Silicon Valley: A Place Or A State Of Mind?

Marc Andreessen, as is his wont, posted a tweetstorm this morning that was a spirited defense of Silicon Valley. It starts with this tweet:

One thing I always think about in reading things like this is the use of the phrase “Silicon Valley” or SV as Marc uses in his tweetstorm. Let’s look at this tweet:

Does Marc mean “move to Silicon Valley” or does he mean “do a startup or join one and work on this stuff”?

I actually don’t know what Marc meant by his use of SV in this tweetstorm, but having spent 25 years in the tech/startup/VC sector and having done that time outside of Silicon Valley (the place), I am sensitive to the use of those words and always wonder.

We have about a third of our portfolio in the bay area. We have about a third in NYC. We have about a third elsewhere with a large concentration in Europe where I am heading in a few weeks to attend several board meetings. I like to think of the tech startup ecosystem as a global movement. We don’t invest in Asia, South Asia, or Latin America but I see more and more interesting things coming from those regions these days.

Silicon Valley is most certainly a mindset and it is one that is infecting large swaths of the global economy. I agree with Marc’s tweetstorm, in particular this one.

And I think, when applied to the global startup ecosystem, he is absolutely right.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    I think he was clearly tweetstorming about SV, the geo place. But by the end of the tweetstorm, you can see him pulling in the global perspective:17/And, of course, tech startup ecosystem now expanding worldwide. Opportunities to contribute from anywhere abound, linked via Internet.— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) July 7, 2014

    1. fredwilson

      Ah. It went past 14. He needs to adopt the EOTS convention

      1. JimHirshfield

        Maybe he just wanted to keep his option open. ;-)Likely wouldn’t have been an issue if tweetstorms were adopted as a Twitter feature.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Please, Never! :-O

          1. JimHirshfield

            You’re not a fan?

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Hate them. Many use them as if they are missives from Moses. Trouble is, some folk on Twitter already think they’re him – they don’t need encouraging…

          3. fredwilson

            Ha. I like them but your comparison to the ten commandments makes me laugh in a good way

          4. Carl Rahn Griffith


          5. JimHirshfield

            Easy solution to that problem, unfollow Moses, or is it Moseses (plural?)…Or should I say Mosi? MosiWannabes?

          6. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Ironically, the only person to have ever blocked me – and I’ve been on Twitter since pretty much the start – is one certain Mr Marc A… QED, I guess, lol 😉

          7. JimHirshfield

            There’s a story in there somewhere.

        2. Juest

          Twitter is still getting the public to learn to use the mute button before it rolls out Tweetstorm as a feautre!

          1. JimHirshfield


      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Past 14? Jesus, lol…

  2. christopolis

    a place or a state of mind or a big fat bubble?

  3. JimHirshfield

    Most entrepreneurs that live in the SF Bay Area, or that have lived there, will tell you there’s no substitute for physical proximity. Meeting the right people is greatly enhanced by in-person interactions, whether that’s brainstorming, pitching, or growing a team.I’m not saying it isn’t done well elsewhere (Go NYC Tech!!). Just stating what I know will follow here in the comments: Those in SV stating strongly the value/advantage of being there. And those not, citing the strong tech communities and results from elsewhere.Both are right.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I don’t disagree on the physical part. Part of me wonders if that will change when the generation that is growing up with all this virtual tech (age 12 and under) grows up and is able to build companies. Will being in the same room matter?Macroeconomists will tell you it takes 30 years for radical new tech to be optimized. Older generations literally need to die. The printing press, electricity, railroads, autos, steam engines etc all took around 30 years. If access to the broader internet happened around 1995, 2025 is the first year it will be optimized.

      1. awaldstein

        Dunno–I work more and more with remote groups. The more I do, the more Insist that once a quarter or so, we get face to face.Video has broken this down a lot. Human touch though is a real driver of the need for proximity.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Yes. We’re human, after all.

          1. awaldstein

            Human, above all!

        2. JLM

          .The remote video is tantamount to courtship which can only really be fulfilled by a personal visit.When you and I had meetings in NYC it changed things as to how each views the other.Plus the great eats always makes relationships better.JLM.

          1. awaldstein

            You and I agree completely on this JLM.In fact, I’m going to guy buy some tickets to visit accounts as there are a few I need to unwind with to work better with overall.As an aside–I seriously love the video call as there is nothing like face to face visuals for helping in understanding between different native language speakers.

