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When discussing innovation in Boston compared to other regions, especially Silicon Valley, one of the rationalizations often stated is the comparative weather. The thought is that people are attracted to the nicer weather in Silicon Valley, leaving behind New England’s winters.

However, this belies the fact that comparative weather between Boston and Silicon Valley has not fundamentally change in decades. If anything, Boston’s winter weather has moderated in the past 20 years due to global warming and long term weather cycles. Up until ~20 years ago, the Boston area dominated the U.S. technology sector. It has only been within the past ~20 years that Silicon Valley’s technology sector has overtaken Boston.

Further, one could argue that Boston’s winter weather offers less distraction and is more conducive to work; conversely, Silicon Valley’s nice weather can actually present a distraction from work.

Thus, the weather seems like a convenient excuse, rather than a significant causal factor in the current differences between the regions. We need to look to factors other than weather in order to reinvigorate innovation in the Boston area.

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