Finance and clean technology--alternative energy, energy efficiency, the smart grid, etc.--are two vital industries centered on opposite sides of the country. Finance is New York, suits, and golf. Cleantech is San Francisco, khakis, and bicycling.
The cultural differences between the two industries can also be seen in the attitude they have toward government intervention in, and assistance to, their markets. I spent the first part of this week hanging out in New York, talking to the glum-faced denizens of Wall Street, observing the anniversary of the Lehman Bros.debacle, and gauging reaction to President Obama's speech. And I spent Wednesday at the Always On: Going Green Conference in greater San Francisco, a gathering of venture capitalists, start-up companies, and large corporations at a Sausalito, Calif., resort. In one place, the big shots were surly, somewhat clueless, and resentful of the government hand that's feeding them. In the other, the big shots were friendly, clued-in, and generally pleased with the way things are going in Washington. Can you guess which is which?