Seattle vs. Silicon Valley sillyness

Seattle from near Amazon's headquarters

Ahh, there’s a big debate about which is better, Seattle or Silicon Valley.

There are things to like about both (I’ve lived in both places).

But for me there’s no option: I couldn’t do what I do anywhere else in the world than here (the range and diversity of tech companies is a lot greater here than in Seattle).

Luckily Seattle is only a couple of hours away from here so I can get the best of both worlds.

One thing you shouldn’t miss is the amount of building that Microsoft is doing. Microsoft’s campus is absolutely huge now and getting much bigger. Nothing like it in Silicon Valley. Oh, and the Boeing factory tour is a not to be missed thing. It’s amazing how they build airplanes there.

96 thoughts on “Seattle vs. Silicon Valley sillyness

  1. I have to disagree that the weather in Seattle sucks. It depends on what you call good weather. It’s refreshing here, cool most of the year, a lot less pollution (you can actually see the mountains and the coast all year round), I don’t have to slather on sunscreen in a panic every time I step outdoors and the traffic although bad is still not even close to what it is in L.A. As soon as you get out of Seattle proper, it’s very manageable. By the way, it’s foreigners who are driving the prices of homes up here as well as Californians. Californians aren’t the only ones moving here, there’s a vast array of nationalities coming here too. Anyway, I love it here and plan to stay. I’m addicted to the lush green scenery, beautiful mountains and valleys and the gorgeous Puget Sound. I feel much closer to nature and that’s how I like it.

  2. I have to disagree that the weather in Seattle sucks. It depends on what you call good weather. It’s refreshing here, cool most of the year, a lot less pollution (you can actually see the mountains and the coast all year round), I don’t have to slather on sunscreen in a panic every time I step outdoors and the traffic although bad is still not even close to what it is in L.A. As soon as you get out of Seattle proper, it’s very manageable. By the way, it’s foreigners who are driving the prices of homes up here as well as Californians. Californians aren’t the only ones moving here, there’s a vast array of nationalities coming here too. Anyway, I love it here and plan to stay. I’m addicted to the lush green scenery, beautiful mountains and valleys and the gorgeous Puget Sound. I feel much closer to nature and that’s how I like it.

  3. “In SV, I have to get up really early to run before the unbearable heat sets in.”

    “We wonder how Californians get anything done — do you wait until sundown for the heat to subside”

    Uh, SV is not in Arizona. Seattle gets hotter than San Francisco ever does. As for the hotter parts of SV like San Jose, it still doesn’t get very hot there.

    And by the way I can tell you as a Washington native that Seattle *is* really dark for most of the year. You have to like that kind of thing to like Seattle.

  4. “In SV, I have to get up really early to run before the unbearable heat sets in.”

    “We wonder how Californians get anything done — do you wait until sundown for the heat to subside”

    Uh, SV is not in Arizona. Seattle gets hotter than San Francisco ever does. As for the hotter parts of SV like San Jose, it still doesn’t get very hot there.

    And by the way I can tell you as a Washington native that Seattle *is* really dark for most of the year. You have to like that kind of thing to like Seattle.

  5. I would choose Seattle anyday over Silicon Valley….seattle is much more urban and managable. As far as the weather goes, what does it matter when you are inside working anyway, I find it much easier to concentrate, looking up and seeing a cloudy day than pining away, wishing you could go outside when its beautiful. What are you some big baby? Seattle is very expensive but pales in cost to San Jose.

  6. I would choose Seattle anyday over Silicon Valley….seattle is much more urban and managable. As far as the weather goes, what does it matter when you are inside working anyway, I find it much easier to concentrate, looking up and seeing a cloudy day than pining away, wishing you could go outside when its beautiful. What are you some big baby? Seattle is very expensive but pales in cost to San Jose.

  7. Well I am a Seattle native and worked at Microsoft as a contractor for 4 years. I had enough of it as well tried to relocate to SV and no IT folks were willing to pay me what I am worth and relocation plan. I even had Homestead.com give me a job offer of 12 bucks and hour in SV and I took that as a insult. So I am now with it company here and pays me more then Microsoft ever would and I am quite happy about that and staying here. So difference between SV and Seattle is the New York Stock Exchange office is located downtown SF. This is why there are more startups then Seattle will ever have. Seattle needs a New york Stock Exchange office here and this will create huge boom in funding for startups and jobs just like SV. Then we are competing with SV and it is all game fair and square.

