Does Geography Matter?

Image representing Mark Suster as depicted in ...
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I was just reading this blog post by Mark Suster - who I like to call the most visible VC in Los Angeles; the guy has a well read blog, does he not! He is commenting on something that I also noted a few days back, that Pinterest is moving to San Fran.

San Francisco is considered the number one place for tech startups in the country today. New York City is number two. Does geography matter? Will the exact same startup fare better in San Fran than in New York? What does it mean to be number one? And what does San Fran have that Silicon Valley, only tens of miles to the south, does not have? What, you might ask, is going on?

I think geography matters, but number two is a very good place to be, especially if your startup does not depend on having the best of the best engineers,  more of which might be out there in the Bay Area. If yours is a high touch startup, NYC might be good too.

San Francisco is a city like Palto Alto is not. But then, by that count, New York City is the mother of all cities, as Saddam Hussein might have said.

The suggestion seems to be first decide where you want to live. For many that place is New York.
It’s not that young people wanted to live in Mountain View in the past. In fact, so many DID NOT that companies like Google & Yahoo! had free buses with wifi from San Francisco to their Palo Alto and Sunnyvale headquarters.

You know the story. You get older. You get married. You have a kid. Then another. Suddenly you feel the pull for a backyard and nearby parks. And a bigger house wouldn’t hurt so that when your mother-in-law is in town for 3 weeks it doesn’t feel like you see her quite so much.

So you move outside the city – even though you feel a strong pull to stay. It’s why many of the older executives at San Francisco startups live in Marine County and commute in. Or they do so from Burlingame, San Ramon or even Palo Alto.
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