How to Build a Silicon Valley #2: Go Virtual!

Recently, I’ve had an interesting discussion with two colleagues in Dresden, Germany who are trying to create their own Silicon Valley.  They’ve started an online game and want to leverage it to jumpstart tech startups and local economic growth.  Our discussion:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/RalfLippold/posts/176224045808378?notif_t=share_reply

How does one leverage the cloud to catalyze local economic growth?  This is perhaps the biggest challenge facing a Great Recession global economy, not just Dresden.  Those innovators who figure it out will be the new 21st century entrepreneurs.   Here are my thoughts on some ways to jumpstart local innovation using the cloud:

– Silicon Valley is not a place; it’s now a mindset and philosophy about work and life, so it can be built anywhere.  Think memes.  Focus on relationships and markets, not building brick-and-mortar initially, which can come later.

– Leverage online technologies, including social media, mobile apps and cloud services.  They’re faster, cheaper (often free) and easier to deploy.  Think bottom-up grassroots initiatives by individuals and small groups, like the Arab Spring and Occupy, not top-down and formal government programs only.

– Connect and partner with Silicon Valley and other regional groups and individuals.   Think “of the world, by the world, for the world” to build global ventures, not just locally.  Avoid “the blind leading the blind” trap of local chauvinism.  Be open and think globally from Day 1!

– Launch B2B entrepreneurship blogs, websites, mobile apps and groups on Facebook, Linkedin, Eventbrite, Meetup, and Twitter to connect entrepreneurs, service providers, investors, universities and regional promotion agencies.

– Use free cloud services by IBM, Amazon, and other service providers aiming to attract small businesses.

– Use crowd funding sites like IndieGogo, Kickstarter, and others to raise your seed round.

– Shoot promotional and training videos for distribution on Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo and other social video sservices.

– Organize online contests using existing service providers.

There are hundreds of other practical, short-term and cheap/free ways to launch and build startups and a critical mass of entrepreneurs, so explore them and share them with your community.  Rome (or Silicon Valley) wasn’t built in a day so you need to think long-term, start now and be patient!

Best wishes in your journey and post your progress on this and other sites.

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One thought on “How to Build a Silicon Valley #2: Go Virtual!

  1. Thanks Sheridan for your inspiring post. As a disclosure to others reading this, I am one of the two persons in Dresden working on the bold dream to create another “Silicon Valley” here in the region.

    To be honest I was thinking about the idea about 10 years ago, and working in small steps ever since. The Cloud, and social networks connecting with like-minded heretics around the globe, only made it for me a real passion to work on it.

    Until next Monday, 9th January, 2012, the business plan competition futureSAX offers to enter entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. I have been already part of it since 2008 and would like to enter (with a 4-page executive summary on HTxA).

    I have just opened up a public EtherPad on http://sync.in/futureSAX2012 for this reason. Please feel free to join in, co-writing it, and learning also for your own project. The language will be English (as most of my network supporters are based elsewhere around the world besides Dresden).

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