Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance — The Development Set
YCombinator and their Silicon Valley counterparts often talk about the value of geography. The best ideas, we are led to believe, come from a small stretch of earth close to San Francisco.
James Fallows in a recent Atlantic essay describes how most of America’s elite believe in “The Big Sort” — that to be successful, one must be sorted into a few metro areas: San Francisco, New York, Boston, perhaps Seattle or Washington D.C. When it comes to people investing in new ideas, this is absolutely true. 78% of investment in startups goes to three states (New York, Massachusetts, California). While in the past 20 years startup investing has increased 300% in those states, it has actually declined in the other 47 across the country.
Silicon Valley has become a “monocrop” culture where entrepreneurs are well-educated, have frictionless access to capital, and have their basic needs taken care of. The majority of resources today are going to entrepreneurs whose lived experience is in well-off, well-connected cities.