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Innovation: We shld be New Yorkers

In Uncategorized on 04/04/2010 at 5:35 am

Interesting NYT article on how NY differentiates itself from Silicon Valley as a tech centre.

S’pore could learn from NY given that we want our economy to be like of NY and London: a global hub of finance, commodities trading, corporate HQ, media and culture. And a magnet for foreign talent. Silicon Valley doesn’t bother. It does what it feels like doing: it’s up to others to imitate it.

Note that these businesses are local, not MNCs. They provide services to big American cos and MNCs.

Helping to give New York an edge is a broader shift in the types of innovation that are gathering speed in the technology industry, says Dale Jorgenson, an economics professor at Harvard. The infrastructure for mobile communications and computing is now all in place, he says, so the next opportunities lie in developing new services using that technology.

“They will be behind the next boom in the industry,” he says.

Of course, services can be developed anywhere. But because so many industries now grappling with the Internet are based in New York, the city is finding surer footing among its peers as a thriving tech hub.

“Book publishing, advertising, media and even the fashion industry are all located in New York. These are the main industries that are being reshaped and redefined by technology and the Internet,” says AnnaLee Saxenian, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies regional economics and technology entrepreneurship.

To get a vivid snapshot of this new generation of Web innovation, one needs to look no further than the portfolio of Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures and a force within the New York start-up scene. Run through a list of Web darlings here — Boxee, software that pipes video from the Internet to a television; Tumblr, a microblogging platform; and Foursquare, a mobile social network — and Union Square is an investor.

“The software business has morphed into the Internet business,” Mr. Wilson says. “Ten years ago, maybe 80 percent of software was being built for enterprise. Now, it’s being written for consumers and is more media-centric than ever. And, historically, those have been New York’s strongest sectors.”

Champions for New York’s continued evolution as a hotbed for digital innovation say that the proximity to industries ripe for innovation helps draw companies in those fields.

Kevin Ryan, former chief executive of the ad company DoubleClick and founder of Gilt Groupe, a Web site that offers discounted luxury goods, knows the importance of having prospective customers in his backyard. “We need to be here because the people we’re hiring are coming from Saks and Dolce & Gabbana, and they are all in New York,” he said.

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