Last we checked Brussels was at about 65 on our scale.
Amsterdam is 95.
There is no real significant economic or cultural differences between these two cities. So why is Amsterdam a heavy tweet field and Brussels is kind of a tweet backward?
Well clearly the major difference between these two cities is how they embrace change and youth culture. Amsterdam has become a global capitol for youth culture and gay culture. Between the old buildings and canals has evolved a ecosystem of hash bars, gay clubs, sex shops and cheap fast eats. Brussels is more of an old fashioned place full of beer halls and fancy restaurants. Thought the food in Brussels is far better the most fun thing is a statue of a little boy taking a piss. Its a funny statue but not going to get a 23 year old kid from California of Japan very excited.
We believe that the entire difference in the uptake in blogging can be accounted for in this youth culture and fun culture difference. Essentially innovation culture is Liberal free culture. The current generation of gadget junkies has grown directly out of the flower generation.
Innovation centers of Web 3.0 will require a set of conditions to attract the innovative young digital natives who will drive the Internet to full maturity. These centers will need to be fun, need to be not to bothered about drug enforcement, need to be multicultural and gay friendly. We not only see this in Amsterdam vs Brussels but also San Fransisco and Boston vs. Tuscan or Cleveland.
If you want to attract the new generation of Web 3.0 start ups to your city probably the best strategy would be:
- De-criminalize marijuana
- Legalize gay marriage
- Allow immigration to produce innovative food area
- Open skate board courts
- Plant lots of trees and start lots of bike paths.
This illustrates the extreme divide between the new Web based companies that are attracted to more Liberal areas with more public services, and more traditional industries that are more interested in low taxes, low regulation, and lots of parking.
This is not just a matter of life style and age. Though the Internet demands a young innovative population less interest in tax break than gay rights and lose drug laws, the Internet industry also makes other demands upon the commons that only a strong public sector can provide:
- Strong educational system to provide skilled workers that is expensive,
- Internet work is stressful and hard, and people in it require pleasant public environment to make life more livable,
- Skills that make a good developer are rare, and therefore prejudices of race, sexual orientation of religion are a bad idea.
Many people have pointed to the United State's major position in IT as a validation of the US model of free markets and little regulation. But this forgets that the major IT centers in the US are not in the South but in the most regulated and taxed parts of the US, places like California, Boston, New York and Seattle not Arizona or South Carolina.
We believe that it is the American counter culture of individualism and creativity over traditionalism and established methods that account for most of the nations advantage in innovation and software. That IT industries consistently avoid "business friendly" places.