          2. JLM

            .I live on Skype. I love it.JLM.

          3. JimHirshfield

            Skype = you’re a talking head.In person = you’re engaging.

          4. JLM

            .I agree. Funny thing about HD cameras is Skype is almost too good a pic.Too many nosehairs needing trimming?Been using a HUGE TV for monitor — wow, the 1.5 acre talking head!JLM.

          5. JimHirshfield

            Yes, that’s the other name for video conferences: up-your-nose-cam

          6. awaldstein

            Actually my cat, Sam, is drawn to my calls when I take them at home.There are teams all over the world who know him well. He personalizes my skype calls for certain!

          7. JimHirshfield

            Supporting cast member… or cat member, as the case may be.

          8. awaldstein

            Sam is cool.I travel around the world and meet people from my nets and they ask ‘How’s Sam?’.

          9. LE

            When you and I had meetings in NYC it changed things as to how each views the other.In what way? (Not a challenge, a question…)What did you think before and after the meeting?I know that I had a different impression of you before and after watching the video Rohan where Rohan interviewed you. I thought you came across much more persuasive in person than in writing. The tone, cadence and delivery of the message was the key more than the actual words.

          10. JLM

            .It’s all context, isn’t it?The written word is flat and we often have a forced economy of words because it is harder to type than speak.The physical keys are so important. I always feel like I can size a person up in person as I am sure you can also.Arnold, William, Fred and I had dinner one night and we had a bang up time. It was just fun. Then Arnold and I had breakfast another time at an iconic restaurant NYC restaurant.You arrive strangers and you leave friends. That is what I enoy most about life. It is a bit sappy but it is real (for me).My wife and children accuse me of being part Labrador and when we go out together they will caution me to tone down my “Bella” which is the name of our Lab.Funny thing is I am naturally shy.JLM.

          11. LE

            Funny thing is I am naturally shy.Not surprising I vaguely remember from the video that your eyes didn’t appear to be making contact with the camera (this may not be true but I seem to remember it and don’t have time to verify).That said shy people (I was shy when I was younger) would tend to think more about things rather than just get pleasure from whatever words come from their mouth. I call this, by the way, “the crack den”. If you ever observe talkative and outgoing people you will see they get great pleasure from anything that comes from their mouth. The mere act of any words leaving their mouth makes them high.The written word is flat and we often have an forced economy of words because it is harder to type than speakNo doubt you have received great reinforcement when you speak so it’s something that has become a self fulfilling prophecy and a strengthened skill or whatever you call things like that.Arnold, William, Fred and I had dinner one night and we had a bang up time. It was just fun. Would have been interesting if the same event occurred w/o alcohol what the result would have been. (To late now, you know each other).Of course not that food alone can’t cause enough elevated mood for people to end up having a great time.

          12. JLM

            .In vino veritas?It had been a long day and a beer does take the edge off, no?JLM.

          13. ShanaC

            I should take you coffee next time you are here

          14. JLM

            .I will look forward to it.JLM.

      2. Sebastian Wain

        Surely it will change. This is arbitrage at the physical and social networking level and many people/organizations/businesses are pushing for a change. The only question is when.As someone who lives in Latin America/Argentina, I am thinking in staying in US for a few months every year. Even if 99% of my customers are from US I don’t have the capabilities to significantly grow my business from here and I tried a lot of different things in ten years.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Yes, extended concentrated visits are a good idea. Drop ship yourself here for a while. Execute, then back to base to regenerate.

        2. ShanaC

          why do you feel latin america can’t work for you to grow your customer base?

          1. Sebastian Wain

            One of the top reasons is the “total energy” involved in selling. A prospective customer from Latin America will take “1000x” the energy I need to sell to US and European customers.Also the typical framework of negotiation is win-loose instead of win-win.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        I think being in the same room will still matter, for the reasons Epicurean Dealmaker laid out recently in a tweet storm –

