One of my apprehensions in moving to New York from San Francisco was a common concern: why would I move from the ‘epicenter’ of the web to a place where it’s not? There’s been lots written about startup hub cities, and innovative web metro areas, but the fact of the matter is that New York hasn’t historically been a hotbed of web growth and innovation. Not compared to the Bay Area or Seattle, anyway.
I do, of course, think this is changing as of recently. The punch line is that I obviously did take the job, despite my misgivings about not being surrounded by people who are constantly thinking about my industry. One of the reasons I got over not being in the ‘epicenter’ is that Fred Wilson and Albert Wenger did an insanely good job at convincing me it was a good idea. Another reason is that I think Etsy is basically a Bay Area company that just happens to be in Brooklyn. I mean that as a compliment.
So while I always had some inkling of what ‘epicenter of the web’ means, I was never really sure how that could be measured. Indeed.com has indirectly measured it by the # of job listings. O’Reilly did something similar for the # of startup jobs in 2006.
Number of jobs is interesting, but I thought it might be fun to measure it by locations of headquarters as seen through the lens of monthly unique users. So, I took the Quantcast “Top 100″ sites, found the latitude and longitude of the headquarters of each site via Crunchbase’s API, as well as other bits around the web, and Aaron helped out with the excellent Modest Maps to make this:
Like I said, this doesn’t change my thoughts about the new job, or what I think ‘epicenter of the web’ means. But, still interesting, dontcha think?
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the raw data: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tLwD1C5mghn9U3XJj_yqyjw&output=html
If there’s anything wrong, lemme know.