I did a lot of thinking about ways how we could build a more humane and inclusive startup scene in New Zealand but the recent events in the US made me think a little bigger. These ideas are very much a “thinking in progress” so please give me feedback on them so we can push this idea forward. This is where I am at:
Looking at what we currently call digital nomads and the emergence of remote first companies, how relevant are location, political systems and financial hubs in a post Silicon Valley startup scene?
I would like to postulate a very provocative “not at all”. Looking at iwantmyname, we have people in New Zealand, USA, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany at the moment, Over the years we have been approached by investors from many countries, some from the obvious financial centers but also from places that I would call “emerging markets”. We hire by talent not by location and I travel a lot and work from various places, so do many in our company. Location became one of the many parameters describing my current situation but it is not a defining one and certainly not constant.
Looking at the current startup scene through the lens of a startup mentor I would suggest to someone creating a new scene to disrupt the established system with fresh ideas that fit this new reality. If we take Silicon Valley as the old incumbent and push for a new niche, a truly distributed but well connected startup scene that is based on a solid foundation of core values rather than an investment model seems like a good niche to start with. I would be keen to try something like that and would back a new, post Silicon Valley startup scene like that with my time and experience and networks.
An antifragile startup scene that can’t be disrupted by changing political systems because we can simply switch to new countries, work out of new co-working spaces, join new physical communities, learn from them, then take that learning with us to the next and the next place. A scene that does not need temples for the egos of the founders in the form of massive office buildings but rather lets people work from where they want because the output matters, not their attendance. If we take all this and pour it into a founding fabric of values, would that be a scene you want to be associated with?
Ping me on twitter @norbu09 if you want to discuss this in more detail or have ideas how we can push these ideas further into the mainstream. Please point me to people thinking along the same lines, show me the existing networks already doing this without me knowing.