Tech Startups: “Not All Sunshine and Rainbows”

Recently the tech community has been endlessly trading opinions about the best place to start a business, which city offers the best quality of life for a startup employee, and various other aspects of the environment that a startup is based. Regardless of whether you’re a tech startup based in Silicon Valley (aka San Francisco-San Jose), Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Boulder, Boston, NYC, etc., each area has seen its good and bad days, and each area has benefits and turn offs. The reason for this heated discussion is primarily because many people believe that Silicon Valley is losing its edge and startups elsewhere around the world no longer need the competitive advantage of being based in the San Francisco area.

Take a look at some of the popular articles by mainstream media and bloggers alike:

Financial Times (UK) – Can VCs replicate the valley in Europe?

New York Times – Boulder Colo., a Magnet for High-Tech Startups

CNN – The next Silicon Valley? It may be New York

AdGrok – New York will always be a tech backwater, I don’t care what Chris Dixon or Ron Conway or Paul Graham say

Direct negation of AdGrok post: New York is the greatest city in the world…I don’t care what Antonio Garcia-Martinez says

Perhaps all of the Silicon Valley wannabe’s should just follow the advice of Paul Graham, as he describes the best way to emulate a Silicon Valley tech hub is not to pick a sunny spot on the map, but rather to attract the right people. (“How to be Silicon Valley“)

Whichever city you choose to base your startup in,  it will not be the sole supporting factor for your startup’s success or failure. (That is unless you decide to start your skiing business in Florida.) No matter which tech hub you are in, there will always be hurdles and challenges to overcome. To Silicon Valley’s credit, they still remain the most powerful tech hub*, but they area is “Not All Sunshine and Rainbows”. For example, take a look back at the tech bubble that burst in 2000. Yes, it’s true for both sides, more companies have succeeded and failed in Silicon Valley than anywhere else. However, as Rocky demonstrates in one of the most motivating movie scenes of all time: “It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward.” So far, Silicon Valley has survived as the most powerful tech center in two major economic collapses, so it’s safe to say they are the winners for now.

*The dominance of tech center is determined by the amount of venture capital funding invested in companies located in each city every year.

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08 2010