I have decided it is kind of like the saying "Why did I rob banks? Because that's where the money is." SF is where the money is. Where the networking possibilities are. Where it is easier to get coverage in the tech press because that's where so many of the tech reporters are.
All of those can be overcome if you aren't in SF but that means you are spending time overcoming those things - time that could be spent on making your product. You may spend tons on rent and have to pay your employees a lot more but it is easier to get more funding than it is to get more time.
Agreed, but once you have the money, execute in a place I describe above.
Most tech startups don't make it so why not use the extra capital (because rent is much lower) as insurance to succeed.
I have worked in numerous places throughout the US. My most successful venture has been to licence my tech to a commercial company. I live in a small town and travel around the world each year for fun. Its a nice pace of life. I visit some friends in San Fran and find the talent there honestly not that great. Sure, there are lots of good programmers but you need a lot more than good programmers to succeed.
What has the state done to attract startups? Do they still enforce non-competes? Do they have well funded schools focused on tech? And, quite frankly, does your state have something that makes people actually want to live there?