When you install WPML and add languages, you will find the flags here to change site language.

Sarah Lacy – Entrepreneurship around the World

You have covered the startup ecosystem in Silicon Valley and the emerging world, and there has been this back-and-forth idea that Silicon Valley is replicable in terms of VC funding, incubator programs, and recruiting talent. I’m curious, how much of innovation do you think is driven by entrepreneurs responding to local or regional needs?

Or, to what extent should people be trying to develop different Silicon Valleys around the world? How do you help encourage a culture of entrepreneurship through investment, mentorship, and other programs, targeting the types of opportunities you’ve described which are responding to more immediate needs and aren’t necessarily in the tech field?

I think Silicon Valley was a totally unique phenomenon that had to do with the moment in time. It tied in with the wars that were going on at the time; it tied in with military spending; it tied into the space race; it tied into the transistor being invented. It tied into the fact that William Shockley‘s mother grew up in Palo Alto, so he happened to come back here. Fred Terman worked at Stanford; Stanford happened to be doing cheap leases for land, so companies could get space.

There were so many serendipitous things that went into the creation of Silicon Valley. It’s just like any startup. There is timing, and there is luck, and there is serendipity. You can have all the greatest products in the world, but if you don’t have those things, it doesn’t become a big company.

There were so many serendipitous things that went into the creation of Silicon Valley. It’s just like any startup. There is timing, and there is luck, and there is serendipity. You can have all the greatest products in the world, but if you don’t have those things, it doesn’t become a big company. I just don’t see another wave like that starting that is that consuming. There is also not that big of a greenfield opportunity because Silicon Valley exists, and so the people who want to build the next Google, Facebook or Twitter would come here to do it. So I don’t think a Silicon Valley will re- ally be recreated.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there is not an importance of building a startup ecosystem. I think they are tremendously important. I think that being an entrepreneur is one of the loneliest and hardest things you can do, and so you need people around you who are also going through that, but also people who can help jump onboard your journey as well. I think that we have seen a lot of great startup ecosystems formed around the world—trying to hold them to a standard of Silicon Valley is just a losing proposition.

I think the places that do it well are the ones that almost have that idea in their DNA. They are not trying to be Silicon Valley. They are not calling themselves “Silicon Something.” If you look at when New York really started to excel, it was almost when they dropped the name Silicon Alley. You play your own strengths, because you are not going to win at Silicon Valley’s game. You have got to win at your own game.

sarah-headshot-166

Sarah Lacy – Founder and Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily

Sarah Lacy has spent her career writing about great entrepreneurs. She is well known in tech hot spots around the world for finding them before most other reporters or venture capitalists do. In 2012, she founded PandoDaily.com, a news site dedicated to championing them.

Lacy is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 (Gotham Books, May 2008). Called the definitive book of the Web 2.0 movement, Once You’re Lucky tells the story of how Web 2.0 was born through the eyes of the founders of companies like Facebook, Twitter, Slide, Digg, LinkedIn and others.

In 2009, Lacy decided to follow the flow of capital into the developing world. She bootstrapped a two-year, 40 week journey through the Middle East, South America, Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia looking for the best entrepreneurs Silicon Valley had never heard of. The result was her second book Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos, which was published by John Wiley & Sons in January 2012.

Lacy was previously the senior editor for TechCrunch, a staff writer for BusinessWeek and the founding co-host of Yahoo! Finance’s daily show “TechTicker.” She is a regular guest on NBC’s “Press:Here” and various TV and radio outlets in the United States and around the world. She is a sought-after speaker on the topic of entrepreneurship, delivering keynotes throughout the United States and in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Her books are taught in several entrepreneurship courses in colleges and Universities around the world. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, son and two very old cats.

0