How vital is a name?

Shoreditch is no Palo Alto. For all David Cameron’s declared intention to boost London’s role as a world-class “Tech City”, we don’t yet have the scale of available investment of Valley firms such as Kleiner Perkins, nor the entrepreneurial confidence that created multi-billion businesses such as Yahoo and Zynga.

There are, for sure, a bunch of London tech firms that may one day be sold or go public at a billion-pound valuation — fast-growth businesses such as Wonga, Mind Candy and Badoo. And we certainly attract the international talent that favours London as a startup base — which is why Skype and Spotify are based here rather than in Scandinavia. But the Valley is still way ahead in terms of value creation. What’s it got apart from sunshine that east London lacks?

For one, it’s still not very British to declare a brash intention to dominate the world with our entrepreneurial drive. The very name “Silicon Roundabout ” is self-mocking. “A roundabout doesn’t exactly evoke global clout,” says Jawbone creator Alexander Asseily, who last year returned to London after running his successful startup in the Valley.

Why must it be London?  Why can’t they choose a place serviced by a good airport, e.g. Manchester or an airport which can be made good, e.g. Teesside and do what our Trade Min did over in Russia – create a tax-free and regulation suspending zone and a trade village near an ancient rural centre full of picturesque charm?  That’s apparently, when Moscow can keep its hands off it, attracting a great deal of interest.

[H/T Chuckles]

3 comments for “Shoreditch

  1. Wolfie
    February 17, 2012 at 08:57

    It usually a good idea to be near your clients and with a large customer base in the City it seems a good location. Also talented youngsters make their way to London from all over the country so that’s where you’ll find your workforce.

    I should also mention that network infrastructure is dreadful in most of the country outside the cities, Labour let all this tech stuff fester for 13 years so its hard to relocate somewhere greener.

  2. February 17, 2012 at 09:58

    I too fail to understand the big obsession with London. I think in part it is an extension of a flawed mindset that started many moons ago. There was a notion that anything of significance to the nation had to belobg in London. Everytime something was mentioned / planned, there appeared to be a knee jerk reaction along the lines of “well it has do be London, doesn’t it” in which few people seemed to say no.

    Up to a point it was probably tolerable, but the more it persisted, the more it became its own undoing in that such decisions are almost automatic regardless of the fact that it is becoming less and less able to cope.

    The nation is not that large and given where we are with technology, it is even more suited to a distribution of its assets across the whole of the country. However such decisions are determined by politicians, a group currently populated by those unable to consider anything that might need to outlast their tenure.

    I’m sure there are economic benefits too to spreading the growth of the nation across the whole country

  3. Chuckles
    February 17, 2012 at 10:45

    An example of the ’roundabout’ at work. Indeed. Definitely world class.

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