So there was this article titled “Silicon Isthmus (San Jose. San Francisco. Seattle. Madison?)” in our local newspaper the Isthmus. The introduction follows:
When most folks think about computer software and where it’s developed, Madison isn’t the first city that springs to mind. More than likely, cities like San Francisco or Seattle, home of software Goliath Microsoft, top the list.
Think Again. The West Coast may have the ocean and the weather, but when it comes to the software development scene, Madison is in a league with the big players.
According to the Greater Madison Area Directory of High Tech Companies, an annual guide published jointly by the city of Madison and Madison Gas & Electric, there are dozens of local companies churning out cutting-edge software in fields as diverse as biogenetics, entertainment and business solutions.
Of course it’s hard to have a successful software company without the person who has the ideas, the technological know-how, or both. Madison’s a chip off the silicon block in this department too. More than half of the aforementioned software concerns began as shoestring operations, the sweat of an inspired entrepreneur’s brow.
Many of the entrepreneurs were born in Wisconsin, and most of them set up shop here for the same reasons other people do: a relatively low cost of living, more than a modicum of cultural and political goings on and a stable business climate.
The interesting thing is that article is from 1996 profiling my company Sonic Foundry, game software company Raven and a few others. It goes on to talk about things like the difficulties of hiring tech talent in Madison, I’d bet that many Madison techies would assume it was written today instead of 18 years ago.
The more the things change, the more they remain the same.