The city I have lived in for the past 10 years just isn't a very good environment for internet entrepreneurs and I feel like it's holding me back. I just graduated from college in December so I've decided that it is time for a change. I understand it's expensive, but I'm willing to live on the cheap for the opportunity to surround myself with like-minded individuals and mentally stimulating experiences. After tax season, I'll be ready to pack my bags and go. I already make money as an independent contractor over the internet, so work will not be much of a problem.
Is this gung ho attitude an example of stepping outside my comfort zone and making things happen, or would it be a mistake to move 3000 miles across the country with false hopes, like the 16 year-old runaways moving to Hollywood with dreams of becoming the next big thing?
Has anyone else moved to SV hoping to put their entrepreneurial drive into full gear? Want to share your experiences?
I moved from a small town in Georgia 3 years ago to Boston, to be part of the web startup scene there. Since then, I've founded two startups (the first failing, the second going well and about to enter beta), and contributed in minor or major ways to several others. The number of people involved in startups that I knew well went from less than 10 or so online, to several dozen in person.
Moving to put yourself in a better place for what you want to do is absolutely something I'd recommend. The main thing to keep in mind is that even when surrounded by opportunities, they aren't going to offer themselves to you one by one. You'll still have to get out there and go to events, network, chat within the local sphere of users on twitter, make certain the day-to-day conditions of your living/working environment are conducive to productivity, and balance supporting yourself with pursuing your startup goals.
With all that in mind, my top recommendations if you move are:
Congratulations! By actually moving, you are separating yourself from 95% of the others who think they could do it, who dream that they could do it, but somehow, never actually take the first step.
Silicon Valley is amazing. You'll fit right at home, because everywhere you go, everyone you meet, has the exact same objective. You want to do a startup? Everyone here does. You'll never feel more normal than here!
For more, read the 3 Must-attend places for new entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley.
In fact, Scott Banister did the same thing that you propose: "That year, a University of Illinois student named Scott Banister hit upon adding ads to these search results. He quit college in 1996 and drove his Geo hatchback to California to start a company around his idea, which he called Keywords." (source: WSJ ).
I say go for it. You will never create anything great if you do not step outside your comfort zone.
The reason this argument doesn't work for actors moving to Hollywood is because most actors are not selected based upon their merit (a lot of good actors never get work), and because in Hollywood there are very few strategies for advancing your career. In technology, however, you have a lot of possible directions forward.
I think it is awesome! Good luck with everything. I'm hoping that if all goes to plan that I will be doing the same this year. I started the business straight out of high school, no university, so moving to SV is a great idea for entrepreneurship.
However, I highly agree with the comment above. I have contacts in SV that all tend to think very similarly, and you can get caught up in that web of thought if you are not careful. Always remember to stick to your guns in business, and take advice with a grain of salt.
Hopefully we can connect down in SV later on!