Perhaps best known for his definitive book about Facebook, David Kirkpatrick is one of tech’s smartest and best informed writers. He now runs a media startup called Techonomy, which — through a series of annual conferences in Detroit and Tucson — focuses on the impact of technological innovation on the broader economy.

So when I interviewed Kirkpatrick at one of my Futurecast salons at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, I asked him if Silicon Valley is less critical to the innovation economy than it used to be.

The good news for Silicon Valley, according to Kirkpatrick, is that what he calls the local “solar systems” of Google, Facebook and Apple remain extremely important. The less good news, at least for Silicon Valley, is that “it’s becoming really easy to do cool stuff.” So, Kirkpatrick says, innovation is widely distributed right now. And, echoing Chris Shroeder, he identifies Lebanese capital Beirut as a place that is doing particularly cool stuff.