The following views and opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BlueChilli.
Now that I have your attention. I wouldn’t even think about giving this subject any oxygen but on occasion I get a bit cranky and do give the issue some consideration, usually when I stumble across the subject as it lands in my inbox or appears on Twitter. Often it is at start-up events where inevitably, one person will ask the panel if they need to move to Silicon Valley.
There is a perception that is regularly pushed by some quarters that The Valley is some kind of promised land for Start-ups. A Valhalla that is the ultimate measure of success. It may well be. but the inference being that ultimate success cannot be achieved in Australia. That Australia is some kind of technological backwater. That Australian VC / investors are not savvy enough or are too risk averse. Sorry, and pardon the strong language but, what a load of absolute bollix.
First off, how can we frame “The definition of Success”. It is so different for everyone. For some, it is purely financial. For many, it is social enterprise. We have some who want to save the world and the funny thing is that all of them are right in their own ways. Is it lifestyle? Happiness? The point being location is a personal choice. The right founder with the right attitude, product / service and skills to market and sell the product / service is going to be successful regardless of where they are.
Secondly, Although Australia is home to a huge reservoir of top quality technical talent, and one that admittedly could be bigger, the Tech is just one part of the equation. It is the enabler for the executor. Its all about finding value. Look at the underlying costs. Like for like, how much value can you get from local development as opposed to having development done in San Fran? When assessing this, consider everything, culture fit, cost, accessibility, R&D grants, etc.
Thirdly, and this is the furphy that really gets under my skin. In global terms, Australia is one very wealthy country. There is a lot money available for investment. The qualifier is that it is Smart Money. Australian investors will put their Smart Money in Smart Start-ups. That is an undeniable fact. If the opportunity is solid, proven, then marketed and sold to the investment community properly, the investment will come.
I have absolutely nothing against Silicon Valley or anyone who choses to operate from there but I just rail against negativity. My personal definition of success is enjoying what I do and doing it in Sydney. Finally to answer the perpetual question mentioned in the first paragraph. If you need to move to Silicon Valley? Just go. But you’ll always be welcome back. That’s fair dinkum!