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Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s New Tech Startup Culture: New York, Boulder, Austin, Raleigh, Detroit, Las Vegas, Kansas City

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The most exciting high-tech startups are escaping the expensive and inbred environment of Silicon Valley. Welcome to the future. Entrepreneurs know they must embrace innovation to excel—starting with where they locate their new venture. Fortunately, budding companies seeking fertile ground have more options today than ever before. Screw the Valley calls on today’s entrepren The most exciting high-tech startups are escaping the expensive and inbred environment of Silicon Valley. Welcome to the future. Entrepreneurs know they must embrace innovation to excel—starting with where they locate their new venture. Fortunately, budding companies seeking fertile ground have more options today than ever before. Screw the Valley calls on today’s entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to forget California and explore other options across the country—cities that offer more room to breathe, easier access to funding and talented workers, fewer heads to butt, and less money down the drain. Timothy Sprinkle visits seven areas that offer a superior landscape for tech startups: Detroit New York City Las Vegas Austin Kansas City Raleigh-Durham Boulder Sprinkle gives readers a window into the startup potential in each city, detailing which industries are thriving where, and highlighting the unique appeal and character of each location. Bright ideas are not geographically limited, and innovation is happening every day in cities all over the country. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to startup location. It’s time to say Screw the Valley.


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The most exciting high-tech startups are escaping the expensive and inbred environment of Silicon Valley. Welcome to the future. Entrepreneurs know they must embrace innovation to excel—starting with where they locate their new venture. Fortunately, budding companies seeking fertile ground have more options today than ever before. Screw the Valley calls on today’s entrepren The most exciting high-tech startups are escaping the expensive and inbred environment of Silicon Valley. Welcome to the future. Entrepreneurs know they must embrace innovation to excel—starting with where they locate their new venture. Fortunately, budding companies seeking fertile ground have more options today than ever before. Screw the Valley calls on today’s entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to forget California and explore other options across the country—cities that offer more room to breathe, easier access to funding and talented workers, fewer heads to butt, and less money down the drain. Timothy Sprinkle visits seven areas that offer a superior landscape for tech startups: Detroit New York City Las Vegas Austin Kansas City Raleigh-Durham Boulder Sprinkle gives readers a window into the startup potential in each city, detailing which industries are thriving where, and highlighting the unique appeal and character of each location. Bright ideas are not geographically limited, and innovation is happening every day in cities all over the country. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to startup location. It’s time to say Screw the Valley.

30 review for Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s New Tech Startup Culture: New York, Boulder, Austin, Raleigh, Detroit, Las Vegas, Kansas City

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cody Uhi

    The premise for this book is interesting to me and opened my mind to other possibilities for technologically innovative locations in the United States besides Silicon Valley. It actually made me feel better about seeking employment in other areas of the US besides Silicon Valley because pioneers in innovation are shown in this book to exist in cities across the country. In all honesty, the book went into a level of detail that was too much to hold my attention when describing the cities and I fo The premise for this book is interesting to me and opened my mind to other possibilities for technologically innovative locations in the United States besides Silicon Valley. It actually made me feel better about seeking employment in other areas of the US besides Silicon Valley because pioneers in innovation are shown in this book to exist in cities across the country. In all honesty, the book went into a level of detail that was too much to hold my attention when describing the cities and I found it hard to stay engaged with the author's narrative/conversation-style approach to conveying the information. I would prefer to have read smaller descriptions about a greater quantity of cities to diversify the representation of technological America outside of Silicon Valley instead of focusing on the 7 cities described here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    H. P.