        1. pointsnfigures

          I think they are right, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if they are wrong. BTW, I put my money where my mouth is and invested in companies along the “we are human and want to be together” thesis. very early innings.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Right, and NY had nothing to say to FL over the early telephone. And, as everyone knows, there’s no hope of ever doing business over a telephone? Right? Video phone? HD video phone? With funny glasses in 3D?And that’s why the Internet will never be serious. And as a special case, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter have no chance.Ah, come ON!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Read all of E.D.’s tweet storm, and see Arnold’s comment too. You can do plenty of business by phone, email, etc., after you’ve built trust in RL.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            I was being facetious. Of COURSE can do business by phone or just mail, even if have not met in real life. E.g., once when I was in Columbus, OH, I called Saks in NY and had them send me an overcoat. It was skimpy, and I wanted something more like in a Sherlock Holmes movie or on the reviewing stand of Red Square. So, I put the coat back in the box, still good as new, and returned it. All okay. When I was building my collection of Nikon equipment, once I sent a check to a shop in Japan or Hong Kong, and they sent me a nice lens; I communicated only by mail. There is an item at Tiffany’s that is a favorite of mine when I have to give a wedding gift, and for the last such gift I just called them, told them what I wanted and the address to send it, and they did. I paid by credit card or check, I can’t recall which. The first time my wife and I went to A. Soltner’s restaurant Lutece, she called, pretended to be my secretary, and asked for reservations for “The Drs. …”; worked fine. The restaurant didn’t know us from boo but took the reservation, and we were seated as soon as we arrived on time. When I got married, in Indiana, while I was living in MD, my mom, who was expert at etiquette for weddings, called a restaurant in Indiana and made arrangements and reservations for the rehearsal dinner — worked fine. The restaurant did know the bride’s family but didn’t know my family from boo.Net, lots of business gets done just over the phone, e-mail, Skype, etc.

      4. JimHirshfield

        Other centers will (are) grow(ing) stronger.But there’s also a perpetuation mindset: people go there because people go there….unless you’re Yogi Berra, in which case, no one goes there because it’s too crowded.

      5. ErikSchwartz

        How much being in the same room matters varies widely by individual. I know some very talented people who will produce like mad in a room full of people but will get nothing done when they WFH.I suspect that is a fundamental psychology/personality issue rather than a generational issue.

      6. ShanaC

        what does optimized mean in this context. Also, this also means the real innovations can’t happen without an optimized machine.

        1. pointsnfigures

          For example, the printing press was created. Gains from having a printing press didn’t happen until they could print enough books and periodicals, and until enough people could actually read. Took thirty years. In the case of autos, they had to pave roads, have gas stations etc. Trains, they had to lay track etc.

    2. Richard

      There is science behind the SV effect. Epigenetics has taught us that Physical proximity is an essential part of a symbiotic relationship.

        1. Richard

          Or to put it another way, sex is 2-3% of a relationship. But try skipping it and see what happens to the remaining 97-98%.

          1. JLM

            .Holy smokes, I’ve had the percentages backwards for years.JLM.

          2. JimHirshfield

            “Holy smokes” – Yes, you’ll need a lot of smokes if you’re that “active”.

          3. JLM

            .In my dreams…JLM.

          4. Richard

            1K LOL

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Trouble is, too many folks in these meta-geos subscribing to transhumanism…

      2. ShanaC

        I gues the question is can we turn on those relatonships

    3. LE

      there’s no substitute for physical proximity.Agree. And I would imagine that that is also even more true for a certain type of person. Meaning a non outgoing person someone that isn’t particularly opportunistic or even friendly or not what would be called a go getter. Like an engineer.For example let’s take the dating example. [1] If you are outgoing and have balls and are the type that can approach girls you can be anywhere and pickup women.But if you are not, it’s probably better, generally, to be in a place where there is a lot of things going on because that way there is a chance that a women might approach you or a friend will know a friend. Or there will be a party and you might get the guts to approach someone.[1] Dating wise, for men, NYC is better. For women, SV is better.

      1. Twain Twain

        Haha, LE, is that why the Dating Ring flew women from NYC to meet SV men?* http://www.businessinsider….

    4. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Scale, being human, of the location is key – that’s why I’m sure eg NYC is more sustainable than eg SV. I spent a lot of time in and around SV before it was ‘cool’ and the need to drive everywhere I found tiresome. Our industry should read more Jane Jacobs.

      1. JimHirshfield

        That’s an interesting points. Most “centers of _____” (fill in the blank) are within a close proximity. Urban centers, universities, etc. Silicon Valley is an exception in that respect, but I guess you could say the same thing about the Seattle tech scene. But even in London or NYC, you still have to take 30+ mins to get to/from meetings, even if you take public transportation.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      As someone who has worked nationwide from a Los Angeles base for most of my career it was shocking to hit the “physical proximity” obstacle when I shifted my focus to startups. Especially in tech where the technology being created is the very thing that closes the distance. I live in a part of the world where things are spread out and it is a way of life. I know there is a difference between going across town and across a continent but I do believe this may influence how I perceive the world.But now things are really popping in LA tech so I’m happy. And busy.