  8. Well I am a Seattle native and worked at Microsoft as a contractor for 4 years. I had enough of it as well tried to relocate to SV and no IT folks were willing to pay me what I am worth and relocation plan. I even had Homestead.com give me a job offer of 12 bucks and hour in SV and I took that as a insult. So I am now with it company here and pays me more then Microsoft ever would and I am quite happy about that and staying here. So difference between SV and Seattle is the New York Stock Exchange office is located downtown SF. This is why there are more startups then Seattle will ever have. Seattle needs a New york Stock Exchange office here and this will create huge boom in funding for startups and jobs just like SV. Then we are competing with SV and it is all game fair and square.

  9. I wonder if 3 months of Seattle causes one’s body chemistry to literally adjust, too.

    (I mean besides all the drugs we’re apparently doing.)

  10. I wonder if 3 months of Seattle causes one’s body chemistry to literally adjust, too.

    (I mean besides all the drugs we’re apparently doing.)

  11. I found the sun to be virtually unbearable everywhere in California I’ve been…

    Don’t move to Florida then, as California is really mild, but it all just takes some getting used to, 3-4 months of intense heat, body chemistry literally adjusts. How do you spot tourists in California? They sweat, well that, and the 70s Griswaldy Midwesternry duds. I went through hell the first months of Palm Beach and somewhat for Del Mar, but then you butterfly into a new creature.

    Portland is slower paced, but not all that is ‘stoner’, it’s just the Melloncampish Midwestern flow, not the zam-fast big city pace, where everything is always a deadline, and everyone is on the California high-strung nerve wires. That said, sure alotta neo-hippie stoners, less than Seattle, but more spread out. In Seattle they all pack and hover, in Portland they filter out more, so even though less in overall, you come in contact more. So I understand the perception…

  12. I found the sun to be virtually unbearable everywhere in California I’ve been…

    Don’t move to Florida then, as California is really mild, but it all just takes some getting used to, 3-4 months of intense heat, body chemistry literally adjusts. How do you spot tourists in California? They sweat, well that, and the 70s Griswaldy Midwesternry duds. I went through hell the first months of Palm Beach and somewhat for Del Mar, but then you butterfly into a new creature.

    Portland is slower paced, but not all that is ‘stoner’, it’s just the Melloncampish Midwestern flow, not the zam-fast big city pace, where everything is always a deadline, and everyone is on the California high-strung nerve wires. That said, sure alotta neo-hippie stoners, less than Seattle, but more spread out. In Seattle they all pack and hover, in Portland they filter out more, so even though less in overall, you come in contact more. So I understand the perception…

  13. @41: I know that California is huge and has varied weather, but (a) somebody already claimed that Portland and Seattle had similar climate (ha!), so I figured we weren’t being very picky about such things, and (b) I found the sun to be virtually unbearable everywhere in California I’ve been, from San Diego to San Francisco. I’m not claiming CA has one climate, but the “lots of sun” thing seems pretty ubiquitous. More common in CA than “rain in Seattle”, at least!

    This post written from Seattle, where it’s clear and sunny, same as yesterday. :-)

  14. @41: I know that California is huge and has varied weather, but (a) somebody already claimed that Portland and Seattle had similar climate (ha!), so I figured we weren’t being very picky about such things, and (b) I found the sun to be virtually unbearable everywhere in California I’ve been, from San Diego to San Francisco. I’m not claiming CA has one climate, but the “lots of sun” thing seems pretty ubiquitous. More common in CA than “rain in Seattle”, at least!

    This post written from Seattle, where it’s clear and sunny, same as yesterday. :-)

  15. Well, I live in Germany. I’ve been in both cities. I think every place is better than here….. Not because of weather or sights. People and their ideas count.

  16. Well, I live in Germany. I’ve been in both cities. I think every place is better than here….. Not because of weather or sights. People and their ideas count.

