Can You Really Build a Great Tech Firm Outside Silicon Valley?

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 | 44 comments


This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.

Last year I was on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley meeting with one of the most prominent venture capital firms in the country.

We were talking about a company, Factual (disclosure my firm is an investor), which was founded by one of LA’s most talented Internet entrepreneurs, Gil Elbaz, who as co-founder of Applied Semantics (purchased by pre-IPO Google for $102 million and now Google AdSense) is responsible for a large portion of the Internet’s monetization.

The VC partner, somebody I greatly respect said, “Yeah, we like Gil and what they’re doing. I’m just not sure you can build a great technology firm outside of Bay Area.”

And this Silicon Valley bias isn’t limited to any single meeting – it has been a recurring theme in my time as a VC.  I’ve heard it many founders of VC backed companies in LA who tell me that in their NorCal VC meetings they are told, “we might be interested but we’d want you to relocate to the Bay Area if we funded you.”

So can you really build a great tech firm outside of Silicon Valley? Sure, but it will be different than the Bay Area ones. Let me use LA as an example.

Los Angeles

I live in the city of Santa Monica. My daily coffee meetings are not surrounded by the Hollywood elite with discussions of scripts, scenes and casting. In my LA I often see computer screens open with entrepreneurs talking about digital media. I grant you, it’s not like Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto – but there is a burgeoning tech community much as you’d find in NYC these days.

It is the second largest city in the country with (18 million inhabitants) (vs. 7.5 million in SF Bay Area). In my mind, Randy Newman said it best, “I love LA” – idyllic weather, a mélange of cultures and big industry. We have world-class universities like Caltech, UCLA, USC and more.

But LA is not Silicon Valley and we don’t need to aspire to be so.

1. Funding is different outside of Silicon Valley
There is no region in the country that comes close to having the sheer number of angels & VCs that Silicon Valley has as well as the dollars that flow into the region (40% of all dollars, PwC Moneytree report). So it would be unwise to say that funding outside of Silicon Valley will be easier. If you are talented, of course, you can get funded in any region with enough venture capital and obviously in markets outside of the Valley it is easier to get noticed and get access.

In Silicon Valley you have mega venture capital funds who have a history of giving $20 million to early-stage technology companies hoping to swing for the fences and become the next Google, Facebook or Twitter.  The funds not only have gotten bigger but they have an amazing track record of funding the biggest names in the sector: Cisco, Apple, Google, Facebook.  As a result many funds are OK with big bets.

When you’re one fund and have $600 million to invest it’s easier to take that kind of risk.  There are no $600 million funds in Los Angeles. My fund – at $200 million – is the largest in Southern California.

LA generally doesn’t have an appetite for this kind of ‘swing-for-the-fences’ investment at early stages – and neither does your town.  LA investors are more pragmatic.  We tend to do more $2-3 million “A” rounds and we look for companies that have an early monetization strategy. Once we see proof of performance then raising $10-15 million is achievable.

2. “Necessity is the mother of all invention” and drives business outside the Valley
I like to repeat this phrase, which means that because investors have different expectations you find entrepreneurs that focus on nearer term monetization. You have no choice.

The result is that we’ve had a lot of innovation coming from LA and other regions outside Silicon Valley in terms of making money on the Internet. Many of the Valley tech firms saw advertising as “beneath them” and many VCs in the first boom encouraged people to focus on eyeballs rather than dollars. That’s convenience when your VC is hoping to write the next $20 million check. In our regions? Fuggetaboutit – show me the money!

So as a region we created sponsored search (Overture), affiliate search (Applied Semantics, now AdSense), lead generation (LowerMyBills, ShopZilla, PriceGrabber), affiliate networking (Commission Junction, ValueClick, Fast Click), local merchant portals (CitySearch), Social Media advertising (MySpace), mobile games (JAMDAT),  local Internet advertising (ReachLocal), and content generation (DemandMedia). Each of these companies exited for more than $500 million and several north of $1 billion.

