When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want you to show you where it might do the opposite.
May Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: The surprising thing is how different these messages can be. New York tells you, above all: There are other messages too, of course.
You should be hipper.
You should be better looking. But the clearest message is that you should be richer. What I like about Boston or rather Cambridge is that the message there is: When you ask what message a city sends, you sometimes get surprising answers.
As much as they respect brains in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: Power matters in New York too of course, but New York is pretty impressed by a billion dollars even if you merely inherited it. In Silicon Valley no one would care except a few real estate agents.
What matters in Silicon Valley is how much effect you have on the world. The reason people there care about Larry and Sergey is not their wealth but the fact that they control Google, which affects practically everyone.
Empirically, the answer seems to be: Where you live should make at most a couple percent difference. But if you look at the historical evidence, it seems to matter more than that.
Most people who did great things were clumped together in a few places where that sort of thing was done at the time. You can see how powerful cities are from something I wrote about earlier: What happened to him? But when I finally tried living there a couple years ago, it turned out not to be.
The message Berkeley sends is: Life in Berkeley is very civilized. Cambridge with good weather, it turns out, is not Cambridge.
The people you find in Cambridge are not there by accident. You have to make sacrifices to live there. So the kind of people you find in Cambridge are the kind of people who want to live where the smartest people are, even if that means living in an expensive, grubby place with bad weather.
As of this writing, Cambridge seems to be the intellectual capital of the world. I realize that seems a preposterous claim. American universities currently seem to be the best, judging from the flow of ambitious students.
And what US city has a stronger claim?
A fair number of smart people, but diluted by a much larger number of neanderthals in suits. For a long time cities were the only large collections of people, so you could use the two ideas interchangeably.Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful.
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May Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.
The EngineerGirl website is designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering represents for girls and women. The new spotlight on these companies doesn’t come out of nowhere. They sit, substantively, at the heart of the biggest and most pressing issues facing the United States, and often stand on the less popular side of those: automation and inequality, trust in public life, privacy and security.
August When I went to work for Yahoo after they bought our startup in , it felt like the center of the world. It was supposed to be the next big thing.