  17. One noticeable feature of Portland: everyone appears to be a stoner; they probably are, given the city’s attitude towards drugs. Even by the relaxed standards of a Seattleite, they get nothing done, go very slowly, and aren’t really paying attention. This can be either charming (for short periods of time) or infuriating.

    There’s not much tech industry in Portland. No reason you couldn’t start a company there, but you’d have a harder time drawing in employees. Say what I will about MS’s “quality software”, it puts a constant stream of housebroken baby programmers out into the Seattle market, ready to be used as junior programmers in real companies.

  18. One noticeable feature of Portland: everyone appears to be a stoner; they probably are, given the city’s attitude towards drugs. Even by the relaxed standards of a Seattleite, they get nothing done, go very slowly, and aren’t really paying attention. This can be either charming (for short periods of time) or infuriating.

    There’s not much tech industry in Portland. No reason you couldn’t start a company there, but you’d have a harder time drawing in employees. Say what I will about MS’s “quality software”, it puts a constant stream of housebroken baby programmers out into the Seattle market, ready to be used as junior programmers in real companies.

  19. Portland is more Miami-feeling, youthful, vibe energy, moral yet seedy (historically at least, bootlegger city de jour), cultural, artsy, yet still all Midwesternish small-townish.

    Seattle is to Denver, as Portland is to Estes Park. Seattle is LA, as Portland is to Sacramento. Seattle is Chicago, as Portland is to Peoria.

    And oh, POWELLS, sorta Portland’s version of Arizona Bookman’s.

    @ken — And Californians? 4 kinds at least, Southern, Mid Northern, Extreme North and the Eastern Mountie’s. San Diego, Sac, Bakersfield and Redding are all but worlds apart, and San Fran is quite unto itself. So making a grand weather statement about “California”, is hazy at best.

    Politically, Portlanders are in the Stone Ages, though not quite Berkley or Boulder-level craziness, still pockets of common sense here and there.

  20. Portland is more Miami-feeling, youthful, vibe energy, moral yet seedy (historically at least, bootlegger city de jour), cultural, artsy, yet still all Midwesternish small-townish.

    Seattle is to Denver, as Portland is to Estes Park. Seattle is LA, as Portland is to Sacramento. Seattle is Chicago, as Portland is to Peoria.

    And oh, POWELLS, sorta Portland’s version of Arizona Bookman’s.

    @ken — And Californians? 4 kinds at least, Southern, Mid Northern, Extreme North and the Eastern Mountie’s. San Diego, Sac, Bakersfield and Redding are all but worlds apart, and San Fran is quite unto itself. So making a grand weather statement about “California”, is hazy at best.

    Politically, Portlanders are in the Stone Ages, though not quite Berkley or Boulder-level craziness, still pockets of common sense here and there.

  21. 36: (a) Not significantly; I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I’ve never even heard of anybody having termite trouble. (b) Uh, same as in the sun. Both houses and construction equipment tend to be waterproof, as long as you put the roof up before the carpeting. (c) Depending on who you ask, it was either dead before Kurt Cobain, or is still alive today.

    Rain is just a fact of life here, like sun in California, or humidity in the south. (We wonder how Californians get anything done — do you wait until sundown for the heat to subside? Experience says no, they just kind of ignore it, somehow.)

    How do you spot an out-of-towner in Seattle? They’re the one carrying an umbrella.

  22. 36: (a) Not significantly; I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I’ve never even heard of anybody having termite trouble. (b) Uh, same as in the sun. Both houses and construction equipment tend to be waterproof, as long as you put the roof up before the carpeting. (c) Depending on who you ask, it was either dead before Kurt Cobain, or is still alive today.

    Rain is just a fact of life here, like sun in California, or humidity in the south. (We wonder how Californians get anything done — do you wait until sundown for the heat to subside? Experience says no, they just kind of ignore it, somehow.)

    How do you spot an out-of-towner in Seattle? They’re the one carrying an umbrella.

  23. Most of the places I’ve seen were only for a day or two.

    What is the real difference between Portland and Seattle. I know they pretty much have similar weather/climate, but what are the differences that people that have lived or visited both have noticed.

