Kudos to Mr Wadhwa for addressing the intangible points of NYC’s Applied Sciences initiative that were absent in the Mayor’s announcement earlier last week. [Mayor Bloomberg, this is how New York can beat Silicon Valley] As Mr Wadhwa correctly pointed out, it’s not just creating a great university that will create this new innovation center and this new Silicon Valley. There are other factors involved. Boston possesses great universities such as Harvard and MIT but they haven’t become the entrepreneurial center. In order to create Silicon Valley 2.0, there must be the capital investment on one hand and the existing element of a risk tolerant culture on the other. Om Malik supported the same argument earlier this year. One without the other = handicap.
Queens, perhaps NYC’s forgotten borough yet home to over 2.2MM people, possesses the inherent personalities needed for the future success of the initiative. Known as one of the most diverse city in the country with ethnic Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Dominicans, and Jamaicans enclaves scattered across the County and a 23% Asian Population, Queens is culturally unique to become the future site. Furthermore, over 75% of the Asians over the age of 25 completed college and of that subgroup, another 50% continued on to obtaining at least a Bachelors – a statistical indicator of the “nerdiness” referred to by Paul Graham in his 2006′s essay on creating a Silicon Valley. Alongside the greater than average Asian population, Queens also has a higher population of Blacks and Hispanics that showed lower education levels according to 2010 US Census data. To Mr Wadhwa’s point about educating the underprivileged, this creates an opportunity for all the ethnic pockets to learn from each other culturally and intellectually. Also to Mr Wadhwa’s point, Queens contains the immigrant entrepreneurs cited in the article, it posseses the communities and space to develop this colloborative risk-tolerant culture, and it is competing with Finance for cultural influence, thought, space, and, ultimatley, talent.
The case for Queens – Silicon Valley 2.0 grows. Consider Queens.