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Top 10 States for Entrepreneurs -- The list may be surprising (businessweek.com)
12 points by danielha on Feb 28, 2007 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

This reminds me of those college rankings where they calculate each college's score by dividing the number of books in the library by the percent of faculty with beards. GI, GO.

I think the algorithm needs some work. It could make sense mathematically, but it doesn't model things correctly.

Take Virginia, for example:

"Ranked No. 1 in the "Fastest-Growing Firms" indicator" and "Ranked No. 2 in the "High-Tech Jobs" indicator,"

and then

"Ranked No. 47 in the "Entrepreneurial Activity" indicator"

We have a lot of fast-growing firms, a lot of high tech jobs, but very few people are running startups here.

But if you think about it, what is it that makes a startup hub? A university campus? A high tech sector? PG says a lot about this, I think the conclusion is that they exist where you make them exist.

Does anyone have any thoughts of the list?

I'd have thought that California would be placed higher than spot 5.

From the article:

"The rankings are not a guide to the best states to start a new business, nor are they the best states to move a business to—at least not in the traditional sense of weighing where to find cheap labor and low taxes, says Rob Atkinson, president of the ITIF and lead author of the study. "But if you're an entrepreneur trying to do something new, something that's based on new kinds of products or services, and you want to be globally linked and need highly skilled workers and IT infrastructure, this is a much more accurate tool for that," says Atkinson."


So I'm interested to see exactly what parameters went into determining the best places for "an entrepreneur trying to do something new."

Well, did you notice most of the top ten list had things like- Ranked No. 50 in the "Entrepreneurial Activity" indicator. Obviously they weighed that indicator very lightly or else ignored it altogether. As for me, I think that in a free (enough) market the entrepreneurial activity indicator would be the most accurate of all. I think this article was to help state and civic governments feel good about themselves. Even the indicators like Venture Funding available and IT force don't mean much in the context of startups, in my opinion. Not if the IT force are all government workers (like in Virginia) or the VC firm has a small portfolio of enormous brick-and-mortar businesses (dunno if that's true in one of those).

Possibly insightful initial data. Bad algorithm IMO for the conclusion.

Ah, see- Elfan just posted this: http://news.ycombinator.com/comments?id=1568 Exactly.

Oregon's got a lot going in the open source arena (besides having Linus Torvalds living there). Almost enough to make me pack up and go home...

There's only one metric worth paying attention to when deciding how good a place is for entrepreneurs - the number of successful companies started there.

Silicon Valley is the best place for tech startups because there are more tech success stories here than anywhere else. Success stories bring with them: - Capital injection into the economy - Happy investors prepared to take more risk in their portfolio - Inspiration to young entrepreneurs - More networks and experience

Anything else is irrelevant in my opinion.

This top 10 list is worthless your right. especially to this community. Heres why:

The entrepreneurs on this "newsgroup" are ALL web entrepreneurs. This means that half of the criteria do not even pertain our needs/interests as founders of entrepreneurial ventures. (tech populations / graduation rates may apply but those should be looked at separately.

Let me pose this question. If VC/angel fudning / programmers needs / location was not an issue, where would you start your company?

There are a lot of places in this country that in my opinion would gather much more interest on a local level that starting a company in NY or SF. I think by starting a web company in an already "hot" web area is like opening a starbucks across the street from a starbucks? Sure you know it will get business, but it would be better if it was the 1st starbucks on a major University Campus.

By launching in a less saturated market, you have the benefit of traditional sources of media attention so that you receive high adoption rates locally, which as we know is vital to high adoption rates globally. Does company location have anything to do with adoption rates?


Oregon doesn't seem to have some of the specialist infrastructure that's geared towards startups the way the Bay Area does. I'm looking for a law firm in Eugene, but none of the ones that I've talked to seem to be particularly aware of or competent in the areas I need them to have.

It's weird, in Portland there is at least enough density and activity that they get a sustained push and startups either get off the ground or go bust, Eugene seems to have a bunch of lifestyle companies that were formed elsewhere and moved here for the amenities. The only local company that broke the 100 employee barrier recently is sinking fast because they only ever had one customer, who decided to take things in house.

On paper, this town looks ideal; university, low cost of living, easily accessible to the west coast/I5 corridor, very livable friendly town, plenty of cheap commercial real estate if you need offices, a couple of decent sized datacenters if you feel a need to be close to the machines. Plenty of technically savvy people, and there are a few entrepreneurs locally, but the company building part of things seems to happen elsewhere.

Eugene and Portland are worlds apart. I don't think it's a coincidence that Nike split for Portland as soon as they got going. Starting a company in Eugene would be ok from certain points of view, but I don't think it's big enough to have critical mass in some areas. There are some good things happening in Portland, though. For instance:



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