Is Austin considered the next Silicon Valley?

Hot topic, no? Things to consider

  1. Austin doesn’t want to be; nor should it be so. Silicon Valley’s magic comes from the work ethic (Why Do Startups Work in Silicon Valley?), experiences, capital, and expense of the region. It doesn’t make any sense for any other place to replicate that and be second to it. Austin has a different lifestyle, different industries (e.g. Austin is eCommerce), and different capital considerations in that it is flush with seed capital and very low cost.
  2. Austin just isn’t the size and scope of Silicon Valley. I find it interesting to this day that many people in Austin refer to San Francisco when they think of going there to pitch investors and by the same token, I find it interesting that you are comparing a region to a city.
  3. The reason the other answers are accurate is that Austin is nascent; relatively speaking. While some tech companies have been here for 20 years, Austin’s startup community has only really exploded in the last 5. Do the math on startups… it takes 7-10 years for investors to see Angel/VC returns. The average age of most successful startup founders is 35 (give or take) generally because it takes not just experience but a few failed startups before founders figure it out and get it right.

So why am I in Austin? Why am I on one hand pointing out that Austin isn’t the Valley and is probably topped by New York and yet on the other hand I’m here? Austin is very likely the future. We’re a few years in, relatively speaking. Consider many of these implications.

  1. People are moving to Austin (and leaving the Valley by the way) at a rate not seen since the emigration to the New World. All those experiences, cultures, investments, and ambitions colliding in one place…
  2. Think regionally, not city: Austin is at the center of the world’s largest regional GDP. We’re hours from Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio and in a couple years, Austin will breech the ten largest cities in the U.S., a list that already includes Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
  3. The future is wearables, smart homes, clean energy, personalization, entertainment, etc. With the internet built, by engineers, we’re evolving into technology that’s more personal, friendly, and part of our lives. We don’t need another Google or Facebook. The Valley’s engineered companies serve their purpose and now we’re looking to how tech enriches our lives. I’ll make the point simply this way: We don’t do conferences like DISRUPT, we have the convergence of entertainment and technology in SXSW. See Why Austin Tech.
  4. Politically and economically, Austin is likely the most business friendly environment in the world. We’re a socially liberal city in a fiscally conservative State. People have the freedom to be and build what they want without intervention of government; the intervention that is causing such exceptional costs (financial and intangible) in places like the Valley.