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Seattle is “Minor League” Innovation Town, So We Shouldn’t Be So Smug, Tech Leaders Say

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Xconomy reports on the OVP Venture Partners Technology Summit.

“Seattle can be a very politically correct place, and one very un-PC thing to say is that we’re a second-rate burg when it comes to spawning innovative industries of the future.  But Ed Lazowska, one of Seattle’s gutsiest public intellectuals, let it rip yesterday in front of a small gathering of about 100 technology elites at the Four Seasons Hotel.

“‘We’re very smug and self-satisfied,’ said Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington … ‘We think of ourselves in the innovation big leagues, but we are, in fact, in the minors compared to the real big leagues of the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston’ …

“This was easy to say in front of an audience of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who travel a lot, and know all these points to be true.  One of the things that baffles me about Seattle – after having lived in Boston and San Francisco – is that so few public officials here would ever dare utter such an obvious truth about how far Seattle lags behind the world-leading clusters for biotech and high tech.  If they can’t do that, there’s no way they can engage in serious discussion with the general public about systemic ways this region can improve.”

Read the full Xconomy article here.

May 12, 2009