Tag Archives: #groupthink #Valley #choice #startups

Where to Start a Company

It is a myth that the best (only?) place to start a company is in Silicon Valley.

In Silicon Valley, venture money flows mostly to twenty-something males who graduated from certain schools (Stanford, MIT) and, most importantly, are connected.

Connected means they or good friends have worked for Google/Facebook/Twitter, etc. This is necessary to get a warm introduction to an angel or VC.

If you are older, female, let alone an older female, you are looking at a brick wall.

In fact, funding criteria in Silicon Valley can get really silly — Peter Thiel won’t fund/do business with anyone who wears a suit.

Another point to think about is what you are trying to do.

Andrew Wilkinson, who bootstrapped his company, Flow, says it best when he talks about being a horse, instead of a unicorn.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of internet businesses out there, quietly making tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars, who have taken the same path as In-N-Out. They don’t need to be first, second, or even tenth, in their space, and have instead chosen to focus on a small percent of a massive market. They answer to customers, not investors, and focus on making their employees, customers, and themselves happy.

So where can you start a company?

Anywhere. And here is proof. (For additional proof, check out the Dell Founders 50 encompassing 14 industries from around the world.)

Bomberbot

Location: Bogota, Colombia / Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bomberbot is a startup that is part of a growing global network of international investors and advisors. It  is an online game targeting children that teaches programming by helping them recognize the patterns and sequence structures involved in writing a line of code.

Natural Pad

Location: Montpellier,  France.  

The startup develops serious games for medical practitioners. They combine video games and motion capture to offer  fully configurable and individualized tools, which provide patients with a playful and efficient experience for rehabilitation and fitness.

Kaspersky Lab

Location: Russia.  IT security company founded in 1997

Kaspersky Anti-Virus earned top marks in top ten anti-virus-software-reviews installation testing. It is a frequent source of security warnings and has discovered dozens of dangerous bugs in popular apps and products.

Continue reading Where to Start a Company

Guest Post. If the Shoe Fits: Silicon Valley Groupthink, Should and You

Miki Saxon is the founder of RampUp Solutions, Inc. and has been both coach to and customer of NTR since 2000. Learn more about Miki here.

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

On one of the last days of 2015 I read a great article about the groupthink that pervades Silicon Valley these days.

It reminded me of how teens of every generation display their rebellion against society through their choice of clothes, while simultaneously making sure they “fit in” with their peers.

This is most easily seen in a subgroup like the goths, whose black clothing and makeup sets them apart from other teens, but within which a rigid dress code prevails.

Unlike the Silicon Valley I knew in the 1980s and 90s, today’s Silicon Valley is far more homogenized and undiversified, with little perspective on the “real” world.

The result is that it’s far less creative and exciting than it once was.

Silicon Valley groupthink is also the force behind what Danielle Morrill, CEO & Cofounder of Mattermark, calls the “tyranny of should.”

But sometimes when I am able to quiet that story down, I catch myself listening because it is just so much easier to have someone else figure out what I should do.

In the first days of this new year I urge you to choose between taking the easy road of groupthink and should or following Sam Altman’s path of most resistance.

“You should ignore what your peers are doing or what your peers or parents think is cool. (…) And that’s the hardest part. We’re all so much more susceptible to that than we think.”

Yes, another ‘should’, but not all ‘shoulds’ are created equal.

As always, it’s your choice.

That’s both life’s greatest joy and its greatest fear.

Image credit: HikingArtist