When people like Richard Florida talk about today’s “superstar cities”, the usual suspects include London and New York for finance, the San Francisco Bay Area for tech, Milan for fashion and design, and so on.
And you can certainly find the data to back up these claims. For instance, if you look at venture capital dollars invested, many of these same cities reappear near the top: San Francisco, San Jose, New York, etc.
One city that doesn’t often appear on these sorts of lists, though, is Seattle.
However, clearly something special is taking place in the city. For the second year in a row, Seattle has been named the construction crane capital of America. No other American city comes close right now. (However, Toronto is still #1 in North America.)
At the same time, if you think about all of the companies that have come out of Seattle over the years, you start to realize that maybe VC dollars invested isn’t enough to tell the entire entrepreneurial story.
Venture capitalist Fred Wilson once said on his blog that if you look at dollars in and dollars out, Seattle outperforms – by a lot. And that’s very interesting to me. Is this simply the lasting legacy of Microsoft? Or are there other – transferable – lessons to be learned here?