Posted October 25, 2007 6:39 pm by with 10 comments

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Last week Paul Graham said Silicon Valley was the only place worth being, if you want to have the best chance for success in launching your own Internet startup. This week Charlie O’Donnell has broken down and dissected the idea that creating a startup in NYC is not nearly as challenging as one might believe it to be.

In fact Charlie goes into a fairly in depth discussion of acquisition not only of space in NYC, but also talent, legal advice, and funding. With all of that said Charlie feels that the true value of success is most likely industry knowledge and expertise above and beyond anything else.

This expertise would cover not only the details of the industry but also personal reputation, contacts, relationships and a support network. Without having these types of resource available, Charlie strongly suggests that startup founders might not be ready for their venture. I think this is the important part of the equation. Just because someone has a great idea, or is passionate about an idea, doesn’t always justify the need to start a business around it, at least not right away.

While the entrepreneurial spirit seems to be alive and well in many folks, creating a startup from scratch takes more than just will. In the end Charlie has a lot of good reasons why a startup can thrive in NYC, but he also has a lot of good ideas on how, why, and what resources a founder should have available to them before taking the plunge.

  • Thanks for the link!

    I will say though that rather than compare NYC to the Valley, I was more saying that you can definitely be successful here–with a lot less difficulty than others would have you believe. I wasn’t trying to be comparative… HOWEVER, I will say that if I had to be on the East Coast, I think you could make a strong case for being here instead of Boston.

  • Roderick Ioerger


    It was a good article, I think it fit well as a semi counter point to Paul’s article that I covered last week. Both are interesting and insightful, especially for those people who are seriously considering the jump. Thanks for taking the time to stop in and share a little more.

  • Robert

    Paul Graham did not say that. He said you have a better edge for your company in the Valley.

    Next time, try to read stuff before you quote it.

  • Location for an Internet startup can be anywhere. Even Bangalore! For conventional enterprises, it was an essential ingredient for all kinds of reasons. In these days of electronic communications on a global scale, even that has become passe except of course for reasons such as proximity to raw material or customers etc.

  • That’s why I am here.

  • @Robert: it may be a bit of a paraphrase (to say that “Silicon Valley was the only place worth being, if you want to have the best chance for success”), but it is effectively what Graham said (not that I necessarily agree, running my business from London!). Direct quote:

    “And even though Boston is the second biggest startup hub in the US (and the world), we tell the startups from those cycles that their best bet is to move to Silicon Valley. If that’s true of Boston, it’s even more true of every other city.”

    @Music: You’re right that startups *can* be anywhere, but Graham’s argument is that they still get definable benefit from being in a hub and that they should aim for the best hub there is…

    As for the general point of the article, I’m going to go and read the referenced article and see if I can replace ‘New York’ with ‘London’.


  • I’m with music software on this one; actual physical location has become less and less important these days when the internet has in a sense erased geographical boundries and made actual distance increasingly irrelevant.

  • Im smack in the middle on this one. While these days the internet seems to have leveled the playing field a bit and the location of operation is becoming more second priority, in the latest business venture we have kicked off, (, where the growth of the company is fueled by the trendsetting community, it was important for us to start our business in the heart of the trendsetting population, New York City. So i guess my stand is, it depends on the nature of your business.

  • In the age of the internet, place of your “business” is ubiquitous. epitomizes where you can do what with 1 web server and 2 db servers running from his apt.. making $10M+ a year?!? And it’s a one man company. Article here:

  • makes this point very clear — there is a very large hub in NYC.