How to compete with Silicon Valley

I just saw this excellent rant on what makes Silicon Valley special: its people.

I disagree with several of its other claims. First of all, that it's just a parking lot. That's true if you look at it from one angle. But, it has several Fry's. And TONS of infrastructure that makes it easy for geeks to get going.

Also, getting geeks to move away from concentrations of other geeks is INCREDIBLY hard. I'd love to move to Montana, for instance, but there's no way I would do that. I'd be bored there in a few weeks. The TechRanch there is fun, but sorry, when I'm down in Silicon Valley there are just so many people to talk to and so many interesting companies doing interesting things.

That said, there are several places in the world I keep hearing about: China and India. Look for the next Silicon Valley to appear there. Why? For exactly the reasons Paul gave: people.

I just added Paul to my reading list. Good stuff.

69 thoughts on “How to compete with Silicon Valley

  1. Umm, Silycon Valley for geeks and dot.com fraud twizzleheads, Copper Valley for cmmercial fishers, LA for screenwriters and actors, NYC for theatre mavens. Napa area for Wine Lovers. Arkansas for rusted-cars lawn decorational types. Bloomington, IL and Omaha, Neb. for insurance Execs. Peoria for Caterpillar Tractors, Detriot for the auto industry. Philly and Boston for Historians. Utah for Ski’ers. Chicago for Mercantile and Convention industry types. Palm Beach for Beach and Luxury Lovers.

    Why is this such a surprise?

  2. Umm, Silycon Valley for geeks and dot.com fraud twizzleheads, Copper Valley for cmmercial fishers, LA for screenwriters and actors, NYC for theatre mavens. Napa area for Wine Lovers. Arkansas for rusted-cars lawn decorational types. Bloomington, IL and Omaha, Neb. for insurance Execs. Peoria for Caterpillar Tractors, Detriot for the auto industry. Philly and Boston for Historians. Utah for Ski’ers. Chicago for Mercantile and Convention industry types. Palm Beach for Beach and Luxury Lovers.

    Why is this such a surprise?

  3. @30. More than a million working for one company? Really? You’re obviously missing the point. Silcon Valley is not the Zion of geekdom like you believe it is. The Mormon’s made the same mistake about Salt Lake City. :-)

  4. @30. More than a million working for one company? Really? You’re obviously missing the point. Silcon Valley is not the Zion of geekdom like you believe it is. The Mormon’s made the same mistake about Salt Lake City. :-)

  5. dmad: even with Microsoft’s success here in Seattle it’s nowhere even close to Silicon Valley’s diversity and overall success. We have 20,000 workers here. Silicon Valley has more than a million.

  6. dmad: even with Microsoft’s success here in Seattle it’s nowhere even close to Silicon Valley’s diversity and overall success. We have 20,000 workers here. Silicon Valley has more than a million.

  7. Hmmm. Microsoft seemed to be pretty successful before ever setting foot in SV. How many cottage industries did MS cause to spring up in and around Seattle? Oh, I dunno.. Amazon for one. How many VC’s that sprung up in the Seattle area as a result of MS?

    Then we have Austin, RTE 128 in Boston…. Many areas in the UK, France, India, Japan…

    John is right, Scoble. You REALLY REALLY need to take the blinders off and get out more.

  8. Hmmm. Microsoft seemed to be pretty successful before ever setting foot in SV. How many cottage industries did MS cause to spring up in and around Seattle? Oh, I dunno.. Amazon for one. How many VC’s that sprung up in the Seattle area as a result of MS?

    Then we have Austin, RTE 128 in Boston…. Many areas in the UK, France, India, Japan…

    John is right, Scoble. You REALLY REALLY need to take the blinders off and get out more.

  9. The article was very interesting. I also agree with him on many points. I live in NorthWest Indiana and the only type of geeks around here are 40-something network admins still trying to get their MSCE or LAN party geeks (which are fun if they can stop talking about CounterStrike for a while). I used to work in Chicago for Sapient during the dotcom boom days and there was a lot of innovation and new ideas in the city. The River North area had lots of web design and development shops that were pretty cool. I haven’t worked in the city since 2001 so I don’t really know how it is now. I also lived and worked in Seattle and Bellevue (even Redmond at MS for 2 months) and could definitely feel the geek vibe. It is all about the people and location just like the article says.

    The cool thing though is if you don’t have other geeks around you to talk to you can always scour the Web for people with same interests. Also, and I don’t recommend this to everywhere, but you can rename your SSID for your wireless network at your house with something like “Looking for fellow geek – 555-5555″ because you know the other geeks out there are scanning for wifi networks in your neighborhood! I actually did this and someone called me. That was almost a year ago and we still chat on a regular basis.

    I also agree with you Rob about India and China. There are some amazing people there. I know from calling Microsoft tech support! :)

  10. The article was very interesting. I also agree with him on many points. I live in NorthWest Indiana and the only type of geeks around here are 40-something network admins still trying to get their MSCE or LAN party geeks (which are fun if they can stop talking about CounterStrike for a while). I used to work in Chicago for Sapient during the dotcom boom days and there was a lot of innovation and new ideas in the city. The River North area had lots of web design and development shops that were pretty cool. I haven’t worked in the city since 2001 so I don’t really know how it is now. I also lived and worked in Seattle and Bellevue (even Redmond at MS for 2 months) and could definitely feel the geek vibe. It is all about the people and location just like the article says.

    The cool thing though is if you don’t have other geeks around you to talk to you can always scour the Web for people with same interests. Also, and I don’t recommend this to everywhere, but you can rename your SSID for your wireless network at your house with something like “Looking for fellow geek – 555-5555″ because you know the other geeks out there are scanning for wifi networks in your neighborhood! I actually did this and someone called me. That was almost a year ago and we still chat on a regular basis.

    I also agree with you Rob about India and China. There are some amazing people there. I know from calling Microsoft tech support! :)

Comments are closed.