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Thank you Tom Watson and Forbes for reviewing Venture Labor.
They called it “Silicon Alley,” a clumsy play on words meant to evoke an East Coast urban version of the California place where microchips made fortunes grow and digital devices work. It was a marketing play really, designed to lure public funding and convince established business to locate in New York. But the term was always flawed. For one, few of the small-time entrepreneurs and dreamers who created the tiny and fragile Internet scene in mid-1990s New York ever touched silicon or worked on a chip. And for another, where were the alleys? Ancient tilting walk-ups, former garment center sweatshop floors, crumbling converted townhouses, semi-abandoned finance towers, nooks and crannies of the abundant and under-used spaces that created a buyer’s market for offices – these were the mis en scene for the happy band of under-achieving writers, editors, photographers, designers, artists, tramps and thieves who formed the core of “Silicon Alley.” But these places fronted on streets and avenues, the grid of lower midtown and Chelsea and the Flatiron District, and the crazy Dutch patchwork of lower Manhattan.
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