I found it interesting because I had met up with the Director of ad:tech the evening before, and we discussed the relative merits of being based in Sydney, particularly from a web innovation perspective.
My view is that its a tiny community here, I have only been back in Sydney for a year, after being in London for 4 years, and already I know many of the players here. Thats a good thing in a way: easy to network, hopefully easy to strike up useful mutually beneficial partnerships later on; but not so good in other ways: limited exposure to a majority of the global web innovation players, compounded with the unfortunate Sydney trait towards inflated self-importance.
His view was that there was an extraordinary amount of talent and innovation happening in Sydney, and that although it doesn’t rival the supremacy of Silicon Valley and London, there is great creativity here that is worth being proud of. He did say that he did find Sydney tended to follow the lead of London and Silicon Valley, but that it needn’t. Quite a hopeful message, I thought.
For me at this point in time, location is irrelevant. I just need to focus on building and launching my site, and improving it based on the feedback of local users that will be relatively easy to market to. When I may start to wish I wasn’t here will be when I am ready to take the world on. I have grand plans for my site, and my meagre savings won’t accommodate those plans. I will need funding then, and from what I have read, the Australian seed capital market for new online businesses is small and risk-averse. I will also want to start to explore building strategic relationships with certain other sites, and being based here will make that process difficult (although not impossible of course).
I have no intention of ever moving to Silicon Valley. So, instead, in true patriotic spirit, I will aspire to be part of the surge of Australian entrepreneurs that are doing exciting and innovative things locally, so that we start to develop a global reputation for digital greatness. I know enough people based here with valuable contacts to hopefully mean there is some scope to strike up valuable strategic relationships and necessary funding. And, I am not averse to travelling to London on a regular basis (I do love that city).
There may be disadvantage to being based in Sydney if trying to build a web business, but we live in a highly connected world, with new web conferencing applications and social networking sites popping up all over the place. If we believe in the direction and value of this technology, surely we need to start acting like we do, and rely less on physical location.