      1. JimHirshfield


  4. pointsnfigures

    Just like there are “normative” and “positive” views on economics, there are “normative” and “positive” views on startups. Part of this is the “social” entrepreneurial movement. I am all for using entrepreneurship to solve problems that have so far been unsolved by governmental action; but one of the things that is true about startups is you never know where they will go. Did anyone think that Twitter was going to be a force for social change when it was launched as a microblog in 2006? Twitter helped overthrow a government. Did anyone see Facebook as a force to build a movement?I don’t think we should put fences around startups. I also don’t think we should inject a lot of normative thinking around startups. It curbs innovation.Is the startup world investing and creating the best things? No one can say except the market. If the market uses and in some way “pays” for the operations of the startup; then it doesn’t matter what they create.One startup isn’t going to solve the problem of world hunger. But a thousand startups can create job opportunities so people can work and have enough money to eat.

    1. LE

      But a thousand startups can create job opportunities so people can work and have enough money to eat.Enough stuff thrown at the fan and something sticks.but one of the things that is true about startups is you never know where they will go.There was an interesting post, I’ll try to find it, from a google employee that was ranting about how there is no failure at google since you can always rationalize away a value from doing a particular project as being good for google in some way.This remind me of when I have a discussion with a mother about her child’s activities. It’s always cloaked in the value of the activity without taking into account something that might be a more valuable use of the time.I have a friend who sat at his son’s baseball games all the time. (Would always call me bored from the bleachers). His son ended up getting a baseball scholarship to some “so so” school. So people seem to think that that justifies the effort and time that his son put in. See, sports pays off! Without looking at the kids who a) didn’t make it or b) what academic things might have been better for the son long term. The friend could pay for college by the way. This is a guy who rented a Hamptons place for the summer ($100,000) so it wasn’t an economic play.

  5. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Fred, don’t go to Europe- they don’t believe in Air conditioning in the summer. It’s actually absurd. I came back from a recent trip and my head is still hurting…be smart with the jetlag and do what the pros recommend!

    1. William Mougayar

      Was it in Paris I suspect?

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Come to Yorkshire. No need for A/C – just perfectly mellow 65-70degrees days…

    3. ShanaC

      i don’t love air conditioning. i’d much rather split the workday in half and have a siesta in the summer. it feels weird sometimes

  6. William Mougayar

    Someone said “You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley, but you need to have Silicon Valley in you.”There is some truth to that. SV has set an example for how a vibrant tech community thrives, but it is up to each ecosystem to be its own. Anything artificially “injected” is typically rejected, or doesn’t last.Brad Feld has captured very well what it takes to build a tech ecosystem community in his book Startup Communities, and that cookbook is there for any community who takes the slow cooking approach to building a community. It doesn’t happen overnight.

    1. pointsnfigures

      yes, it takes 20 years.

    2. Steven A. Worthy

      All of the previous comments are very stimulating, but I would like to add something that technology, particularly Web technology, walks a fine line to benefiting society in general. The slogan, “digital humanities” is slowly gaining prominence as the way to integrate machines (smartphones, web sites, drones, etc.) into our lives in a meaningful way. My slant on it is expressed as: “Machines are tools to serve humanity, and not the other way around!” When the innovators of the world, but especially in Silicon Valley, think every gadget, app or “disruption” is great and worthy of funding without asking its value to the people in the society it affects, I fear we may set in motion modern-day “Express to Atlantis.” The story ends like this: “And they were so powerful, they derived the very power to destroy themselves. Then, they did.” I hope this gives us pause to consider the need for self-driven cars, drones delivering mail, etc. when lack of jobs, hunger, famine and violence permeate our culture. After all, didn’t someone say “Necessity is the Mother of Invention?” And isn’t necessity the coolest thing of all? To me, it’s the ultimate challenge. And yes, even for innovation, “it takes a community.” Thanks for this intriguing forum!

