[FoRK] The Parable of Joe and the Looters

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun Jul 6 16:35:37 PDT 2008

Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Jul 6, 2008, at 5:01 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> So, I'm quite happy that others are trying to replicate SiliVal
>> elsewhere. I can't however recommend that a would-be entrepreneur go
>> anywhere else if they want the best chances based on prior performance
>> and widespread anecdotal evidence.
> Well, that's a bit of a contradiction, isn't it?
Not at all, unless I'm trying to mislead and use people to make what I'd
like to see happen, happen, at their expense in some sense. If there is
some reason that an area is better in a particular person's case that
overrides the probability premium that SiliVal has, then sure, I'd
recommend something else. Want hot weather? Want a cheap cost of living
baseline? Want to be near family? Just like Texas or DC or NYC? Fine,
then, factored in, those are great places and have many opportunities.
They're just not the same.

In the DC vs. SiliVal comparison, that I'm most familiar with, you can
build a great company in the DC area (really N. VA / nearby MD) going
after Federal Government, biotech, or telecom (the last one's
questionable). You would be hard pressed however, without some great set
of contracts, to create a company that is innovating a new product,
Internet-based or electronic. As one part of that, DC money tends to be
Wall Street money which is not nearly the same as Valley money (and
management and connections). You would think that you could do a lot of
innovation for government contracts, however to a large extent,
excepting only mega-contracts like the JSF and a few small
under-the-radar projects, the government only wants to make use of
innovations that are already mature and on the market. This is not
unreasonable, better that the commercial market vet things than having
the government spend tons of money trying to drive innovation, which
often ends up very counterproductive anyway. See Ada, X.400/X.500,
various mil-spec pricing issues for mundane things, etc.

> jb

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