Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Columbus Ohio vs. Silicon Valley

I just returned from an inspiring trip to Silicon Valley to discuss advances in mobile health at Stanford Medicine 2.0 . It was wonderful to be surrounded by the positive Valley vibe which radiates that anything is possible.

However, upon return to the 'real world' here in Columbus Ohio, I feel that being surrounded by the challenge of implementation of these tools is actually an advantage and more likely to produce a product that works for most people. A post that I read recently summarizes it best:

  • People Still Don’t Know What Craigslist Is – While people in the Valley are talking about how Yelp.com is already passe, keep in mind that most people still don’t even realize what Craigslist is.  I ask people all the time how often they use Craigslist and 9 out of 10 respond “What’s Craigslist?  Is it like Angie’s List?”
  • People Don’t “Need” Venture Capital – Because the costs of operations are a fraction of the costs in the Valley and frankly because there is so little of it outside the Valley.  What happens when capital is so scarce is that companies are forced to figure it out without capital – and they do.  Companies are run for customers/patients/users and profits, not for VC’s.
  • No One Throws Launch Parties - We’re all too busy in Columbus actually building companies to take the time to wallow in our own manufactured successes.  We’re also likely spending our own money, which no one would waste away on launch parties.
  • Most Users Live in Columbus, Ohio – Sure, people in the Valley think a new Web app is sweet.  But getting a bunch of other nerds to use an app only buys a small initial audience.  Critical mass comes when you get the everyman to use your app, and the everyman lives in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Our Businesses Need to Earn a Profit – Maybe people in the Valley can afford to squander $20 million on a product that has no revenue model in hopes it’ll get bought.  The rest of the world has to build real companies that make real money to sustain themselves.

I am in agreement with these points. Your thoughts?

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