re: Silicon Valley Needs To Get Out More
I think this is a very valid point - from what I've seen, people who work in higher end development / data analysis are, for the most part, trendy hipsters who think that with the power of the Internet, that they can work anywhere in the world and be wherever they are needed at a moment's notice.
Technology is great, and don't get me wrong, I love the fact that I can work on systems anywhere in the world as long as I've got connectivity - but it boils down to being able to not just connect with computer systems, but with people (to understand their problems) and existing processes (to understand their inherent problems). The solutions that we need, the ones that will drive the future, are the ones where all aspects are understood.
And while working out of a small office space in SoHo might make you trendy - being located there and trying to solve issues faced by a farm in Iowa or a mine in West Virginia won't give you the same ability to deliver a solution than if you were actually on-site.