Posted by: The New York Times
The executives at Snap, the parent company of the messaging app Snapchat, like to make a point of noting they do not run a Silicon Valley company.
But what exactly does that mean?
Let’s start with geography. Unlike nearly every other big social media service, Snapchat is not based in Silicon Valley or San Francisco. (To be clear, the city on the end of the peninsula is not part of Silicon Valley, despite lazy writing efforts that say otherwise.) Rather, Snapchat is in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Snapchat’s Southern California home means it’s a little closer to Hollywood. It also means it’s not as steeped in the Valley’s notion that the computer algorithm always knows what’s best.
As Farhad Manjoo writes, Snapchat has quietly changed how people perceive social networks. Its users aren’t as obsessed with going viral, amassing friends or putting on a show. Instead, they’re sharing real moments and, incredibly, adding a human element to editing and news curation.
As Farhad notes, adults are generally missing this shift because of Snapchat’s young audience. But they shouldn’t dismiss it.
With a public offering expected in the coming months, we’re learn more about how this company works and what its executives hope it can be in the coming years.
Amazon aside, not being in Silicon Valley — or San Francisco! — has rarely been a benefit to an American internet company. Remember CMGI, the internet conglomerate in Massachusetts? Of course, you don’t. Even the people who worked there probably don’t.
And don’t forget the attempt by Terry Semel, when he was the C.E.O. of Yahoo (that’s several Yahoo C.E.O.s ago), to inject a little Hollywood pizazz into the long, long troubled internet company by opening a major office in Santa Monica, Calif. The pizazz did not take hold.
The entire country will rejoice if another internet company can show that you don’t have to be in the Bay Area to become an industry giant with staying power.