Seattle Taps Its Inner Silicon Valley

Many communities dream of becoming the next Silicon Valley. But Seattle is actually doing it. The influx of entrepreneurs and of venture capitalists to bankroll them is slowly reshaping this city and a regional economy long buffeted by the booms and busts of the aerospace and timber industries. A start-up ecosystem needs social networks, support businesses and a business culture that views failure as a badge of honor, not shame. All of that is in place in Seattle.

Money is pouring in. During the last 12 years, venture capital investment here has more than tripled, to about $1 billion annually. Last year Washington tied with Texas as the third-largest destination for venture capital money nationwide, behind California and Massachusetts.

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Inspiration vs. Substance

Joe Klein writes in a Time article. Speaking of the Obama campaign, he says,

The man’s use of pronouns (never I), of inspirational language and of poetic meter — “WE are the CHANGE that we SEEK” — is unprecedented in recent memory. [sic] there was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism — “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” — of the Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign. “This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It’s different not because of me. It’s different because of you.” That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential.

Klein sums up the Obama campaign, “The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.” It is time for Obama to speak substantively.

Verizon Embraces Google’s Android

It is premature to remove Verizon from the list of anti-tech companies, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

In yet another sudden shift, Verizon Wireless plans to support Google’s (GOOG) new software platform for cell phones and other mobile devices. Verizon Wireless had been one of several large cellular carriers withholding support from the Android initiative Google launched in early November.But given the stunning U-turn Verizon Wireless made Nov. 27, announcing plans to allow a broader range of devices and services on its network, Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam says it now makes sense to get behind Android. “We’re planning on using Android,” McAdam tells BusinessWeek. “Android is an enabler of what we do.”

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