripe for it, but I’ve never noticed a lack of intellectual stimulation here in the San Francisco area. I suppose that’s more a matter of who you know and who you spend your time with.
So is there really a “general movement of web people” out of Bay Area? I know when the bubble burst a lot of the people who moved here purely to work for startups had to leave or no longer had any reason to stay. Who wants to stick around a place where you went to make money and instead lost it?
Those of us who came for the climate, architecture, social history, and cultural tradition of openness and experimentation may not feel as compelled to quit the scene. Meanwhile, if I need a dose of intellectual stimulation from Manhattan, there’s always Capital Influx and The Gawker.