Monday, February 16, 2015

The Valley, Or Not, To Be

Silicon Valley is still the best place for your startup
Every city now seems to have a silicon something or other – whether it be London’s Silicon Roundabout, Berlin’s Silicon Allee or the Silicon Slopes of Salt Lake City....... My own experience with Zendesk, however, leaves me convinced that, at present at least, the original Silicon Valley remains the best place for budding tech startups looking to take their business to the next level. ..... there are deeply rooted cultural issues. Take Denmark’s famous law of Jante – an aversion to seeking or celebrating individual success ..... European startups raised more than $2.8bn in the last quarter of 2014 and are just as likely as their American counterparts to reach the hallowed ground of the Initial Public Offering (IPO). ..... Venture capital invested in US tech reached $8.67bn in 2013 compared with just $1.44bn in Europe. ..... There is still a perception of Europe as being overly bureaucratic, a perception that Europe sometimes reinforces. Take the EU’s tech-hub in San Francisco, catchily named the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Information and Communication Technology Labs (EIT ICT labs to friends). ..... Another thing holding Europe back is the persistent idea that failure is something to be ashamed of. This flies in the face of Silicon Valley’s fail fast, fail often mantra. Speaking from experience, failure has been a necessary and useful step on the road to success. For Americans, failure is a rite of passage. ...... Take SongKick – a great live music startup based in London. London is the world’s biggest live music hub, so why would they want to move?
Goodbye Silicon Valley: why tech startups are flocking to megacities
tech businesses now need the energy, talent and diversity of the world’s megacities to thrive ...... Not a week goes by in the world of tech without someone heralding the globe’s next Silicon Valley – from New York City to Norwich, London to Lagos, the list goes on....... But the real story here is not the next Valley, it’s the death of the tech cluster as we know it...... started with the founders; a concentration of white, middle-class, socially awkward geeks, inseparable from their Macbooks. ....... If you have ever tried to visit the likes of Apple or Google in the heart of Silicon Valley you will know it is not an easy place to get to.... Back in its heyday, the Valley’s isolation from the rest of the status-quo of banks, big business and city life allowed it to thrive, think bigger and build world-changing companies. ...... In the new wave of tech centres no other city has raced ahead of the pack with this trend like New York. ...... In the Far East many look to Hong Kong which draws upon decades of experience as a world financial capital. It also boasts unbeatable access to China, the world’s biggest market. ....... This new generation of tech companies outside the Valley are less fixated with first-world problems like taking a selfie that looks like it has been taken with a vintage camera. These companies are disrupting centuries-old systems put in place by the establishment........ The key here is existing industries. ...... 6.5% of the world’s billion-dollar exits between 2005–12 were companies from Sweden. Again the majority of these success stories draw upon the city’s existing strengths in music, the arts and gaming. ....... Despite being on the doorstep of the Valley, San Francisco has fast become a magnet for tech talent drawn to the big city. The shift away from the Valley has become so strong that the likes of Google and Yahoo based over 30 miles away operate shuttle buses to move employees back and forth to their campuses each day. ...... Isolated clusters cannot fight the tide of talent flocking towards the bright lights of cities. San Francisco’s expensive and unpopular commuter buses are perhaps the best sign of the times, while pundits obsess over the next Silicon Valley, the world’s megacities are marching ahead.

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