Having the privilege of living in Silicon Valley (and before having lived in London and Berlin) I can see the lure of locating your startup in the heart of one of these beehives of startup activity. And I regularly have the conversation with founders about relocating to a startup hub.
There surely are many good reasons to be here (or in any other hub in the world) — density of talent and capital, a strong entrepreneurial culture, lots of likeminded folks and, in the case of Silicon Valley, amazing weather. But for each of these positives, there is also a negative: cost of living is sky-high; you are a small fish in a very big pond; cutthroat competition and, to stay in the Silicon Valley case, a drought.
Where this becomes particularly complicated is for founders who are not completely independent twenty-somethings — those of us who have a family, are tied to a place for specific reasons or those who maybe want to balance their lives with other things than just work.
To those I say: Honestly, location doesn’t matter all that much. In today’s age — where travel is comparatively cheap; where we have free high-quality video calling and shared, collaborative document editing in the cloud (and all the other things which make this globe truly connected and smaller by the minute) — you can be pretty much anywhere and be successful.
Point in case: Warren Buffett. Arguably the most successful investor ever to roam this planet lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska. And not just after he became successful but since 1958 when he bought his house there (in which he still lives!).
Don’t over-rotate on where to locate your startup and instead focus on building a damn good product. The rest will follow.