Wave of the future?
  • Wave of the future?

The big story in the local tech world this week comes courtesy of David Lepeska’s “Silicon Prairie Redux: Will Chicago’s Tech Boom Last?,” from this month’s issue of Chicago magazine. Lepeska uses 1871, a nonprofit space for nascent tech startups, as a flash point/omen (depending on your prediction) for the prospective future of the tech industry in Chicago. For a feature that’s under 3,000 words, the article does a good job of touching on many different ideas and debates revolving around the local tech scene.

What seems like the most salient point in the article has to do with something that Aaron M. Renn talked about in his controversial article “The Second-Rate City?” from the spring 2012 issue of City Journal: the tendency for talented recent college graduates to head for the coasts. In Lepeska’s piece, it’s referring to computer science graduates and engineers heading to either Silicon Valley or New York City. One reason cited is pay, but another, and it’s a gutsy move for Lepeska and Chicago to suggest it, is that programmers in Chicago are just not as talented as those on the coasts.

Another key point, which is more related than the piece lets on, is a “midwest mentality” among local startups: