Last weekend I had the chance to check this idea with people in the industry. Actually Paul Graham wrote something like this
ages ago. Still, a lot more is needed in order to make things happen.
So, what do you need if you want a Silicon Valley?
Here is my take on it: you will never ever have one. Ever. You just can't. Game over.
what you can have is a context
similar to Silicon Valley. Working with the context is something you can do. Actually it might be the only thing you can do.
The thing with contexts is this:
- Nobody notices them because they're out of the way from the people's work standpoint. Congratulations, it's working
- Everybody talks about them full of it (that happens when the right things aren't being done) or
- People ignores it because is not even close to the intention
So, the idea would be something like this: work with the context in the right way and start seeing Near-Silicon Valley-Experiences happen by themselves.
These are the bricks you have:
- Nerds. Geeky ones.
- Investors. Geeky ones. Seniors. Forget juniors, they don't get it and may screw things up. Let the senior investors bring the new angels at the right time (their right time).
- Education. Some geekness epicenter. Any well equipped university will do.
- Designers. Geeky ones.
- Café. Not the beverage. The hub. Something that connects geeks. The culture of a bunch of guys talking (then working) in a cafe is crucial for innovation. In a way, places that are Starbucks-like are being a kind of co-working space too.
- Free WiFi everywhere. All the time. Redundant.
- Easy, comfortable transport from one point to another.
- Decent local laws for entrepreneurs.
- Some tourist attraction in town won't hurt.
Near-Silicon Valley-Experiences will happen organically or won't happen at all.
Make it bad for one of the three main protagonists (entreprenerds, university and investors) and it won't work. There is no hack, no subsidy, no incubator that can make that alone (that's why it didn't (yet) happen elsewhere).
Oh wait... what about technological parks that really gets it
Oh wait... what about making a place attractive for senior superangels
and then see what happens?
Hint 1: it won't happen much if you don't listen to the right people.
Hint 2: because of getting those 9 is hard, it means it's an opportunity. And maybe you can't start with those 9 but you can make it for the first three. That's the good kind of homework.