    Hyperbolic title notwithstanding, Sprinkle isn’t out to cut down Silicon Valley. Rather, he wants to show how much is happening outside of SV (and Boston) in cities less known for their tech startup scenes, like Detroit, NYC, Las Vegas, Austin, Kansas City, Raleigh, and Boulder, each of which gets a chapter. SV is still the king—it accounted for over half the largest startup exits over the past couple of years, and well more than New York, Massachusetts, Southern California, and Illinois combine Hyperbolic title notwithstanding, Sprinkle isn’t out to cut down Silicon Valley. Rather, he wants to show how much is happening outside of SV (and Boston) in cities less known for their tech startup scenes, like Detroit, NYC, Las Vegas, Austin, Kansas City, Raleigh, and Boulder, each of which gets a chapter. SV is still the king—it accounted for over half the largest startup exits over the past couple of years, and well more than New York, Massachusetts, Southern California, and Illinois combined—but there is more and more happening elsewhere. Each of those elsewheres has its own culture and strengths and weaknesses. DETROIT. The focus is on the urban core, driven by the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert. (Wrong I think, to criticize Detroit for needing “private police forces”—police have always been private in large part. Conversely, he doesn’t touch on how difficult it is to start a business in Detroit, one of the common criticisms of a bankrupt Detroit that still put its faith in big public spending projects rather than small businessmen.) NYC. The Big Apple ranks only behind SV and Boston in terms of metro areas by VC investment. Where others see the challenges, NYC entrepreneurs see the opportunities, including in Brooklyn, which by itself has outpaced almost every other large startup area in the country. And should we be surprised there is ample opportunity in the center of the finance, media, fashion, and advertising worlds? NYC has the advantage of being better integrated into the larger economy than SV. LAS VEGAS. Casinos are king there and it shows. A major hurdle is lack of office space due to construction focus on hotels and casinos, leading to tight commercial real estate market and thus expensive rents. But Vegas is also home to one of the “largest, most secure and efficient data centers in the United States” (protected by armed commandos). It’s very compact compared to SV and several of the others. The west coast location, but with much better cost of living and business climate compared to California is a big plus. But it is still recovering from a 90s tech scene laid waste to by the dot-com crash. AUSTIN. “[T]he Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas metro area has generated more jobs in technology fields than any other region in the country since 2001, including the Bay Area. Tech employment in Austin is up 41 percent in that time, and the number of local workers in STEM fields . . . is up 17 percent.” One in a quarter Austin workers in the tech sector, and Austin is expected to produce one in five tech jobs in Texas. Austin may be the fastest growing city in America. It’s affordable and business friendly, but also trendy, in a way that the other areas other than NYC and Boulder are not. Austin’s Big 4 are: UT, the state capitol, the Austin City Limits music festival, and SXSW. It’s described as a big-time tech scene with small-town values. It bought its way into the big-time, as is the Texas way, but has a nagging sense it could lose it all, as is the Texas way. KANSAS CITY. The start-up scene is centered in a row of houses along the state line (on State Line Road) because of the presence of Google Fiber. Indeed, it’s an old telecom center (e.g., Sprint) owing to prime location in the middle of the country, and it was a rail center before that. Kansas City has a lot of old tech and a long history of entrepreneurship but not seed funds and no real VC. It’s very Midwestern in its values and view of the world. RALEIGH. The Raleigh-Durham area is home to three research universities—Duke, UNC-CH, and N.C. State—but it’s the public engineering school that gets referenced most often. It is also home to the Research Triangle Park (RTP), the largest science- and technology-focused research park in the world (40,000 daily workers). The scene in Raleigh-Durham goes way beyond tech startups to all STEM fields (the materials science program at N.C. State gets a shout-out). There are “big-name anchor companies like IBM, BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, and Intel,” plus startups done good like Red Hat and SAS. It’s a top 10 region for VC investments. But it’s a surprisingly diffuse scene, with the real action in the tech startup world away from N.C. State and RTP in Durham (the location of N.C. State notwithstanding). The low cost of living comes up (again). The area is much richer in talent than a lot of the others, thanks to the aforementioned research universities. The scene didn’t disappear post-dot-com crash as in some of the others because of diversification, e.g., there was life science to pick up the slack. It gets poor marks for a tendency not to think big, a surprising funding gap, and because RTP is starting to look a bit old-fashioned, a suburban corporate park when urban centers are the rage. BOULDER. Boulder is taking two out of five of tech funding dollars in Colorado. It’s a place where people connect on bike rides and a place that the people there love. Boulder is the smallest city on the list, but still has a Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and HP presence. It also has CU and a big government science presence. It has the “highest percentage of work-from-home residents in the U.S” and what is described as a “Karma economy.” Boulder is the main scene, but nearby Denver is important too. On the downside, it is ethnically un-diverse enough to be a drag on recruiting engineering talent. But it is welcoming to outsiders. Disclosure: I received a free copy through NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vasco