Look beyond California and you have group purchasing (GroupOn in Chicago, LivingSocial in Washington DC), private sales (Gilt Groupe in NY, HauteLook in LA), artisan marketplaces (Etsy in NY), eCommerce (Amazon in Seattle) and on and on.

To be clear – nobody builds bigger “pure tech” firms than Silicon Valley. I don’t see this changing much like I don’t see you building blockbuster movies outside LA or shift the media buying center of gravity out of NY.  But you can build valuable Internet businesses outside of Silicon Valley.

3. Recruiting & retention will be different outside the Valley
I meet with Bay Area entrepreneurs all the time and am actively looking to make investments there. But one common theme I’m hearing from there in 2011 is that it’s impossible to recruit. You have huge hiring volume coming from the new growth firms (Twitter, Zynga, Facebook) and huge retention battles & hiring from Google, Apple, Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay and others.

I talked to one startup CEO who told me, “you have young engineers who want to make $200,000 or more to work for me. It’s hard to get people to take a risk at a startup or for a reasonable salary with all this competition.  And many of the ones that do want to do startups are plotting their one YCombinator company. It’s fucking hard hiring right now.”

And this is a prominent company that raised nearly $10 million and a CEO who is ex Google. Imagine your company hiring in the Valley.

Now let’s think about retention. In the beautiful creative destruction that is produced in Silicon Valley (as a capitalist I admire this as a system), imagine what it does to staff retention. Every developer, biz dev person, marketeer or sales rep on your team will be surrounded by scores of companies calling them like Sirens to switch teams. Hit some bumps in the road? Good luck.

Outside the Valley we have struggles, too. In LA you can attract a great team to build out your first 30-50 employees. If you hit a groove on funding and customer growth it does become a challenge to ramp quickly. Let’s be honest – we’re not Silicon Valley. Great companies like BeachMint that are growing at a rapid clip have to dig deep into their networks to meet hiring needs.

You don’t have a pool of thousands of Google engineers to hire when they’re ready to leave the mother ship.  You don’t have the founders of eBay, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com and Yahoo!.  You just don’t.  Get over it. I’ve talked with many great NYC startups facing the same problem.

But we do have great technology developers.  You can build a team of 100+ people in LA without needing to hire outside of LA.  If you want to scale to become a “huge” company you will find it difficult to scale to the level of the Valley sized companies.  But if you grow to be that big it would be a very nice problem to deal with.

And as I’ve argued many times, if we can manage to build a “patron” company – one which grows large and build an ecosystem around it – it will have the ability to attract all of the best university talent graduating from Southern California. As an investor, this is a focus area for me.

What you do have here – and in many regions around the country – is more loyalty.  You’re not in the grind of your staff being constantly approached by every other start-up within 10 miles.  So it’s always a trade-off.

4. There are many strategic assets outside of Silicon Valley
In New York you have access to fashion, media, art and of course, financial services. You also have the headquarters of many of the countries largest companies. In Washington DC you have government & defense. In San Diego you have Qualcomm so an entire mobile industry has been spawned. In Los Angeles you have large industries in garment industry, defense, games (both physical like Mattel and virtual like Activision) and music. And of course you have Hollywood.

That sets us up nicely for the next phase of the web. Everybody knows about the leaked memo of AOL’s Tim Armstrong saying he wants to up his content from 4% video to 70% video. The Internet is now faster, more dynamic and less about text. That sets LA & NY up nicely for a number of emerging content creation industries.

While nobody has yet “cracked the code” on production quality video over the Internet (YouTube won UGC video), there is a lot of innovation happening in LA from places like Eqal, Deca.TV, ThisWeekIn, Machinima & Maker Studios.  These last two companies between them produce more than 500 million video views per month. That’s million, with an “M”. LA is producing content at scale.  So if you’re out to create content businesses there is no better time and no better place than here.

And despite what I keep hearing from others – these are not content “hit businesses” they are “content production platforms” that are producing scale like I’ve never seen and at a cost structure that is astounding.