  7. awaldstein

    To me SV is definitely a place, ‘the’ place for a long time.New York is both place and certainly a frame of mind.(sorry-couldn’t resist that)

    1. JimHirshfield

      The Billy Joel reference is a nice way to kick off the week. Queuing that up on the Sonos. Thanks.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Plus, SV doesn’t have a NY minute… 😉

      1. awaldstein

        SV is a bad term generally I think as I can’t visualize culture under the term where I certainly can in SF.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Adore NYC, totally apathetic to SF. And eg London.

          1. awaldstein

            I had some really great work experiences in the bay area–2 IPOs that I was on the team, one turnaround, two that I loved and went nowhere and a bunch of whatevers.But I never loved the area.LA I had a really good one and seriously loved living there.Then there is here!

  8. Twain Twain

    Funnily enough, the other day a friend was trying to convince me that Boston has more brain capital (more PhDs in Computing & Engineering apparently) than SV and it would be better for me to base my startup there.He also told me to double the $1,000,0000 baseline annual salary which I had “on back of paper napkin” calculated that 12 people would be doing in terms of getting my startup to this point. He explained that this is because SV salaries are double and the founder needs to factor in 25% benefits.I told him that I tend to think in terms of value and both sides of the balance sheet — not just cost base of location — and gave him some value comparables:(1.) London’s top incubator gives €40,000 ($55,000) for 10% equity which values the startup at $550,000.There are talented founders but not the depth of Product and Engineering (P&E) mentors in London who have previously built global scale technologies worth $100+ million, and follow-on capital is challenging.There are plenty of those P&E people in SV and an overhang of SV funds that haven’t yet been fully deployed.(2.) NY’s top incubator, Techstars, gives $118,000 ($18,000 capital and $100,000 as convertible note) for 10% valuing startup at $1.18 million.Yet it too may not have the P&E mentor advantages of SV?*…(3.) SV’s top incubator, YCombinator, produces startups that are valued at $20,000,000 on Demo Day. They’ve typically got a convertible note for 8% of their company.* http://upstart.bizjournals….Yes, salaries in SV are double or triple and it’s extremely competitive to get into YCombinator but $20,000,000 (SV) is almost 10X the valuation of $1.2 million (NY) and 40X that of $550,000 (London) so the value factor of SV is still greater than the salary, office rental and living costs factors.The main value piece, though, is not in that.It’s access to Product, Engineering and Business folk who have built and scaled global startups — some of which may have become $1+ billion valuations.The $ few thousand I’ve spent to locate myself in SV for a few months has brought me a lot more value.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Nice data points.

    2. JLM

      .You make a very compelling argument framed in very interesting data points.Well played.JLM.

    3. LE

      Let’s slice out that one statement right there:SV’s top incubator, YCombinator, produces startups that are valued at $20,000,000 on Demo Day. They’ve typically got a convertible note for 8% of their company.I know that Graham and fellow sycophants want you to believe that doing YC [1] is like getting a Harvard degree (or better than it actually) but the truth is where is the data on the percentage of companies valued at um, 20,000,000 a number that doesn’t matter unless you make it to the finish line that go bust and have no value at all?In other words I wish people would stop pretending that this is real estate (which of course even with that the value varies with economic conditions but it’s certainly more solid that startup value) and it’s in the bank.People sometimes ask me “how many domains do you own” wanting to multiple that by some number and come up with “what they are all worth”. The truth is they aren’t really worth that much until the right person comes along and wants to buy them. I recognize that and I don’t kid myself until the fat lady sings. [2][1] Which contrary to my point in a way I think, for the right person, is a good idea for many reasons.[2] Literally, deal done, cash in the bank in other words.