    The bad: it's just a report of the ecosystem. It is extensive and comprehensive, but at the end of the day, it's just a description of the key accelerators, incubators, investors and other people in some areas. It reads more like a catalogue than an actual book with theory or material on startups. The good: although a sort of catalogue, it is an interesting catalogue with compelling stories and interesting people and organizations. The bad: it's just a report of the ecosystem. It is extensive and comprehensive, but at the end of the day, it's just a description of the key accelerators, incubators, investors and other people in some areas. It reads more like a catalogue than an actual book with theory or material on startups. The good: although a sort of catalogue, it is an interesting catalogue with compelling stories and interesting people and organizations.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    This is one of those books that you might not have thought you wanted to read but you feel a lot more enlightened afterwards. The reader is taken on a tour of seven “new” technology cities that are spread around the United States, all showing that there is life for high-tech orientated companies away from Silicon Valley. It is also a great overview about the changing face of American cities, the development of high-technology companies and the emergence of so-called technology clusters. It is an e This is one of those books that you might not have thought you wanted to read but you feel a lot more enlightened afterwards. The reader is taken on a tour of seven “new” technology cities that are spread around the United States, all showing that there is life for high-tech orientated companies away from Silicon Valley. It is also a great overview about the changing face of American cities, the development of high-technology companies and the emergence of so-called technology clusters. It is an easy-going, light read that packs a powerful punch – especially to an outsider. Written in a non-judgemental style (other than the general acceptance that Silicon Valley is an expensive, possibly counter-productive place to do business) the author gives a great mix of travel and regional business/sector guiding to the reader. It is quite surprising to note that, for example, Boulder, Colorado is a high-tech centre in its own right, accounting for nearly one in four jobs. The city hasn’t managed to compete just on price however, with it having a reputation as being one of the so-called “nicer” cities in tech, which isn't something you often hear about towns in Silicon Valley. Perhaps the old-style American “community feel” helps as certainly it has something going for it. Some of the other areas also specialise within given vertical sectors, such as Minneapolis-St. Paul is becoming “medical device valley” and Raleigh, NC is a hub for biotech startups. The author takes the reader behind the scenes and gives an access-all-areas introduction to what is happening there. Silicon Valley isn’t going to be emptied anytime soon, yet it was fascinating to read about the changing face of many American cities due to high-growth sectors that will in turn make their mark on the entire country. In conclusion, a great general read for almost anyone who is curious. If you have a specific need or interest it could be essential reading. It is certainly thought provoking on many levels. Screw the Valley: A Coast-to-Coast Tour of Americas New Tech Startup Culture: New York, Boulder, Austin, Raleigh, Detroit, Las Vegas, Kansas City, written by Timothy Sprinkle and published by BenBella Books. ISBN 9781940363301, 312 pages. YYYY

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elise R

    I really enjoyed this one! It was an interesting look at how tech communities pop up in some unlikely places, each city with its own culture. The writing style is engaging, like hearing a good lecturer, and doesn't get too over-your-head technical. Before reading this book, I had no idea about the burgeoning tech communities in Boulder, Kansas City, or Raleigh Durham. What I really liked was the way Sprinkle described how each community started and how each was different and reflective of its lo I really enjoyed this one! It was an interesting look at how tech communities pop up in some unlikely places, each city with its own culture. The writing style is engaging, like hearing a good lecturer, and doesn't get too over-your-head technical. Before reading this book, I had no idea about the burgeoning tech communities in Boulder, Kansas City, or Raleigh Durham. What I really liked was the way Sprinkle described how each community started and how each was different and reflective of its location. I would recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in tech culture, and I hope there's a follow-up featuring Boston!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trina Knittle

    Goodreads win. Will read and review once received. This was a book I wouldn't really typically pick this book up on my own. Just goes to show me that i should really read out of my typically types of book I read. It was very interesting and the author did a great job of writing the book. It took me about two days to read it. It had a very interesting subject that I knew little about. I can see myself recommending this book to friends and family. Goodreads win. Will read and review once received. This was a book I wouldn't really typically pick this book up on my own. Just goes to show me that i should really read out of my typically types of book I read. It was very interesting and the author did a great job of writing the book. It took me about two days to read it. It had a very interesting subject that I knew little about. I can see myself recommending this book to friends and family.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stevo Brock

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anisha Atluri

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The content in this book could have been presented in a blog and waste less paper.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Billy Leavenworth

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brett Welschmeyer

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ian Hathaway

  17. 4 out of 5

    Codigos Promocionales

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex Reinthal

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  23. 4 out of 5

    JAYDEN

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve Delong

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hyatt

  26. 5 out of 5

    James

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicolette Tan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kit Mueller

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  30. 4 out of 5

    James Maloney

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