"We believe at a certain point, if we can retain enough of the talent that we've uncovered, we can build a community that makes Silicon Valley and New York less of a default." This quote, and many others like it, seemed to be a theme in the conversations I had last night at the kick off party for the Hello Tomorrow conference I am speaking at here in Paris later today. I spoke with entrepreneurs and investors from here in France as well as those from Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, and Israel and they all seemed to have a similar sentiment. Each one of them, while aware of the attraction and pull of the larger tech hubs in Europe like London or Berlin, or ultimately San Francisco, believe that the geographical centralized nature of technology is on its way to the history books. My good friend and partner in Exopshere, Skinner Layne, wrote a wonderful piece on this them earlier this week: Burst It - Not The Bubble You Think. "A hundred new entrepreneurship nodes would do far more good for the world than three new Silicon Valleys." We are seeing this play its out at Exosphere in Chile and in the communities that our Bootcamp members return to.
The barrier to entry to build a web based company is so much lower now than it used to be. This is both good and bad. The bad being that there are a lot of really bad ideas that are seeing the light of day because they no longer need the approval of any outside source before they are launched. The good being that no one needs the approval of anyone else to begin working on the idea you believe is the next big thing. And the same goes with the communities of entrepreneurship and innovation that are popping up around the world.
Each of these communities is unique to its location and the resources that are already in place. Some are being informally incubated around a system of universities and others are being pushed forward by the alumni of a technology company long since relevant. Some are built on the backs of entrepreneurs that left and made a name for themselves in a bigger hub but have returned to bring their experience, and in some case, investment dollars, back to their home town.
There will never be another Silicon Valley, and that is a great thing. But there can be "Silicon-Everywhere" and that is an even better thing.