Hey Searchblog readers, posting a teaser here of a story I wrote which ran this week on NewCo. We’re doing more and more original reporting and editorial on our site, I invite you to sign up for our daily newsletter, which curates the best stories and insights on the ongoing transformation of business around the world.
The ever-present debate around whether Silicon Valley will retain its crown as the most important tech hub got fresh fuel this past week, first from a piece by Adam Lashinsky (yes, it will), and then from a Financial Times report (sub. required) seemingly refuting his conclusion (no, New York wins!).
The research behind the FT report claims the most entrepreneurial cities in the US are, in order, New York, Boston, Providence, and then San Francisco. The FT headline – “How New York stole Silicon Valley’s crown” – leads one to believe that somehow the research was comparing Apples to Big Apples. Of course, it was doing nothing of the sort. In truth, the FT‘s uncharacteristic clickbait compared Salesforces to sandwich shops.
The Valley is known for tech unicorns, and Lashinsky posits that the Valley will always create proportionally more of them than any other region in the world. The FT story was based on research from the Kauffman foundation tracking an entirely different brand of entrepreneurialism – small businesses. Shame on the FT for the bait-and-switch headline, but maybe there’s a pony inside all of this.
I’ve been developing a theory for more than a decade that technology will one day be understood more as an economic enabler – infrastructure, if you will – and less of a vertical industry centered in a given region. It’s not that tech won’t be important and unique as an industry, but rather that this particular industry creates a set of products which live unburdened by geography. Slack may be a Valley company, but Slack the service is used by tens of thousands of businesses, most of which are not in the Valley.
…My thesis is this: while it’s true that the best place to start a tech platform company such as Google, Apple, Twitter, or Tesla remains the Valley, it’s no longer true that the Valley is the only place to build a tech-leveraged company like BuzzFeed (NY), SilverCar (Austin), or Holaluz (Barcelona).
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