East Coast startups tend to have a stronger business focus, while those on the West Coast are more rooted in the product, Ohanian said. In Silicon Valley, the prevailing attitude is “pass the bong and here’s my checkbook,” he said to much laughter. But he said the west’s more devil-may-care attitude got a necessary wake-up call. “If the recession taught us anything it’s—shocker—business models do matter,” and it’s here that New York and Boston tend to be stronger since they’re more conscious of what failure means.
Beyond the East-versus-West talk, the panelists—joining Ohanian were Lee Hower of Nextview Ventures, Pill Pesctello of Peacock Equity Fund and Comcast Interactive Capital, and Andrew Moss of BuyWithMe.com—offered advice that works on both coasts. Don’t get too enamored with meeting CEOs as you start off on a venture, for example, and instead focus on building a team and a product.
“Create something and the networking will take care of itself,” Ohanian said.
Thanks to all of you who came up for this and to our hosts, Mass High Tech (the first mainstream media publication to write up reddit), for putting on a fun panel. I'm sorry I had to leave shortly after the panel, but I needed to catch a BoltBus back to NY for a poorly-planned flight to LA at 7am from JFK.
I'm also definitely going to keep making marijuana references if it keeps getting me written up.