San Francisco has been dubbed the ‘7×7’ because it’s a grid area of 7 miles by 7 miles. Because of this, there are often many insanely successful tech companies concentrated in the same spot. Amazingly, Twitter occupies the same building as Square and Uber on Market Street. Airbnb, Zynga, Pinterest, Dropbox, and Yelp are all located in SoMa. With so much happening in a single city, can San Francisco continue to be the epicenter of the tech startup world?
Maybe not, according to Darian Shirazi, founder of San Francisco technology company Radius. He reports in Forbes.com that, “Based on our analysis of over 27 million US businesses, we believe the next generation of small business owners will flock to cities not because of growing job rates and income levels, but because of community engagement and access to resources.”
Catherine Clifford of Entrepreneur.com also concedes to Shirazi’s assessment by listing the US metro regions with the highest ratio of tech startups compared to the national average:
- Boulder, CO
- Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
- Seattle, WA
- Denver, CO
- San Francisco, CA
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Cheyenne, WY
With thought to this issue, let’s take this theory one step further to compare Australian startup founder Alan Downie’s experience. Downie travelled to Silicon Valley to gain support from US investors and realized that the way Americans and Australians do business is quite different. “Australian founders, and the investors that fund them, seem to be more interested in growing big profitable businesses than they are growing what amounts to ‘get rich quick’ schemes. Perhaps we’re a more laid back culture that is more inclined to take our time to grow success than we are to try and generate it overnight. Perhaps the gap between the rich and poor is smaller here and therefore success isn’t quite as binary as it is in the States. Or perhaps, as a nation, we just don’t idolise the successful but are more inclined to view their wealth with cynicism rather than vicarious optimism.”
But one really can’t diminish the impact and growth of San Francisco’s prominence in the world of entrepreneurialism. In fact, private firms based in San Francisco received $10 billion in venture investment last year, which is a bit more than companies based in Santa Clara, San Mateo and southern Alameda counties combined. In addition, San Francisco companies received 79 percent of all mobile investments, making it a key location for thought leaders and budding entrepreneurs.
However, although San Francisco is on the cutting edge of online businesses, apps, and programs that attempt to ease the burdens of everyday life, is it possible the city could burn itself out? Is the future of tech perhaps not a location, but a shift in motivation? Could we be move away from the pressures and demands of high stakes venture capitalism into a more balanced life with sleep and intrinsic fulfillment?
While the overall adoption of this movement is highly unlikely, evidence does show that the tech industry and its tsunami of startups are evolving enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. The San Franciscos and Silicon Valleys will inevitably keep bursting with workaholics and stress maniacs, but a new entrepreneur is also rising up who will harness the power of the Internet and do business from Anywhere, USA (or Australia or India or wherever you randomly point to on a map), without compromising their quality of life to be the next billion dollar tech startup.
About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.