      1. Twain Twain

        I understand what you’re saying, LE, and actually the whole valuation process for startups is arbitrary. Real estate, artworks and wine have a tangible, physical asset component whereas startup value is in the people (the Larry Page and Sergein Brin interview at Khosla Ventures highlighted as much; “they (the search engines) didn’t want to buy this company that didn’t really have anything without the people so they wanted us” — Larry Page).Regardless of whether it’s London, NY or SF, making it to the finish lines (or milestones) of either working prototype, market launch of alpha/beta version, first N million users, first N million repeat users, first N million monetizable users…trade sale to bigger company or IPO is the same.Plus “It’s all pie in the sky numbers until CASH IS IN THE BANK!”Nevertheless, as well as the factorial differences in PERCEIVED opportunity costs and valuation potential between London, NY and SV, it’s also the question of “How much can a $ afford me in each city? Is the trade-off worth the time away from my family and friends? What happens to those startups that don’t get the “Golden Ticket” into one of the incubators — regardless of whether it’s in London, NY or SV?”Not every startup is going to attract and benefit from having a Marc Andreessen, Fred Wilson or other highly regarded “name” as their investor-mentors or get that Product / Engineering person that they need for their system to “jump curves rather than do better sameness” as Steve Jobs would say.The question for the founder is less about location and costs but more about, “Who do I need/want to be on my team and as investor-mentors? Where are they? How would I get face-time to interact with their knowhow in a meaningful and value-adding way?”At the end, it all boils down to people and their value and values.SV over the last decade has concentrated those people and their values. It’s entirely possible other cities and places can do their own thing (coalesce the intellectual and skills knowhow, values, capital etc.). It’s a matter of when and how rather than where.

        1. LE

          It’s entirely possible other cities and places can do their own thing (coalesce the intellectual and skills knowhow, values, capital etc.).As a basic concept you want to be in a target rich environment. SV and NYC are both target rich for tech. But while SV might be richer for tech NYC is richer in many areas (plan b’s).For every Walmart in Bentonville AK (or Koch) there are thousands of companies that will fail by being located in nowhereville. That’s separate from whether the gamble is worth taking or the idea or what you should be spending your time on is worthwhile of course. Printing used to be big in Lancaster PA (maybe it still is I just know it used to be). Aviation was big in Kansas (and may still be). Etc.I think SV is good as a plan b (in tech) if your plan a fails in tech. I think NYC is better as a plan b with many possibilties if your plan a in tech fails. Lot’s of stuff going on in NYC metro and plenty of people doing so many things that if you have a pulse it’s hard to see how you couldn’t fall into a good thing if your startup failed.Target rich example: First business I started that I knew nothing about an older successful person told me “not a good location, no big office buildings”. (Gesturing with his hands while saying this). I couldn’t afford to locate in an area of tall office buildings but it still worked out for me. But he wasn’t wrong . It would have worked out better if I was in the area of tall office buildings, all else equal.

          1. Twain Twain

            Twitter could, theoretically, have been built in Europe since its mobile broadband and interoperability was at more advanced levels than the US?Any number of $ billion Web companies could have emerged from Europe — given that the Web was itself germinated in CERN, Switzerland.Ditto, $ billion AI companies since Alan Turing was a British mathematician and that IP and knowhow originated in Cambridge, UK rather than Cambridge, Massachusetts.Yet for a myriad of reasons, Silicon Valley and NY/Boston ran with it, iterated on those ideas and made them into $ trillion technology businesses and wealth-employment creators.

  9. William Mougayar

    Speaking of New York, this came out yesterday:”Startup Hubs Around The World: New York”…

  10. Bruce Warila


    1. ErikSchwartz

      Yo is just the return of the Facebook poke wrapped in better branding.

  11. kenberger

    Tweet #12 here really exhibits a key weakness in tweetstorms. That 1 sentence, if taken alone without tweet #11, is completely the opposite of what he meant.

    1. JimHirshfield

      So true. I have read, and re-read that tweet a dozen times.

    2. Richard

      Tweet Storms remind me of the conversation between an airline pilot and the control tower. The communications are all related, but does it really matter?

      1. JimHirshfield

        It most certainly does. I like arriving at my destination.

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I hate Tweetstorms – egos preaching to their acolytes. It’s weird.

    3. Stephen Bradley

      Absolutely – why @pmarca ‘s Tweetstorm SHOULD look more like this……(AND… part of a BIGGER idea – that communities should be able to co-create powerful stories with a more coherent voice!).

  12. jason wright

    it’s an evolution. noun becomes verbiage.

  13. reece

    that’s too bad about LatAm…after a couple weeks in Brazil, i think my next venture will be HQ’d in Rio!

    1. JimHirshfield

      Goooooooooooooooool !!!!!

    2. William Mougayar

      yep. they know how to enjoy life there.

    3. fredwilson

      Do it

  14. ErikSchwartz

    As one who has done start ups both here in the valley and away there are absolutely pros and cons. I am in SV now.You will vastly overpay for everything except capital in SV. Even B and C player engineers are well paid.There are a lot of people here who think that having a successful company and having a successful exit are the same thing, they are not. If you are trying to build the former employees who only have experience in the latter are of limited utility.There are many distractions here (both product and social) and it’s easy to try and chase many of them.The local market is much more niche than you think it is.On the plus side..There’s energy and inspiration everywhere.Money is cheaper and more visionary here.There’s a lot of engineering talent around.

