Andrew Chen, who worked at Bellevue based Revenue Science has a great post about the differences between Silicon Valley and Seattle, most of which are fairly obvious. He notes that Seattle and the Valley have the similar groups of nerds:
"...except here, they wear Google shirts and not Microsoft fleece jackets."
I also found this interesting:
"Another interesting factor has been the sheer number of 20-something entrepreneurs running around, many of them with venture funded companies. Let's face it - in Seattle, smart people from Stanford and MIT only go there for one reason: Microsoft. So by the time they go in, buy a condo in Kirkland, do some skiing, and go from Program Manager to Group Program Manager, they're pretty old! And definitely more risk-averse. The kids here come from Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, and numerous other schools around here, and start companies from an early age. Young folks here are treated as equals here, and taken very seriously, whereas in Seattle I constantly got advice to "get more years under my belt.""
I have trouble finding many entrepreneurs in my age bracket here in Seattle, and constantly hear about young guys in the Valley doing their thing. It seems very tempting for most college grads in this area to take the easy route and go work for MS. In fact, a large majority of local entrepreneurs have!
Take almost any local company, and they have some relation to Microsoft. Zillow/Expedia were Microsoft veterans. Valve Software, makers of Half Life, were Microsoft guys. Even recent startups such as BlueDot were funded by Microsoft guys.
Having no clear juggernaut (although Google is rapidly approaching this status), the Valley seems to breed an open system of entrepreneurship.
Thanks to John Cook who posted about this first!