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Woz Makes Another Case For Starting Where You Are

SteveWozBBT Woz Makes Another Case For Starting Where You Are

(photo: CBS)

Everybody knows the name Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple often thought and known to be the brains behind the outfit while Steve Jobs was the magician behind the marketing. Woz is looked at as a rock-star icon in the tech world often held in the same esteem as Stephen Hawking. He too has been a featured guest on The Big Bang Theory.

Regardless of his celebrity or fame, Wozniak is also one of the most brilliant minds in the technical space and when he talks people tend to listen. It’s rumored that he may be the mystery speaker at the upcoming conference

One of the great things about Woz is that he does tend to mix up his speeches sprinkling anecdotes about his Apple career, teaching career and entrepreneurial career throughout.

While many startup cities outside of Silicon Valley or “Everywhere Else” like to call themselves Silicon This and Silicon That, Woz took the stage at an event organized by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal on Monday and made a case against that.

It’s a theme that Pando Daily founder and editor Sarah Lacy has been trumpeting for years. Her logic, explained in detail here, is that most cities that nickname themselves Silicon something, don’t actually produce startups. Conversely, when those cities, take New York for instance, actually do start producing hit startups on a regular basis, they drop the Silicon. So it’s ok to embrace the valley when you need it but then when you’ve made it forget it.

“You need to ask yourself what do you have that makes you special. Not how you can be a different place. The desire to search for something newer and better is part of our nature,” Woz said at the event.

I’ve always said Fuck all that. In fact it’s the only thing that Boyd Stephens, a startup community leader in the “Silicon Blackbelt” area of Alabama and I disagree on. I have noticed though that he’s gone for a less Silicon like “cyber corridor” name as of late.

At any rate, Betakit reports that The Woz is too on board with the fact that startup communities outside of Silicon Valley shouldn’t call themselves Silicon anything. Rather they should focus on what they’re good at.

As for the depths of Montreal’s startup ecosystem, they’re finding they are quite enamored with smart technologically minded people. Betakit notes that startups like PasswordBox, Tab, Busbud, Lagoa, Intellitix and Mobeewave have helped mold the Montreal community.

Down in Montgomery, they should abandon the Silicon Blackbelt concept, continue going with Cyber Corridor and also RevolutionMGM, but moreso, the community is focused on social related technology. They’re looking at how they can pine off the heritage rich in civil rights and create technological platforms to highlight and continue that work. Every community has their thing. Silicon Valley’s just happens to be Silicon in fact that goes all the way back to the Fairchild days.