Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reasons to be Cheerful

There's been a lot of interesting talk in the blogosphere about location and innovation the last few days.

Started by a NYT article, followed by Om (who is travelling in India, so clearly open to the world outside the Valley) and now carried forward by Read/Write Web.

Actually think Fred Wilson has the most straightforward take on it all.

There is no doubt as Fred said that Silicon Valley is the mother-of-all startup hubs and an important place to be seen and heard, but that doesn;t mean you have to start there. What's interesting today is not where you start, but where you end up -- and most successful start-ups end up connected to Silicon Valley in some way.

There are great arguments for Europe becoming a centre for innovation, some of which have been put forward in these pieces and some which have been countered in others.

I spoke to Kulver and his co-founder at Boso before they went to the States and I really think they had solid reasons for being excited to go. They seem to be getting some real benefits and he's right that Silicon Valley offers much better chances of just falling into things and running into people who can help a venture.

This is why it is so important to work with someone who can make these connections happen instantly because they understand what the business needs and know exactly who to connect entrepreneurs with. There are very few people who appreciate the need for this much less have the ability to do it.

If a talented entrepreneur works with the right kind of partners to help build a business based in Europe but focused on a global opportunity, the result can be very powerful - witness Skype, mySQL, Sulake, Netvibes and Last.fm to name a few.

A really smart post points out though while Silicon Valley may ace everyone in commercializing innovation, the rest of the world is an amazing petri dish for discovering great ideas:

Mobility - Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Finland lead in devices and applications

Enterprise Software - lots of new thinking - "open source" oriented from Scandinaviaand some of the emerging E. European countries

Vertical BPO - lots of neat stuff going on in India - analytical, bio tech and number of financial services processes

Security technologies - Israel

Alternative Fuels - Brazil, China - necessity more than global opportunity has fueled a lot of research and innovation

Global Markets - while most of India and China's products are aimed at the west, and not really "innovation", many in those countries are looking at their own challenges - "bottom of pyramid" opportunities and those of fragmented, multi-ethnic markets. Those solutions will be just as attractive in the west.

Public Policy - It is always invigorating to visit Singapore and Dubai. These city states, disproportionate to their size, have a history of attracting innovative companies and experimenting with business practices and policy issues.
There's a lot more to be said on this topic -- in fact the its going on apace at Vecosys -- having seen innovation and startups up close both in Europe and the States, I'm looking forward to seeing the conversation evolve.

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At 2/15/2007 05:15:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This NYT article seems to have touched more than one enterpreneur with European base/connections. :)

Ross was thinking about tools undermining innovation happening only in the Valley:


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