.and that is going to change, because it isn’t good to keep such things a secret!
You out there. Did you know that Chicago is a major technology hub. We just hide the technology in mundane things: finance, insurance, shipping, and other forms of commerce. Amazingly, a lot of this tech is profitable. Very profitable.
Trading firms are coming up with some incredible innovations in automated trading to notice when the market is moving a certain way and then take advantage of the few seconds where noticing is profitable and turn that observation into profit. Parallelization, grid computing, and more is happening in a wealth of areas. Unfortunately, broadcasting these discoveries and strategies is a losing proposition because many of these trading strategies only remain profitable while no one else has figured out the pattern. As soon as the pattern becomes common knowledge, the systems become too optimized to do anything good with the application and the developers have to find the next neat thing before their competition picks up on the fact. Due to the speed with which this cycle executes, the trading firms wind up staying quiet about the cool thing they figured out. That’s right, by the time the new algorithm or technique would be newsworthy, it’s a dead end.
Thankfully, that scene is broadening. Chicago has a lot of stellar talent that figures out all sorts of hard computer science problems. Warehousing systems and delivery companies constantly work on ways to find optimal solutions to the traveling salesman problem in p-algorithms type systems (instead of np) by finding heuristics that get good enough solutions.
Chicago is also home to Motorola’s cell phone division-a company that has brought out a number of innovative phones (though they have experienced a bit of a drought lately). Boeing is here-the company that makes air travel possible over much of the globe.
For you web geeks, talent abounds in the city. 37signals calls Chicago home. So does EveryBlock. By the way, if you use Google App Engine and Python, it’s likely you use Django which was co-authored by EveryBlock’s founder.
fastroot provides an awesome hosting experience. That job is made easy since the fattest Internet pipes in the US flow through Chicago. A lot of Internet research that happens between University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana (top 10 CS schools for the longest time!). Those high speed pipes flow through Chicago. Another reason if financial. Because of the markets in Chicago, data has to flow as fast as possible. Without solid infrastructure, the financial markets couldn’t work. If you are founding an Internet business, you want to host in Chicago to minimize transmission delays to the coasts.
There are plenty more examples, but I think you are getting the idea. If you aren’t moving to Chicago for your startup (lower rent, cost of living, and cost of labor than any other tech hub), you should be asking yourself why you haven’t looked into Chicago. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.