Silicon Valley vs. Elsewhere

When it comes to start-up businesses, many people I know that live outside of Silicon Valley believe their region is hands-down a better environment than the San Francisco Bay area – this comes from people I know in NYC, Colorado, Texas, Vancouver, Seattle, and elsewhere.  They claim there is less regulation, less taxes, a stronger employment base, cheaper employee costs, etc.

All these areas have an entrepreneurial base and access to investors.  Yet, Silicon Valley (which now runs from San Francisco to San Jose) still outpaces any other region.  What makes this area so different?  Is it the water?  Is it the weather?  Is it the people?

Its an environment that has unparalleled access to intellectual capital that is rooted in very decentralized organizations.  It supports a system of rapid changes, e.g. “fail quickly”, and the investment structure to do so.  One common phrase, attributed to Sun Microsystems past-CEO, Scott McNeal, that gets to the essence of Silicon Valley:  “Eat lunch or be lunch.”

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