Will Digital Coast push Silicon Alley off the map?

The Silicon Alley Reporter's editor in chief has spoken: High-tech Los Angeles will overtake New York in no time.

Published July 9, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

When it comes to high-tech meccas, Los Angeles has always been a kind of also-ran. Sure, Southern California has Internet start-ups and technology bigwigs, but in the media's eyes it's just one big Hollywood beach party, while that valley up north is abuzz with the revolution.

Still, Richard Riordan, the mayor of Los Angeles, has long pushed for recognition of the local Net industry -- last year he even launched a campaign to name his region "the Digital Coast," complete with a logo and Web site. The L.A. mayor should be pleased to hear that Jason McCabe Calacanis -- the Silicon Alley spokesman and the vocal personality behind the growing Silicon Alley Reporter empire in New York -- is now doing Riordan's evangelizing for him.

On Thursday, Calacanis launched a new Web site and news service for denizens of the Digital Coast, aptly titled the Digital Coast Weekly. Spun off a print insert that Calacanis has been publishing for the last year, the Weekly will offer news, classifieds and other insider gossip for the techie locals.

Producing a long list of "hot" SoCal companies, like MP3.com, eToys, Stamps.com, Razorfish and others, Calacanis bluntly expressed his feelings about the region in the Weekly's first edition: "To be clear -- and this is no dig to Silicon Alley -- the Digital Coast will be as big, or bigger, than the Alley within the next 24 months. There is no doubt in my mind."

That's got to sting in the Alley, which itself has always struggled with the fact that Silicon Valley hogs the limelight. To have the Alley's biggest mouthpiece rank New York not just second but third place among the high-tech meccas has got to hurt.

Then again, Calacanis' words should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, he's trying to woo Digital Coast customers -- and we know those Hollywood egos enjoy being stroked. Chalk it up to marketing -- after all, we all know that geography is meaningless in the digital age, right?

By Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

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