Sunday, February 10, 2008

Productivity and weather

Seattle start ups are attracting billions in part due to the weather, says Mr. Etzioni:

The start-up culture “is beginning to work now,” said Walter Smith, one of Jackson’s founders, who worked on Microsoft’s Vista operating system but left before it was introduced. “Seattle is like an adolescent version of Silicon Valley.”

Mr. Etzioni says Seattle has at least one advantage over its storied counterpart in California. “People aren’t distracted by too much sunshine,“ he said. “They sit in their offices or garages and get creative.”

On the other hand, Virginia Postrel argues that sunny weather goes lengths to explain Silicon Valley's success:

Silicon Valley's perfect weather means you don't need backup plans, just in case it rains. It means you don't resent spending a beautiful day inside at work, because tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will be just as gorgeous. It means you have more energy, sapped neither by sleep-inducing clouds nor enervating heat and humidity. It means fewer days dragging into the office with a brain dulled by allergies and winter colds. It means you have more life.
What weather is best for office work? Perhaps it varies. Maybe some thrive in rainier climates, while others--most, I'd guess--thrive in the temperate California sun. I know I prefer the warm, mild coast of California, but I know a lot of folks who need their seasons, and maybe some need a hundred days of rain a year to feel good and productive.