When Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard in the summer of 2004, he didn’t move his fledgling company to the mountains, or the Gulf of Mexico, or San Francisco, he moved to Silicon Valley. Well, Palo Alto to be precise. In an interview with Y Combinator partner Jessica Livingston last year, he said of his impression of Silicon Valley, “You get this feeling that you need to be out here.” Many founders are familiar with this magnetic force. It’s the reason that Silicon Valley has been a mecca for technology companies and startups over the last several decades.
Of course, Facebook left the East Coast eight years ago, and a lot has changed in the meantime. In the same interview, Zuckerberg admits that he probably wouldn’t choose Silicon Valley as the base of operations for Facebook if he had it to do all over again. Sure, the money is still in the Valley, but as Startup Genome has shown, entrepreneurs aren’t feeling the same pressure to move to Silicon Valley as they once did. Tech hubs are shifting to urban centres across the country, and as the Valley loses some of its momentum, it seems that its neighbour is moving swiftly to pick up the slack.