We’ve all been told that the Silicon Valley is the place to be when you deal with start-ups, so many of us embarked on the pilgrimage to the holy sites of our industry. Taking selfies at the Google or Facebook campus has been a highlight of every traveler and the inspirations and findings one allegedly received during this stay were enough for some to seal the deal for a book contract and write revealing stories, be it about the very nature of a certain company, or the very core of our industry itself. The Silicon Valley is indeed the accumulation of venture capital, a hybrid, where talent and money meet. However it has become very much saturated, and is therefore only capable of harboring high-scale ventures, and not so much the aspiring garage start-ups anymore.
Whoever had the pleasure of visiting Facebook in 2009 will remember a cosy work environment in a lovely building with a garden. Today the company is located in an anonymous industrial site in a complex consisting of several Walmart-like buildings. Who can possibly feel special, working in a place with thousands of others, like chicken on a perch?
The founding spirit has left the Valley, as it seems. Despite being rather big, the Google campus managed to keep its original spirit alive, much more so than other companies in the Valley.
Yet the primary message remains valid: you need to make at least 200k to survive in the Silicon Valley. What sounds like a lot at first sight, shrinks to a low income scenario given the housing prices. In case you have to pay back your student loan, and think about raising a child or two, the attractiveness of the Valley salary may shrink even more. However, the area may just be and only right if you intend to start a family, because everything is so quiet. Famous Palo Alto is one street, that’s it. If you want some excitement, go to San Francisco. That is 45 minutes away.
Slowly but steady there seems to be an exodus towards the East Coast. You hear more and more often that startups are founded in New York or are moving substantial resources there. Unlike in the case of Berlin, this tendency is not primarily due to financial reasons, but reflecting the environment, that seems to be more welcoming to young talents, than the Bay Area. This is especially true for the media industry, that – unlike in Germany – has quite a big number of investors and believers here. Service oriented businesses, like GoButler, also tend to hold offices in the Big Apple, close to their consumer’s demands.
So when you plan on embarking towards the promised land of the from-the-garage-to-millionaire, it is New York you have to visit. The Valley is still important of course, but not as vital and thriving as we might think. Go book your flight to the city that never sleeps. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.