“Timbuktu is the next Silicon Valley…”
“No it’s a Goan beach settlement of yogic tech gurus …!”
“Hang on, what about all the IT folks flooding into downtown Milwaukee?”
For years now people have been singing the praises of technology hubs outside centres like Silicon Valley. The promise is that due to the glorious countryside and fantastically cheap cost of living (comparatively, at least) all the tech talent will swarm in and make everything fair, equalitarian and more distributed. Just like the internet is meant to, really…
In some ways the argument is fair enough. There are plenty of respected universities outside the famous tech communities churning out very specialised talent. And the growth of smartphones and collaboration technology means nowhere at all needs to be isolated anymore. Yet the story still doesn’t really wash.
I mean, aspiring actors move to Los Angeles because they want to be in Hollywood. This is where all the famous ones go so it’s where all the wannabe thesps dream of being. And it’s exactly the same with techie types. If you long to code – or run an online company – you probably want to go where Mark Zuckerberg and all the successful ones are.
But the alternate tech hub stories never seem to go away. And get increasingly more absurd. There are always new places that get listed and are suddenly tipped to replace Silicon Valley. Such cynicism. I’m sure it won’t be long before that mud field in Azerbaijan produces a unicorn.
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