    For some reason, Portland is attractive to me. I cannot fathom why. I could never talk politics there since I’m a conservative.

  24. Most of the places I’ve seen were only for a day or two.

    What is the real difference between Portland and Seattle. I know they pretty much have similar weather/climate, but what are the differences that people that have lived or visited both have noticed.

    For some reason, Portland is attractive to me. I cannot fathom why. I could never talk politics there since I’m a conservative.

  25. Yes. Yes. No.

    Grunge is not a fad there, it’s a feature. Lots of termites, mainly Dampwood, not quite the Southern Formosan, but only matter of time, plus the Moisture and Carpenter Ants, and the Busprestid, Lyctid and Deathwatch beetles, which can be just as bad. And oh, you do EVERYTHING in the rain there, get used to it.

  26. Yes. Yes. No.

    Grunge is not a fad there, it’s a feature. Lots of termites, mainly Dampwood, not quite the Southern Formosan, but only matter of time, plus the Moisture and Carpenter Ants, and the Busprestid, Lyctid and Deathwatch beetles, which can be just as bad. And oh, you do EVERYTHING in the rain there, get used to it.

  27. Since we’re on this topic abot Seattle, I have a few questions for people that actually live there, or have lived there for any length of time.

    Are there termites there?

    How is construction of homes done in the rain?

    Is grunge gone yet?

  28. Since we’re on this topic abot Seattle, I have a few questions for people that actually live there, or have lived there for any length of time.

    Are there termites there?

    How is construction of homes done in the rain?

    Is grunge gone yet?

  29. @ Karim,

    I survived almost ten rounds of layoffs before I left UUNET. It’s still owned by MCI now, and yes, it’s proper nomenclature is AS701.

    UUNET is still alive and well, if not in name. Some of the original guys are still there, but I cannot fathom why. Perhaps nostalgia, perhaps not.

    Karim, I’ve lived in big cities in the US, in the EU, and in Asia. I’m educated, have an appreciateion for art and good coffee, and yes, even the occaisional yuppie sandwich with nothing but organic constituent parts, but… small towns are for me. Unlike small town people who have no comparison to big city life and the benefits thereof (or lack depending on your POV), I’ve had both and made an informed decision that benefits me greatly. Let’s not even mention the fact that houses in small towns are still affordable. Taxes are almost nonexistent in comparison.

    You would be surprised at how many “smart” people there are in small towns. I’ve met former rocket scientists, professors, teachers, partical physics scientists, pilots, and everyday people. These people, too, abandoned the big city for small towns.

    I don’t and cannot tolerate traffic congestion. I did it for almost 15 years in the DC area, and I swore I would never endure it again. Here a traffic jam is a big rig making a wide right turn with a grandmother driving 5 miles an hour immediately behind him. I like it that way.

    I have a fast connection, a cell phone, a car and house. My neighbors are quiet. There are no parties, shootings, traffic jams. What more could I want? If I want to go to a museum, I’ll drive to the city, which, BTW is like 180 miles from me. My town is 15,000 people, actually a little too big for my liking. I’d prefer it to be about half its size. We have the obligatory Super Wal-Mart, strip malls, and the usual suspects in fast food. We have a movie theater that shows the latest stuff. We have cute local girls who aren’t pretentious and hung up on high fashion. We have tailgate parties at the lake in the summer. People still skinny dip here. Your neighbors will actually stop and help you when you break down on the side of the road.

    There are benefits to both big city and small town, but in the final analysis, I prefer my sanity and the quiet.

  30. @ Karim,

    I survived almost ten rounds of layoffs before I left UUNET. It’s still owned by MCI now, and yes, it’s proper nomenclature is AS701.

    UUNET is still alive and well, if not in name. Some of the original guys are still there, but I cannot fathom why. Perhaps nostalgia, perhaps not.

    Karim, I’ve lived in big cities in the US, in the EU, and in Asia. I’m educated, have an appreciateion for art and good coffee, and yes, even the occaisional yuppie sandwich with nothing but organic constituent parts, but… small towns are for me. Unlike small town people who have no comparison to big city life and the benefits thereof (or lack depending on your POV), I’ve had both and made an informed decision that benefits me greatly. Let’s not even mention the fact that houses in small towns are still affordable. Taxes are almost nonexistent in comparison.