Who is going to produce all the videos that we want to watch in the future about travel, cooking, film, culture, music and the like? Some of it will be UGC. Most of the good stuff will be produced in LA & NY just like the tech firms of the past came from Silicon Valley. We have the actors, directors, producers, lighting specialists, writers, agents, post-production editors, etc.

I’m “all in” on the future of TV and the longer it takes other investors to get on board the better.

5. Communities outside the Valley have matured
The LA / Southern California market has many people who are now on their second and third companies. It’s true that MySpace didn’t become Facebook, but it did spawn 7 or 8 great LA companies run by founders with experience.  Zorik Gordon built & IPO’s ReachLocal. Douglas Merrill, the former CIO of Google, is building his next company, ZestCash in LA. Scott Painter, founder of CarsDirect has created TrueCar (backed by GRP Partners).

Brett Brewer has AdKnowledge. There is Adconian, Intelligent Beauty, LegalZoom, Burstly, ShoeDazzle and so many more I can barely name them all. All second or third time entrepreneurs.  Hautelook, Gogii, Magento.  My point is – great companies are being built here like they are in in New York, Boston and elsewhere.

There is a lot of talent here.  We’re not all about the beach and sun – although we enjoy that, too.  We have started to build initiatives like Launchpad LA to help bring this community together and make it easier for first time entrepreneurs.  For those that are here – it’s time to stop comparing ourselves to Silicon Valley.  We have much to be proud of in our own right.  And there is still much work to be done. Now go build your patron company.

Sand Hill Road photo courtesy of Mark Coggins on Flickr.

  • http://twitter.com/krisrak Rakshith

    Startup can be started anywhere and get funded for initial rounds, but I think to become the next twitter/facebook/google, you have move to Silicon Valley and have a presence there.

  • http://20minus.com Thanasis Polychronakis

    Mark your post might have just put LA in my radar… was focusing on SF, NY and Boulder to find a home for my startup… (http://20min.us/i6DIFV) I have located several resources for said communities, what would be your highlight picks for finding my bearings in the LA community?

  • Craig

    I agree with Rakshith. We're a tech start-up in Atlanta, GA….the southeast didn't even make the money tree list! We've been looked at by a few VC's…..some have inquired about moving us to SV, which is hard for me from a family perspective…but I'm beginning to think we;re going to need to give it a shot.

  • Craig

    Sorry, Southeast did make the cut….was too small to see…nonetheless, still not great numbers

  • http://twitter.com/RickBullotta Rick Bullotta

    Well, I'm a believer in outside-the-valley innovation and success, but that's probably because I live outside-the-valley…

    One interesting stat if you crunch the PWC numbers slightly differently (and make some bold assumptions) is that the east coast is a lot more capital efficient (7.9MM avg size vs 5.25MM avg size), but also that the aggregate of the western states isn't that much bigger than the aggregate of the eastern states.

  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    “Entrepreneurship is turning disadvantage to an opportunity…” from Israel, we hope to build an amazing internt company, we know we will need to move to the state in about 1-2 years, but as they say… if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere…

    I think you added to our vocabulary the word “stamina”… :)

    Thanks for a great post, as always we tap into your insights and learn a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marklittlewood Mark Littlewood

    Seems everywhere where there are entrepreneurs and technology, there are people pondering the same question in different ways. I like the way that you accentuate the positives of your patch without getting involved in the boring can X become the next Silicon-Bay, Fen, Bog, Glen, Basin, Bowl, Hill or whatever? (Answer, 'No'.)

    It is a question we are asking about London and the UK in this discussion: http://thebln.com/2011/02/shou…/

    I personally don't worry that we don't have a large mass of global technology companies headquartered in London. I do worry that we don't take the time to exploit the specific advantages that our home base offers.

    Food for thought as always. Thanks.

  • gouravs

    it was good to read this one, mark
    my co-founders and I often think about moving to the valley
    but the weather just pulls us back ;-)

    no, seriously, I believe there is no real 'lack' of talent here in LA
    We can built great internet businesses here as well
    Also, with guys like you living here, the angel/VC network is also building up

    Cheers

  • Megan

    Wow, all this time I thought we may be in the wrong place…. We definetly have to get to SV, but all in good time… Thanks for this, Mark!

