Getting off the plane from New York City, back in San Francisco the other week, I felt a cold hard and fast end of summer. New York was more than warm, it is filled with more culture than Silicon Valley can point their mobile phone cameras at. Here, culture seems to revolve around facebook, tivo, and netflix. There, culture is a bar overflowing with music, style & conversation.
Going from coast to coast made me realize all the PRETEND culture here in Silicon Valley. We obsess over technology news. We build online profiles so we can network. We try to "manage" our RSS feeds so we can try to be on top of trends. Alas lets admit that this isn't actually culture, these are all solitary activities which don't require interacting directly with other human beings.
So I have to ask myself, is Silicon Valley the right place to practice user experience design? Shouldn't designers, move around and interact with real people to find out what real people need or want? How effective can enclaves of software developers actually be if everybody within the enclave can only focus on their (introverted) community, and not the long tail of the worlds cultural riches? How can we possible realize the next Picasso, Mozart, or Antonio Gaudi in geek central?