    You would be surprised at how many “smart” people there are in small towns. I’ve met former rocket scientists, professors, teachers, partical physics scientists, pilots, and everyday people. These people, too, abandoned the big city for small towns.

    I don’t and cannot tolerate traffic congestion. I did it for almost 15 years in the DC area, and I swore I would never endure it again. Here a traffic jam is a big rig making a wide right turn with a grandmother driving 5 miles an hour immediately behind him. I like it that way.

    I have a fast connection, a cell phone, a car and house. My neighbors are quiet. There are no parties, shootings, traffic jams. What more could I want? If I want to go to a museum, I’ll drive to the city, which, BTW is like 180 miles from me. My town is 15,000 people, actually a little too big for my liking. I’d prefer it to be about half its size. We have the obligatory Super Wal-Mart, strip malls, and the usual suspects in fast food. We have a movie theater that shows the latest stuff. We have cute local girls who aren’t pretentious and hung up on high fashion. We have tailgate parties at the lake in the summer. People still skinny dip here. Your neighbors will actually stop and help you when you break down on the side of the road.

    There are benefits to both big city and small town, but in the final analysis, I prefer my sanity and the quiet.

  31. Consider doing the NUMMI (Toyota) tour in fremont instead.

    The one thing hard to beat is the 360 degree flight simulator in the flight museum

    Amit

  32. Consider doing the NUMMI (Toyota) tour in fremont instead.

    The one thing hard to beat is the 360 degree flight simulator in the flight museum

    Amit

  33. I came from FL to Seattle – no regrets here at all…Winter sucks – but I’ll spare a few months for a 14 Peek staring at me, lakes, no mosquito’s, and too much to do outside I get overwhelmed.

  34. I came from FL to Seattle – no regrets here at all…Winter sucks – but I’ll spare a few months for a 14 Peek staring at me, lakes, no mosquito’s, and too much to do outside I get overwhelmed.

  35. Meh. I don’t get what’s supposed to be bad about Seattle’s weather.

    In Seattle, I can go running any day of the year. In SV, I have to get up really early to run before the unbearable heat sets in. When I was in upstate New York, well, we had lake-effect snow. Seattle’s weather is actually *reasonable*!

    I guess SV is great if you sit indoors in an air-conditioned office all day, but really, Seattle is much more practical if you ever go outside.

    (BTW, “only a couple of hours away from” Seattle sounds like Redmond when the 520 is jammed, which is to say, most of the time.)

  36. Meh. I don’t get what’s supposed to be bad about Seattle’s weather.

    In Seattle, I can go running any day of the year. In SV, I have to get up really early to run before the unbearable heat sets in. When I was in upstate New York, well, we had lake-effect snow. Seattle’s weather is actually *reasonable*!

    I guess SV is great if you sit indoors in an air-conditioned office all day, but really, Seattle is much more practical if you ever go outside.

    (BTW, “only a couple of hours away from” Seattle sounds like Redmond when the 520 is jammed, which is to say, most of the time.)

  37. @Wreck: It’s a little more spread out than the Dulles Toll Road and Northern Virginia — Microsoft has offices in DC proper. Google just opened up shop in DC too. There’s a bunch more stuff in the Maryland suburbs up the wonderfully-named “I-270 Technology Corridor.”

    “UUnet” has gone through so many changes I don’t even know if it should be called “UUnet” anymore. I’d settle for AS701. What was it, UUnet –> MFS, MFS –> WorldCom, WorldCom –> MCI WorldCom, MCI WorldCom –> MCI, MCI –> Sprint? And somewhere in there they sold a whole lotta stuff to Cable & Wireless before going bankrupt, and I don’t even know what happened to C&W.

    those. were. the. days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…

    You’re right about the government — though in a lot of cases it helps to have a security clearance…

    Northern Virginia isn’t really a liberal hotbed; it just LOOKS that way compared to the rest of the state. Did you know the Racial Integrity Act was not repealed in Virginia until 1975? Apparently there was some Civil Rights thing in the 1960s that Virginia kind of missed. So being up in Northern Virginia and, you know, tolerant attitudes about certain things made you a liberal, if not a damn Yankee. ;-)

  38. @Wreck: It’s a little more spread out than the Dulles Toll Road and Northern Virginia — Microsoft has offices in DC proper. Google just opened up shop in DC too. There’s a bunch more stuff in the Maryland suburbs up the wonderfully-named “I-270 Technology Corridor.”

