Touchy residents of the beleaguered Boston technology community are up in arms over remarks by entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, who heretofore has been known mainly for splitting his time across gigs at a handful of prestigious universities and for writing provocative headlines on TechCrunch.
Mr. Wadhwa’s crime? Trash-talking Boston’s tech scene in a lecture at the MIT Entrepreneurs’ Club.
Master of linkbait meets prickly East Coast city with longstanding inferiority complex? Blogfight!
As it stands now, neither side is looking good. It’s hard to say which is worse: Mr. Wadhwa’s snooty tweets or the whining from residents of a city whose tech scene has been declining since the invention of internet.
Boston Globe columnist and entrepreneur Scott Kirsner led the anti-Wadhwa charge. “Can we agree that BOS-based Akamai, A123 & AVEO are worth more than the co you founded & were fired from?” he quipped to Mr. Wadhwa on Twitter. (Akamai! Founded in 1998! A123, founded in 2001! AVEO Pharmaceuticals, founded in 2002! Boston!)
Even Elliot Cohen, the program manager at the club that hosted Mr. Wadhwa, was appalled. “I savor moments like these because they provide a unique opportunity to educate a person such as yourself in all of the wonderful ways in which you are wrong,” he wrote in an open letter on the MIT Entrepreneurship blog.
Luckily, Mr. Wadhwa has been through these trenches. “Have fought this battle about Boston before. A few people here are mired in the past and don’t see the writing on the wall,” he tweeted.
And: “I believe in saying what is right. Let the ignorant get pissed.”
Also: “Can’t believe all the defensive tweets from Boston. Reality: Silicon Valley left it in the dust. Sorry for the wakeup call.”
A touch of reality, from the man who photoshopped a baby Twitter bird onto his shoulder.
Vivek, we have one request: Do us next! Does Silicon Alley stand up to Silicon Valley? How do you find the weather? The parties? The business plans? Do you like Mike? What do you and the bird that whispers tweets like “Silly: educated people demanding ‘data’ which shows that Silicon Valley leads Boston. Let’s discuss real issues and fix real problems” into your ear really think about New York’s tech scene? Dozens of readers are dying to know. You can even write about it for The Observer. Tweet us.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries