Harvard Business Review has another rah-rah piece for Silicon Valley. While on the surface it looks like a well-researched article, its error lies not in methodology but in definition. In the minds of the author, the definition for startup success is confined to this:
If you judge entrepreneurial success as surviving or selling (including raising follow-on funding, being bought, or successfully IPO’ing) as no doubt your investors do, then your odds of success are lower outside of the superhubs.
What a shitty definition of success! The world outside of Silicon Valley is rightfully not succeeding by the narrow definition of success espoused by proponents of the Valley VC model. DUH.
But there are many other definitions of success to measure yourself against. We’ve long been campaigning for the success of bootstrapped, proud, and profitable. Businesses, who like 37signals didn’t get off the ground by a Series A round of funding, and who do not see IPO, acquihire, or any other form of acquisition as a successful outcome.
This is how most of the world’s businesses work! And not only work, but prosper, and sustain themselves in the long run. But that’s the boring path of turning great products and services into profitable outfits in less than the average 10+ years it seems to take most Silicon Valley startups.
Do not let the VC merchants and their stooges tell you what success looks like. Do not accept that this path has to go through their 10:1, or 100:1, lottery funnel. You do not have to pick up their shovel and dig gold only where they have marked the X.
The best ideas and the best talent in the world is not confined to these tiny geographical areas, except in the minds of those who live there. Start your business wherever you want to live with pride. Recruit the best remote workers where they want to live with vigor. Success on your terms will come soon enough.