    “UUnet” has gone through so many changes I don’t even know if it should be called “UUnet” anymore. I’d settle for AS701. What was it, UUnet –> MFS, MFS –> WorldCom, WorldCom –> MCI WorldCom, MCI WorldCom –> MCI, MCI –> Sprint? And somewhere in there they sold a whole lotta stuff to Cable & Wireless before going bankrupt, and I don’t even know what happened to C&W.

    those. were. the. days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…

    You’re right about the government — though in a lot of cases it helps to have a security clearance…

    Northern Virginia isn’t really a liberal hotbed; it just LOOKS that way compared to the rest of the state. Did you know the Racial Integrity Act was not repealed in Virginia until 1975? Apparently there was some Civil Rights thing in the 1960s that Virginia kind of missed. So being up in Northern Virginia and, you know, tolerant attitudes about certain things made you a liberal, if not a damn Yankee. ;-)

  39. Again and again, this conversation goes like this:

    Seattle: “Seattle’s pretty nice. You don’t have to work all the time, you know.”
    SV: “MUST WORK! YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH VC! I NEED MORE FUNDING! FOR MY COCAINE/TWITTER HABIT!”
    Seattle: “Dude, relax. Try to live a little, enjoy things before you die of a heart attack at 45.”
    SV: “SEATTLE’S WEATHER SUCKS! AND YOU DON’T WORK HARD ENOUGH!”
    Seattle: “We like our weather, and we don’t want to end up like you.”

    And really, we do like our weather. There is beauty in rain and storms. If you want sunshine, stay out of our city. Californians behave badly, and aren’t really wanted here, and our weather driving them away is a giant bonus. If we could make it rain 12 months of the year instead of 9, it’d be perfect.

    Californians just can’t get it. There is more to life than work. Saying Seattle isn’t as good for working all the time completely misses the point. I’m sorry for you, but that’s going to kill you.

  40. Again and again, this conversation goes like this:

    Seattle: “Seattle’s pretty nice. You don’t have to work all the time, you know.”
    SV: “MUST WORK! YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH VC! I NEED MORE FUNDING! FOR MY COCAINE/TWITTER HABIT!”
    Seattle: “Dude, relax. Try to live a little, enjoy things before you die of a heart attack at 45.”
    SV: “SEATTLE’S WEATHER SUCKS! AND YOU DON’T WORK HARD ENOUGH!”
    Seattle: “We like our weather, and we don’t want to end up like you.”

    And really, we do like our weather. There is beauty in rain and storms. If you want sunshine, stay out of our city. Californians behave badly, and aren’t really wanted here, and our weather driving them away is a giant bonus. If we could make it rain 12 months of the year instead of 9, it’d be perfect.

    Californians just can’t get it. There is more to life than work. Saying Seattle isn’t as good for working all the time completely misses the point. I’m sorry for you, but that’s going to kill you.

  41. @25,

    Actually, the Dulles Technical Corridor in Northern Virginia is considered to be the Silicon Valley of the East. Every major player has a satellite office there, AOL is based there, Oracle has a MAJOR precense there because of DC’s proximity, Microsoft as well. Anyone else that counts is also there. SAIC, iDefense, UUNET, MCI, Sprint/Nextel, Juniper, Cisco, many dozens of others. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived as a techie where you can find a job within a couple of days no sweat. The drawback… houses start at like $600,000. Even a townhouse starts at minimum of about half a million. Not to mention state tax, county tax, city tax, luxury tax on cars/boats, and the insane beltway traffic that is suicidal on a daily basis. I lived about 20 minutes from DC. Takes over an hour sometimes. Toll road hell and toll road high prices. HOV lanes (a stupid idea). Ever see someone with a manequin in the HOV lanes? I have. It’s hilarious. Even seen a blow-up doll. The cops aren’t fooled and the tickets are much higher. It’s also a liberal hotbed. Almost as bad as Portland.

