Sometimes you have to get out of town to gain a perspective on the place you live. When you visit a tech scene in another country, it helps you see where you come from. In my case, the United States of America.
For sure, tech still emanates from the US. I don't see any other country or culture ready to lead us in any direction that isn't coming from the USA. If there is such a place (please read my whole post before saying so) I'd like to know where it is.
Is New York tech different from California tech? There might be some slight differences, but you could take a tech conference from California, plop it down in NYC, and not only would the same ideas be discussed, from the same perspective, but most of the people would be the same. The APIs are corporate APIs, the CMSes are silos, the business model is hamsters generating less money with each turn of the wheel.
I'm still looking for a home that wants to begin at at different place. That we accept competition, embrace it, as a way to keep us on our toes, and to keep the flow of ideas strong. To keep Moore's Law thriving not just in hardware, but in software, networking, humanity. Instead we've got a culture that divides us up into smaller and smaller tranches, and sells us to Wall Street, for our ability to read ads, not our ability to solve problems. My point of view is this -- I make tools for people who are really smart and motivated. I make the tools then I get out of the way and I learn from them, learn how to make those tools better, and learn which new ones need to be made. I get paid a fraction of the money my customers make using my tools. This incentivizes me to make more. My customers are Nobel Laureates. They cure diseases. Solve crises. Lead our culture. They are anything but hamsters.
New York and California tech interfere with that process. Their model is still hopelessly rooted in the 20th century industrial model, of media and entertainment. Elite inventors, stars, personalities with millions of followers and passive consumers clicking on Like buttons. Very little crossover (though there is some, like Kickstarter).
Evan Williams and Biz Stone get a lot of stock, but the users who were there at the beginning get bupkis. Zuckerberg and Moskovitz, Palmer and Savarin, they become billionaires, the users aren't even goldfish in a goldfish bowl.
These models, to me, are no-ops. I don't care if they happen, but I do care if they crowd out the forward motion, and they sure do that. So to me, New York is no different than Silicon Valley. Both are poison to the creative process. Eventually, I hope the market will stop valuing the hamsterism they encourage and start looking further afield, so we can start creating those tools for people to solve the problems we have such an abundance of.