  • Lynn

    Great stuff as always Mark. A couple of random thoughts –

    When Silicon Valley was in the process of becoming Silicon Valley I'm sure the key people were told investment couldn't happen outside NYC. Content is centered in LA and NY and I think a lot more will play out in Southern California than most Silicon Valley VCs believe.

    I also think the attitudes in the Silicon Valley Tech community are very similar to Hollywood. The top people are mostly wonderful, talented people – but a lot of the second tier people are so centered on their own area that it's really off-putting.

  • http://twitter.com/iWantMyNameNZ iWantMyName NZ

    I love the idea of “patron companies” and building an ecosystem around it. That's what we are trying to achieve with our skunkworks division. The big question then is – can you build and scale great tech companies outside of the U.S. ?

  • Richard Blackham

    We started, and for the moment, remain in Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen has been home to some notable startups who have both felt the need to move to SV and not felt the need. The most notable remains the global standard for free P2P VoIP. From here we have attracted 'Angel' funding in NYC and will likely continue to focus on the east coast. Culturally we are closer than the west coast. Move if you will but we already have Twitter and Facebook.

  • Tom

    To your point in #5 – I am on my 4th startup in San Diego after being part of mp3.com in the late 90s. many startups have been birthed or influenced greatly by mp3 alums – such as eventful.com, napster.com, and pathway.com

    go socal :P

  • http://twitter.com/hugobernardo Hugo Bernardo

    Great post. The hardest thing to replicate is the entrepreneurial energy you feel in SV and how that impacts people's behavior. It's not just access to funding and talent, it's the culture and attitudes. As a foreigner who struggled to be an entrepreneur in Europe I cannot tell you how powerful that can be to the point that it pushes you to brainstorm ideas and start your own venture. I didn't see that in NYC or Boston (never lived in LA). You might be able to build that but I think it'll take longer than it will to build the rest of the ecosystem.

  • sbmiller5

    Craig, look at Grooveshark – they're started and still based out of Gainesville, Florida – they're now at a point where it's probably inappropriate to call them a startup. As mentioned in this article if you move to the Valley and don't bring on a name brand investor or founder/executive you're going to have a really hard time hiring engineers (especially if your using Ruby!)

  • http://compositecode.com/ Adron Hall

    If you want solid tech talent, other great cities include Portland, OR, Seattle WA, and Vancouver BC. LA might have great video creation abilities, but if you want minds, look no further than the north west. For a bit long I'd suspect it'll continue to be a powerhouse that isn't as absurdly pricey as the San Francisco area.

  • http://twitter.com/iCrowdApps Ted Kao

    Mark, while I do generally agree with your points. There is a spirit to the valley that I think is fairly unique and goes back to the HP garage days. The valley has an endless supply of dreamers who pursue their passions much like the young starlette in LA who dreams of being the next Julia Roberts. Where else can someone tell you, if your on your 4th start-up and your first 3 failed, it only means it was practice for the “real” opportunity. We almost celebrate failure here in the valley not as an ending but as a beginning for the next cycle. There is no judgement of the dreamers who've work in 10 start-ups that have ultimately failed and wants to give it just one more try. While money can come from anywhere, the pulse of silicon valley is hard to replicate.

  • http://sisyph.us/ ErikSchwartz

    I think it's not a huge issue in major cities. In secondary cities it gets MUCH harder.

    I spent 15 years in the valley. Worked at a bunch of startups, one was a home run (grand slam actually).

    We retired and moved to midcoast Maine to raise our kids.

    After a few years (~2006) I started to get itchy. Mobile was looking really interesting. I had an idea. I took a week and hit my connections on Sand Hill Road. They all said, move back and we'll fund you. I wanted to stay put so I found some regional VCs in Maine and started the company in Portland Maine. I figured geography does not matter much in the internet age.

    Here were the problems:

    Hiring is MUCH harder. You get a lot of IT people but no one with startup mojo. This one is brutal, it's not the competition, there's just no good candidates.

