Google Co-Founder on Silicon Valley’s Risks

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If Google co-founder Sergey Brin had to launch a new company tomorrow, there’s a good chance he’d consider doing it somewhere other than Silicon Valley, at least according to comments he made at last week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Brin cited the area’s costs, including but not limited to “real estate, salaries” during boom years, as a key reason why “it can be hard to make a scrappy initial business” succeed. (Hat tip to Business Insider for the original link; fast-forward this YouTube video to 34:45 to see Brin speaking at the conference.)

But while it might prove more cost-effective to set up a business in other parts of the world, he added, Silicon Valley also provides a good deal of capital, while tolerating a high degree of risk and failure.

“I think the world today, and one of the challenges of globalization is that in any particular category there are relatively few victors. Being the number five or number six company in some category is just not really viable, and that doesn’t give a lot of space for people to explore and develop,” he said. “Silicon Valley I think on some level tends to invest more to push the bounds there.”

Silicon Valley paid out an average annual salary of $118,243 to tech professionals in 2015, a year-over-year rise of 5 percent. That placed it ahead of New York City ($106,263 average annual salary), Los Angeles ($105,091), Boston ($103,675), and Seattle ($103,309). Specialists in key categories such as mobile development and cloud architecture can expect to earn substantially more; if you’re a Bay Area startup, hiring the right mix of tech pros to fit your budget is a potentially daunting task.

“Luck is just a huge part of the equation,” Brin also mentioned at one point, which is something every startup founder should keep in mind. When Google started up, he told the audience, a handful of other companies in Silicon Valley were likewise exploring the possibilities of Web search; while you can’t discount the role that Google’s design and underlying algorithms played in its ultimate success, there’s also a certain element of good fortune involved.

Image Credit: Neirfy / Shutterstock.com

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