San Francisco and New York call truce, will co-host tech summit
Laying aside years of bad blood that has at times threatened to spill into open warfare, the mayors of San Francisco and New York City agreed Friday afternoon to a digital detente that will include co-hosting a technology summit this year.
Known humbly as the Bloomberg Technology Summit, the conference will bring together tech leaders, politicians and other assorted Internet types (cats?) to discuss how the cities can grow their tech economies while also tapping those same ideas to solve the host of social, economic and cultural problems plaguing both metropolises.
The epic announcement marks the first step toward what observers hope will lead to a lasting peace between these two hostile rivals.
Over the years, San Francisco and New York City have feuded over a wide variety of critical issues. Who has the better bagels? Is the Brooklyn or Golden Gate the better bridge? And don’t even get us started on that NFC Championship game a couple of years ago where the 49ers totally would have beaten the Giants if it weren’t for a couple of botched punt returns.
But tech has increasingly become the focus of hostility.
Over the last decade, San Francisco has become the start-up capital of the world, with companies that attract more venture capital than those in any other city.
That apparently has rankled New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has vowed to challenge San Francisco’s leadership, declaring his intention to make his own city No. 1 in tech. At one point he even came within a whisker of persuading Silicon Valley crown jewel Stanford University to open a branch in enemy territory.
So you can imagine the tension was thick as Bloomberg and San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee arrived Friday at the San Francisco headquarters of payment start-up Square.
The peace between these two rival leaders appeared to have been brokered at least in part by their host for the day, Jack Dorsey, who managed to squeeze in the announcement and tour between his duties as Twitter and Square co-founder, his prolific Vine video making and plotting a future run for Bloomberg’s job.
Lee apparently lost the rock-paper-scissors to Bloomberg, and thus the first of two sessions will be held in New York on Sept. 30. Figures, right?
The second will be held in San Francisco in “early” 2014.
During the news conference, Lee and Bloomberg had to dig deep to find complimentary things to say about each other’s cities.
“You have something which I have enjoyed not having, which is snow,” Lee told Bloomberg, tempting fate.
“If there was another city that I could think about living in, and I’m not thinking about it, but if I were, it would be San Francisco,” Bloomberg said quasi-diplomatically.
Bloomberg then proceeded to set expectations just about as low as humanly possible for the conference’s goal of finding ways to improve government.
“We’ve had 230 years of government dysfunction in America, and it’s turned out OK so far,” he said.