    There's money around, but it is dumb money. You'll get cash, but few intros, weak networks, little help on your next round. They get annoyed when the plan needs to be modified and your 5 year projections are wrong. When your lead VC wants you to intro them to your network there is something wrong.

    There's no network. I had valley contacts but no one local knows what a tech start up is. You can't go to a meetup and get 50 early adopters to try your stuff.

    You're always on the road in Boston, NYC or the west coast.

    What is easier:

    Space is cheap. We had an awesome space (2000SF) for $1000 a month.

    You can focus. There's not a party every night.

    My next company will be in Cambridge, the house in Maine wil become our weekend place.

  • Mark Hookey

    Recruiting is a key issue. In my opinion the dealflow bias towards the valley represents a pretty sizable arbitrage opportunity : the best engineer from UCLA or Melbourne University is just as smart in raw terms as the best from Stanford – so why the massive recruiting cost differential? Granted the Stanford engineer has a whole ecosystem around them, but does that make them 5x as productive?

    Strategy's about creating a defensible top line (proprietary tech etc) AND/OR a defensible cost structure (and in our world cost = access and retention of the right talent at a better price than your competition).

    The firms that can tap in to the best and brightest outside the valley will do very well.

    It's curious that we're talking about this … wasn't the valley, 10 years back, one of the key evangelists of telecommuting? It's never quite the same as sitting on University Ave, but hey, one can always jump on a plan and hang out.

    Great post overall – love your blog.

  • gouravs

    mark, whats your opinion on these angel groups based around LA. there is the maverick angels group, then theres also one in thousand oaks.
    the reason i ask is that when angels form professional groups, does it not become more of venture capital kind of outfit?

  • marklanday

    Mark,
    Nice post. You hit on a few of the key ingredients to build an great tech firm and eco -system. In addition to the patron company, (also referred to as the academy company) great academic institutions, serial entrepreneurs, a culture for risk, you need geographic concentration, and sources for capital. LA has gained most of these. I agree LA needs a patron company to catapult it forward. Hopefully, a by product of that will be the sources of capital. It is nice to have your fund in town and a handful of angel investors. It would be even better to have some google gonzillionaires, microsoft millionaires, and paypal mafia in town to help get some of these entrepreneurs to a point your firm or the sand hill road crew would happily invest. In addition to LaunchPad, I am lead http://www.LACEOs.com and education and support group for CEOs and founding executives. I look forward to all contributing to further the eco system.

    Respectfully,

    Mark J. Landay
    Dynamic Synergy
    mark@dynamicsynergy.com
    Executive Recruitment

  • John Del Rio

    Thanks Mark. Great Article and very well timed for me. I have been struggling with this very question for several months now. My soon-to-be startup is of course web-based but will not rely heavily on cutting edge tech that may be more easily available here in the Valley (Los Altos). Therefore, I think I can launch it and base it in another state such as Utah, Idaho or Texas and be OK. I think one of those locations will be better for many reasons with costs being primary. Thanks again.

  • http://sproutbox.com/wisler Brad Wisler

    Watch out for the midwest! In software, we're 4th in total dollars and 3rd in number of deals. There are really big things happening in Indiana and Illinois. Companies like Groupon and ExactTarget have matured to the point where they are spawning lots of startups and creating a ton of momentum for the tech scenes there. Recruiting and turnover are challenges everywhere, but there seems to be a greater sense of loyalty in the midwest and lower cost of living means lower overhead lower cost of turnover.

  • John Del Rio

    Brad (or Mark), do you happen to know or have a feel for what the startup ecology is like in Salt Lake City?

  • Arrow

    I'm not sure how familiar you are with other industries (I'm mostly interested in “New Space” centered in Mojave). Can you describe how you view this article would change based on different industries. Presumably the VC's and angel funds are mostly the same, except for a few specific funds. However these funds react very differently to different industries. Also, the hiring would be very different from place to place depending on the industry.

    Thanks for a great blog by the way. I've really enjoyed following it, even though I'm more interested in starting a company in a ….. non-internet industry (is that blasphemy?).