  15. Laura Yecies

    In response to the title question I say both. The quality and quantity of exciting startup activity outside of SV proves that the state of mind has transcended geography but the numbers clearly show that the place is unique. According to NCVA data (… in 2013 12.3 B was invested in SV, the next largest region, New England had 3.3 and New York Metro 3.1. No other region cracked 2B. Inevitably this 4x activity level has the synergies, unique and meaningful effects described in the comments. Interestingly, according to the same data, Silicon Valley has increased its share of VC investment since the 90’s though the absolute levels has grown so dramatically as to have supported the creation of these new startup communities. I haven’t yet located international data – I’m curious if the pattern is similar.

  16. shareme

    Fred, I think people forget Sv history as so much that happened was based on commmunication and what happens when communication fails; the Stanford free wheeling cs classes at hp campus and the Fairchild walk out for two examples

  17. LE

    Marc: Anyone who thinks SV can be doing more/better/different, come join us and participate in building new things, products, companies!Ok. I’ll just get my wife to look for another job and move the kids out to a new area because, well, everyone can do that. And real estate is totally reasonable “out there”. And there is no risk in doing so at all. And we all want to gamble on foolish things because in the end it always works out!You: Does Marc mean “move to Silicon Valley” or does he mean “do a startup or join one and work on this stuff”?Neither. It means keep your mouth shut.This is really a statement and a challenge that doesn’t even matter. People are where they are and doing what they are doing. You’re quoting Marc because he was in college and in the right place at the right time. And worked hard and was smart and all of that obviously but the timing is important. He should come up for air and realize that. (This is not the same as taking away from anything Marc has done by the way. Just acknowledging that if he had been 6 years older we probably wouldn’t have been discussing him at all today.)Point? You should be able to criticize something or point something out without fear of someone telling you to drop everything and change your life or keep your mouth shut.

  18. LE

    One thing we know for sure is that there are a shitwad of lemmings in both SV and NYC:…San Francisco reached peak pop-up pretentiousness this morning as throngs of bored foodies waited for “nearly two hours” for day-old New York bagels.

  19. Pranay Srinivasan

    As a founder that runs a cross border startup, We’re setting up in SF, NY, and India. We take advantage of the funding and ecosystem in SF, the sales in LA and NY, the industry connections in NY, and the manufacturing, the arbitrage of high quality team members in India. We work 24/7, communicate constantly using IM, Email and our own tools.We blend the cost advantages of Asia with the sophisticated connections of SV / NY and are really growing well.So I suppose it can be about having your cake and eating it too.p.s. Our customers love the effectiveness our geographical spread brings to them.

    1. fredwilson

      Smart. Really smart

  20. sigmaalgebra

    So, Mark Andreessen is at it again — telling the world again that he is a VC, with a thick checkbook, in exciting, dynamic, leading edge, miracle, magnificent Silicon Valley; so send in your foil deck so I can have some deal flow so that I will be more likely to see all of the, as he once also claimed, only 15 or so deals a year that are worth a Series A. But, it can appear that, really, he and his firm mostly just ignore deals that arrive just via e-mail, that is, “over the transom”, and, instead, want to discover deals from gossip, buzz, a coffee shop, PR, or whatever. Since he is not able to handle his e-mail, he wants entrepreneurs to pay for skywriting for an initial contact? No, no, no, now I remember: He wants a ‘warm introduction’ from someone he trusts in technology, e.g., a banker, accountant, business development guy, etc.?Look, Mark, a little south of you, Hollywood passes out the right advice: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”. I can understand that!But for venture capital returns, we know from none other than…that on average in a word the returns suck, likely also for seed and early stage information technology investing in Silicon Valley.So, Andreessen with a tweetstorm about Silicon Valley is talking about something that on average is failing.So, his tweetstorm about the ‘glory’ of Silicon Valley has to be about why Sand Hill Road is on average a road of sorrow.Yes, it appears that Silicon Valley is a hot house, echo chamber, fashion fad of the day, and Kool Aid party that occasionally does something for lonely teenage girls, e.g., imprudent ones, SnapChat, and otherwise is a march of lemmings to the sea.And I’m supposed to be interested in the fine, causal details of this disaster, e.g., the claims that college is a bad idea, that grad school dropouts are better than grad school graduates, etc.?Success I can be interested in. Massive failure? No thanks.As I recall, before Andreessen said that for startup success there was some magic involved. Hmm. In the Middle Ages they believed in magic because they didn’t understand, say, modern freshman chemistry. ‘Magic’ is when we don’t understand. Solid engineering to solve a real problem is when we do.Why be so hard on Silicon Valley? There’s something a bit sad about on average a road of sorrow.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      I understand the point you are trying to make but I find comparing Sand Hill Road to an act of ethnic cleansing in which thousands died (the Trail of Tears) to be not in particularly good taste.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Sorry about that. I apologize. In defense, I used lower case. I had “road of tears” and changed it mostly just for alliteration. I plead ignorance since I do not recall the real Trail of Tears but just remembered that there was such a thing. Ignorance. Bad taste. Mistake. I apologize.Hmm. Okay, I’ll change it — “road of sorrow”.

