Sunday, September 2, 2007

Go West, Young Start-Up

I can't explain why this speech from Y Combinator founder Paul Graham aggravates me.

Graham writes:

    There is now a whole neighborhood of [Y Combinator funded start-ups] in San Franscisco. If you move there, the peer pressure that made you work harder all summer will continue to operate.

Wait, I know why it aggravates me. There are three reasons.

Graham's company, the pioneering online shopping start-up Viaweb, was based in Cambridge until it was sold to Yahoo for $49 million. It had just 21 employees.

Second reason is that Y Combinator holds a summer camp for start-ups it funds in Cambridge, and a winter university for them in Silicon Valley.

What's the difference between a summer camp and a university? Almost no one sticks around in the place where their summer camp is located after camp is over...but lots of people stick around after they've graduated from college.

Reason #3: while I wish that Graham and Y Combinator would be more encouraging about planting a start-up in the Boston area, most of their companies could be described as Web 2.0 apps, destined to be acquired by someone else. (Google, Yahoo, eBay, etc.) And I must acknowledge that it can be easier to get the attention of the relevant acquirers if you're in the Valley.

Your thoughts?

Labels: , , ,