  • http://twitter.com/lisahickey lisahickey

    “Once we see proof of performance then raising $10-15 million is achievable.”

    I think keeping that in mind is one of the best ways for an entrepreneur to stay focused, no matter how great they think their idea is.

    Another jam-packed insightful article, beyond even the Silicon Vally argument, love all the company name-dropping and examples. Thanks!

  • virtuallybing

    It seems to me that there is a bit of long-tailness in comparing Silicon Valley, the “second tier” cities, and the rest. You can still reach the right people and create a successful business if you can find the right fit.

    Here in the Boulder area there are quite a few people making a concerted effort to elevate the entrepreneurial community. That said, it's within the context of making Boulder more Boulder, rather than making Boulder more Silicon Valley.

  • http://www.asoftwarestartupguy.com David Miller

    Love the post and agree that the game is different if you're not in Silicon Valley.

    If you think it's tough in LA, try building a software company in Charlotte, NC: hardly any successful peers, a small talent poot that forces us to recruit from out-of-market, and no – that's right, zero – seed/early-stage venture capital.

    Yet it can be done. You have to monetize early, differentiate yourselves as an employer, and leverage your quality-of-life advantages. That's what we've done at AvidXchange and it's worked so far.

  • http://www.enterthegroup.com Sal Pellettieri

    As a former Los Angeleno I know there are many amazing resources there. Just looking at Gil Elbaz's bio reminded me of the Cal Tech generator. We must have had a dozen brilliant people from CalTech at the hedge fund I worked at. No question LA is a great place to start a business. Now here's my question to y0u, Do you think you can start a tech business in Canada?

  • Matthew_Putman

    This is such an interesting discussion, which I struggle with daily as an entrepreneur. I blogged about it here http://mcputman.blogspot.com/2… . The only thing that I can add that is not in my blog, or this detailed blog of yours, is that location based on availability of vc funding may not be the main concern for many of us. There are good other strategical reasons to be in Silicon Valley, such as proximity to clients, and partners, but being close to your money may not be so important. The Super Angel trend in financing seems to be much more flexible, and even encouraging of alternative geography. We will see.

  • http://twitter.com/rkillgo Russell Killgo

    Mark, great post. I had mentioned something to you about this a little while back. I'm in Las Vegas, which has to be the anti-Silicon Valley. Finding the right people here to work with has been a challenge. There is not a developer/engineer factory such as Stanford or Caltech around here that I could just go and make an order and pick up my people the next day. The good news about having to deal with this problem is that it has made me better at thinking outside the box. I believe you have to look at your surroundings and use the assets you have the biggest abundance of. Vegas is a small pond (about 2million people) with a few big fish. I'm very close to signing one of the biggest celebrity fish in town to a sponsorship deal. And working on one of the other big fish here as well.

    I just signed up to attend the San Diego Tech Founders group meeting you will be speaking at on March 31. I'm very much looking forward to getting to hear your thoughts in person. My app will have launched by then and the website should be ready right around the end of March. This leads me to a question that came up between me and my CFO last night. Would it be better to hold up the release of the app until the full website is ready to launch? You told me before I have to determine if we are a web first or app first company. We are going to be a app first company. This app is what is going to be the driving force behind us. Instagram is getting a lot of press for still only being an IOS based company and not having their website up. If it's just a matter of about 3 weeks between the launch of the app and the site going live… should I wait to launch both together? — Russell

  • Dave W Baldwin

    “it’s time to stop comparing ourselves to Silicon Valley.”

    Great statement! As LA and New York build upward taking the other areas with them, a lot more can happen. Communication/collaboration between different 'locals' will have a major impact.

    Do that and you can just let the SV think they run the show.

  • http://hirethoughts.blogspot.com Donna Brewington White

    Glad to see this post. Thanks, Mark! I have hope for our town yet…

    And with regard to the talent and recruiting end of things, there are a lot of startup employees waiting to happen in larger companies. You just have to know how to identify and recognize them. One of my favorite things to do as a recruiter is to help set big-company-corporate-hostages free.