    80% of the world’s IP traffic flows through UUNET’s network there on a daily basis, since UUNET is basically the East Coast backbone.

    There are more tech jobs in Northern Virginia than there are in Boston and NYC combined. Let’s also not forget the federal government. The feds pump many dozens of billions into the local economy every year. This is one major reason that NOVA doesn’t have tech recessions like most other parts of the country. It’s also another reason why there is not a lot of outsourcing from NOVA. Most stuff is done locally by locals. I worked there for almost 15 years before moving west.

  42. @25,

    Actually, the Dulles Technical Corridor in Northern Virginia is considered to be the Silicon Valley of the East. Every major player has a satellite office there, AOL is based there, Oracle has a MAJOR precense there because of DC’s proximity, Microsoft as well. Anyone else that counts is also there. SAIC, iDefense, UUNET, MCI, Sprint/Nextel, Juniper, Cisco, many dozens of others. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived as a techie where you can find a job within a couple of days no sweat. The drawback… houses start at like $600,000. Even a townhouse starts at minimum of about half a million. Not to mention state tax, county tax, city tax, luxury tax on cars/boats, and the insane beltway traffic that is suicidal on a daily basis. I lived about 20 minutes from DC. Takes over an hour sometimes. Toll road hell and toll road high prices. HOV lanes (a stupid idea). Ever see someone with a manequin in the HOV lanes? I have. It’s hilarious. Even seen a blow-up doll. The cops aren’t fooled and the tickets are much higher. It’s also a liberal hotbed. Almost as bad as Portland.

    80% of the world’s IP traffic flows through UUNET’s network there on a daily basis, since UUNET is basically the East Coast backbone.

    There are more tech jobs in Northern Virginia than there are in Boston and NYC combined. Let’s also not forget the federal government. The feds pump many dozens of billions into the local economy every year. This is one major reason that NOVA doesn’t have tech recessions like most other parts of the country. It’s also another reason why there is not a lot of outsourcing from NOVA. Most stuff is done locally by locals. I worked there for almost 15 years before moving west.

  43. I would rather live in a small town and make far less than live in a big, built up soul-destroying area and have a fat wallet.

    What kind of flimsy soul did you get issued if it’s “destroyed” merely by a high population density of other souls?

    Fact is, Big City Life doesn’t destroy your soul so much remove (abrade, ablate, rip off) the delicate, sensitive outer layer your soul was born with. Eventually, you find yourself liking black coffee, lulled to sleep by street traffic, feeling a certain perverse camaradarie with everyone else stuck in traffic with you on your rush hour commute EXCEPT FOR THAT JERK WHO JUST CUT ME OFF, IT’S CALLED A ‘TURN SIGNAL,’ A–HOLE, IT’S ON THE LEFT SIDE OF YOUR F–KING STEERING WHEEL.

    But I digress.

    Eventually you take for granted your ability to see European art films, or walk to 27 different coffee houses, or satisfy a craving for really good ethnic food at 3 AM.

    Then — perhaps by accident — you visit the country and you find yourself apalled that they haven’t even heard of Alain Resnais, you have to get in the pickup and drive somewhere to get a cappucino, and that the local idea of “ethnic food” is a Chinese place that closed two hours ago.

    At the local sandwich shop, a simple request for organic field greens and shallots with prosciutto on whole-grain, gluten-free, Fair Trade bread is greeted with blank stares.

    Friendly stares, but yes, quite horribly blank.

    Those who leave this world as they entered it, with their shiny, tender, and yet VESTIGAL outer layers of soul intact are perhaps less interesting in the Next World. Just as water smooths stone, so does adversity build character. City Life does not “destroy” one’s soul so much as give it rather interesting and unique qualities, like aged and distressed leather, which is more valuable than raw cowhide.

    Observe also that one finds cowhide in the country, and valuable aged leather in the city.

    That said, not everyone is cut out for City Life. There’s a song about New York that goes, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” with the tacit assumption that, well, you, not everyone DOES make it there. Which is possibly why God invented Cleveland.

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