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Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Paul Graham and Wikimedia

Interesting timing to see the techmeme-reported blog interest in with the simultaneous (but as yet-unconnected by Techmeme) of Paul Graham's Why to Move to a Startup Hub. As part of my continuing live experiment with Techmeme, I'm wondering if this posting will collapse them into a single Techmeme thread.

There's an interesting corollary to Paul's argument that all startups (at least all web startups) ought to move to Silicon Valley. That is, if you're an investor, you're better off looking AWAY from Silicon Valley, since where the action is today is a) much more expensive and b) much more driven by today's fashion than tomorrow's innovation. A lot of the most interesting innovations today are in alternate startup hubs. Biotech, financial services, next gen hardware, mobile -- these aren't happening primarily in the Valley. (Paul does admit that "If your startup is connected to a specific industry, you may be better off in one of its centers. A startup doing something related to entertainment might want to be in New York or LA." But that raises the question: where are the startup centers for the NEXT wave of innovation, not the current one.)

It's also interesting to see how much blog activity is getting driven by press releases such as the Wikimedia one. At Radar, we tend to ignore press releases, figuring that if the PR flacks are already on it, it's not really news any more.

Update: got picked up on the Paul Graham story right away, but not the Wikimedia story. Realized I'd linked to the press release, not to the first story mentioned on Techmeme. Fixed the link, will see how quickly it updates, and whether the two stories collapse.

tags: paulgraham, startups, techmeme, web2.0, wikimedia, wikipedia  | comments: 8   | Sphere It


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Comments: 8

Andy Wong   [10.10.07 04:26 PM]

Just old story: VC guys reach candidates only within 1 hour drive. Then you get better chance of being acquired by any of the giants with load of cash in near future soon enough earlier than your competitors.

Ross Stapleton-Gray   [10.10.07 05:30 PM]

When I was in D.C., and interested in a start-up aimed at (in part) consumer products manufacturers, it was very frustrating to have very nearly none of them local. There was a very small likelihood that the people I'd bump into at networking events would have any connection to the industry, unless it was via trade association, say; very different story if you were looking at telecomms, political issues, or a handful of other areas.

Vladislav Chernyshov   [10.11.07 12:33 AM]

When you're asking US people "Where is the best place for a startup to be?", they answering something like "The Bay Area", "Silicon Valley", "YC" or even "I don't know" or "I don't care". But when you're asking the same question to people in Russia, they answering "Start...ehh...what???"


Todd Spraggins   [10.11.07 06:55 AM]

I know Paul and Marc have listed a few of the hubs in their posts on the subject, but I would like to ask you for your view on what the top hubs are for: Mobile, Bio, Green, Nanao, Web, Media, Infrastructure (is Silicon Sands FL still around?) and Enterprise/IT

Florian Hars   [10.11.07 08:00 AM]

Some strategically placed " and > somewhere in


might help techmeme recognize the link.

Bob Haugen   [10.11.07 08:06 AM]

We're a stealthy self-financed startup serving small business groups in small communities. I doubt that the Silly Valley VCs would be interested in or even understand what we are doing. It just does not fit with the current fads. Probably not the next big thing, either.

Oh well...

Tim O'Reilly   [10.11.07 08:11 AM]

Bob --

Given the nature of your business, it sounds like it's not appropriate for venture capital anyway, as it's not designed to produce the outsized returns from a sale or IPO that the VC model depends on. There are many types of business (O'Reilly is one) that can build substantial value without going the VC route. But there are other types of businesses where a VC is needed because there isn't any revenue available until after significant investment to fuel growth.

This is not a criticism of either model. You pick the hat to fit the head.

Anon   [10.11.07 08:31 AM]

Graham is probably not wrong, but the question is: how big is the effect? Does being in Silicon Valley make your startup 0.01% more likely to succeed, or does it quadruple your chance of success? Without knowing the size of the effect, there's no reason to take any action based on it.

And of course, when Paul Graham says "startup", what he means is "web-oriented technology startup that intends to cash out by being acquired by Google or Yahoo in no more than a year or two". This is such an incredibly narrow definition of startup that for most common meanings of the word, and for most startup businesses, his argument doesn't even apply.

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