  • Elias Chelidonis

    Well it all depends on what you are looking for in Silicon Valley, is it the VCs, is it the connections. I recently read an article saying that Nokia would have been way faster in innovations if it was located in SF so that it would keep a close eye on Apple. For big businesses probably does make sense but for the average start up Silicon valley can be just the next step.
    Back in 2006 while running our first start up, we got a call from Google and we were located in a small city of Greece, so everything is possible and at least in the beginning you do not need to be in Silicon Valley.

  • Sukosuko1

    Does anyone have any information on venture capital in Hong Kong / China? I'm an American finance guy in hong kong. There appears to virtually zero high tech investment capital here, and engineers can be hired for $15,000 usd annual. This seems close to a perfect arbitrage, there must be a catch. Anyone have any thoughts/experiences on starting a venture capital fund overseas?

    btw, can't connect to this blog using my Facebook account using Google Chrome.

  • http://twitter.com/briandosal Brian Dosal

    Great article. Founding a startup even in a big city like Miami, FL can be challenging for all the reasons in your post and in the comments. If anyone in this thread is from Miami, hit me up on twitter! @briandosal

  • Roy Posner

    Silicon Valley culture was forged in the 70s and 80s as an outgrowth of the Hippy and New Age culture that flourished in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is those values that created the spirit of daring, entrepreneurship, individuality, change the world, new world view and vision, etc. This was a Power hard to replicate. It is still there even as no one is really conscious of those powerful roots.

    If another area wants to have that power, it needs to develop newer values appropriate for the newer changes in society. Do we know what those are? That is where the discussion should be focusing on. This is the core out of which radiates infinite possibilities and success.

    Personally I see this starting to happen in India, of all places, even as I live in the Bay Area, as they have learned many of our lessons here and are transplanting them there. Come to think of it, the Bay Area New Age movement and values (cultural, economic, technological spiritual, etc.) Secretly has its roots and came from India in the first place!

  • gouravs

    Whats up Mark? No response to any of the comments!?

  • William

    Mark thanks for the insight as always. Six-year investment banker in Los Angeles with tech history (long time ago!) and startup aspirations. Any suggestions for making the switch from banking into corporate development with an LA startup? Well-versed on latest startup hopefuls/ideas/products, and willing (read: thankful) to start on a lower rung if need be.

  • toomanyreplies

    So many idiots keep addressing your replies 'dear mark'… and he never responds.
    It is like you are talking to yourselves. Intellectual master nation.

    Please consider that your posts are for spawning conversations with the other readers. A lot of you obviously consider yourself internet entrepreneurs so please catchup with internet 2011 please.

  • Joni Koneval

    Yes, you can build a really great tech firm outside of Silicon Valley. Come to Youngstown, Ohio and check out the Youngstown Business Incubator – particularly its #1 success story Turning Technologies.

  • John Del Rio

    Dear Twitchy Asshead….. are you actually coming in here calling people idiots for commenting to and asking questions of Mark? I am pretty sure Mark does take the time to respond to the comments and questions directed to him on a fairly regular basis when he has time. All of us “idiots” understand that. But hey, thanks for exposing yourself to everyone even though you are hiding behind an alias. – John Del Rio

  • toomanyreplies

    yes, I am twitchy & angry. this and every other blog comment page I read is plastered with 'dear mark, let me tell you about my hometown…' type posts. (and worse = my type of posts). that my comment is still on this blog shows the comment section is not working except for perhaps making some of the readers feel engaged. its like those 'surveys' businesses have clients fill out but never use. but seriously…making these blog comments pages more useful could be a 'good business idea'.

    The Man did have a few interesting theories about asymmetric social media, i guess everyone is searching for a way to cut out the noise, and 'the idiots'.

  • http://www.denvermarketingfirm.com Jonathan Roseland

    Yeah location dosen’t matter. The world of lead generation has changed a lot. Here’s a quintessential ‘internet marketing trick’ as it requires no skill, no money, no software and very little time. Depending upon your industry you can generate between 10 – 30 hot leads daily off Twitter using this technique. http://su.pr/2mpwrg