I’ve been in Silicon Valley for the past six months, and, well, it’s been a bumpy ride. From apathy to a lot of companies ready and willing to zap our cash at MechaWorks… yeah, the economy is still pretty bad out here.
And, with that, we’ve started looking at other options. One of those, is Las Vegas.
Don’t get me wrong, all the buzz about there being “lots of synergy” and “great tech culture” that’s all true about Silicon Valley. But, Silicon Valley has lost what it was all about I’m afraid. I’m a decade late, and a few hundred thousand dollars of seed money short.
What Silicon Valley was about, was cheap, available area to develop in a bay of brainiacs. Since the dot-com bubble, Silicon Valley has become a bloated, land-locked area. Even Google has to lease land from NASA. NASA! Nobody has room to expand, and rent for a startup is sky-high. This isn’t how it was, and it isn’t how it was supposed to be. Companies were supposed to be able to slowly grow out of their homes, to small offices, to venture-backing, to launch. And, that’s just something you can’t do in a bad economy staring down rising rents. Yes, rising even in this economy.
Las Vegas is one of two areas that I believe will become the Silicon Valley 2.0. The other is Detroit, but I have doubts about Detroit’s long-term viability. Both have clear things that put them in the running: A poor economy has ruined their land values, along with having the infastructure that is a virtual perfect incubator for Silicon Valley.
Here’s what I see happening, long-term at least. Las Vegas will become the city where tech companies go to incubate. When they grow, they will either attach to Vegas, or re-locate as strong companies to Silicon Valley 1.0. Think of it as a graduation ceremony for companies that “make it.”
Clearly though, MechaWorks has some room to grow before it “makes it”. Newsroom Network is not yet off the ground, and Full Circle (gosh I want to say the final name that we’ve trademarked) has not yet been announced to consumers.
So, we’re going to survey the Vegas area closely. No, we won’t make the CES cutoff if we move there, so don’t ask if we’ll have a booth. Sorry, we’re not going to waste money on it this year. But, I will let you know what we decide, as we’ll probably make the decision by around when CES arrives.
Vegas! Brings you closer to the midwest and east coast!
So, what conclusion did you come up with for Las Vegas? We definitely need more smart tech people like yourself in Las Vegas.
Ultimately, I said no. The housing costs are excellent, but there are two problems with Vegas. One, is crime. Rampant crime levels due to the economy, and criminals unable to afford living in Los Angeles.
That issue is actually something that will probably fix itself when the economy returns. The other issue is lack of an ability to build teams. That’s harder to deal with.
I think the best chance for Vegas to build a tech economy, is to encourage big corporations to relocate, and legalize moonlighting explicitly. Then Silicon Valley startup folks (like me) can woo over people working day jobs (at major tech companies) to also have a night shift at a tech startup.