  21. aka Lynda

    Have to love this man. Watch out Mr. A, the last time this approach of welcoming people, the company was sued, Come on down! People took it, pardon the expression, literally.

  22. Max, Ionic CEO

    The fact that there are any successful tech startups outside of SV I think proves that SV is more a state of mind than anything else.I also think the “proximity” benefit is overblown and also kind of assumes no smart, effective people live outside of SV, or that you can’t connect with people just as effectively through the internet.The best teams *have* to expand beyond SV anyways to be successful, so when you think about the percentage of your userbase or customer base and where they’re located, I’m guessing the vast majority are not in any single city or metropolitan area.

  23. ShanaC

    Are you looking more closely at Latin American investments

  24. Duncan Logan

    I think SV has a good head start but as “Software Eats The World” it is inevitable that other tech clusters form (NYC, Tel Aviv, London, etc). As these clusters have exits and recycle the cash and talent the pace will quicken. I actually wonder if some major cities will eventually take over from SV simply on a sheer scale. (The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti, is an excellent book on this space)

  25. Melinda Byerley

    The conversation has been most interesting of all. intelligence is always about asking the right questions…For a long, long time, I strongly felt nothing was like being here in Silicon Valley. (and that’s after being in the NYC Metro area for over a decade and while I’m at it: go cornell tech!).But for the last 2-3 years it’s crossed my mind more than once that nothing could be better for Silicon Valley –the region/physical location– than infusion/competition of fresh blood from all over the world, regardless of physical location. We’re getting absolutely fossilized and exclusionary, we’ve developed an unnecessarily rigid set of social rules and hierarchy, we’re becoming a white boys from ivy club; all of which are the antithesis of innovation and the opposite of what it was like when I arrived here in CA just 12 short years ago at the bottom of the bust. We’re becoming MORE risk averse, MORE intolerant, MORE herd mentality driven, MORE expensive to live in (thus shutting off economic opportunities) and MORE economically polarized. This cannot be good in the long run for innovation.Perhaps when the next set of exit money is unleashed through Gen Y’s Elon Musks that will open the floodgates for real risk taking. We need investors with deep pockets from around the world to compete for startups, to drive the the cost of capital down for entrepreneurs, to help people take big risks that they couldn’t otherwise afford due to the stratospheric cost of housing here. I’m very concerned that the crowdfunding laws want to actually limit the ability of startups to raise money from intelligent, capable investors without paying a toll to platforms and money men.When only rich people can afford to start a company, only rich people will start companies, and they will solve problems only rich people care about, which is an ever shrinking number of people and perhaps indicative of a death spiral.

  26. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I do want to believe (strongly) and like to say “It is a state of Mind and not limited to California Sate”…With that gut feel only I have started a company in a remote corner of India 🙂 ……Kasi

    1. Tom Labus

      Go for it

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        thanks and sure will do.

  27. Sean Hull

    There will always be rivalries. But SV *only* has one thing. NYC has everything, from arts, music, culture, food and lets not forget the people. :)As far as start-upping, there will always be those who scramble to win. There’s megabus on the one hand and amtrak on the other. Innovation is something intrinsically human, if we’re hungry & scrappy enough.

  28. paramendra

    This guy Marc just needs to start blogging instead of sending out what he calls tweetstorms.