For vacation last week, my wife and I decided to travel about as far from our home inside the Capital Beltway as possible without leaving the Lower 48. So off to California we went. While visiting Silicon Valley, a friend told me something unexpected about my home back east: The seeds of a tech start-up culture have begun taking root along the Potomac.
To my surprise this morning, The Washington Post had a story on the trend.
Technology firms in industries as varied as e-commerce, education, health care, cybersecurity and energy have made their home in the nation’s capital and its surrounding suburbs.
The result is a burgeoning technology hub that some consider the region’s new economy, particularly in the District, where hundreds of young entrepreneurs have formed a creative class of technologists with business ideas and the zeal to execute them.
What does it say about America when Mr. Dot Com goes to Washington? The answer depends on your position in a debate as old as the federal city. While George Washington and architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant hoped the backwoods city would one day become a commercial hub, Thomas Jefferson hoped it would remain, well, a backwoods.
In the early decades, Jefferson's vision dominated the landscape as L'Enfant's famed street grid went unfilled. But anyone who has visited in recent years knows that the growing power of the federal government has not only lined the streets with departments, law firms and lobbying shops but also enriched the surrounding counties.
Reading about the growing number of consumer tech start-ups in in the nation's capital, perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is this one: Will the tech sector change the culture of Washington or will the culture of Washington change the tech sector?