You're Already Living in the Next Silicon Valley
BY Matt Cooper
Thanks to online work, these 10 countries are the newest hotbeds of innovation.
Austin Church is an entrepreneur living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Church has two start-ups--a marketing & mobile app development start-up called Bright Newt and an online video training start-up called Kicktastic--and both companies are 100% virtual.
He employs a combination of local freelancers and freelancers based around the globe--from the UK to Russia, from Argentina to Vietnam. He hires online for specialized skills he often can’t easily find in his local area, especially mobile app development and user interface design. Without these on-demand resources and specialized talent, Church would not have been able to build his businesses.
Embracing Online Resources
Today, entrepreneurship hubs are no longer limited to metro hotspots like the San Francisco Bay area or New York City. Tech innovation is increasingly bringing start-ups everywhere access to the resources they need to thrive.
These communities are embracing online resources--including collaboration tools like Skype, cloud-computing platforms like Amazon Web Services, and project hosting services like GitHub--and taking advantage of improved access to talent via online workplaces.
By breaking down the "set-time, set-place" barriers of Industrial-Age work, businesses can innovate and grow regardless of where they happen to be located. This is fueling startup growth around the world, to the tune of more than $1B spent hiring on oDesk so far. And as remote work becomes increasingly mainstream, startups that were entirely virtual from Day One are staying that way even as they grow to big companies--just look at Stack Overflow and Auttomatic.
Through my work at oDesk, I have witnessed regional "Silicon Valleys" across the globe gaining prominence and catalyzing their own networks of entrepreneurs, investors and advisors. The data we see from our userbase shows that the top ten countries hiring online workers--often considered a leading indicator of tech-savvy regions--are spread across the globe:
1. U.S. 2. Australia 3. Canada 4. UK 5. UAE 6. Germany 7. Netherlands 8. France 9. Denmark 10. Israel
The entrepreneurial community is now thinking globally from the start. It is no longer just large multinationals that "go global" when the time is right, but rather start-ups that are developing business models around global opportunity.
Start-ups and small businesses will grow faster and grab market share from their larger competitors by tapping into a global pool of online, on-demand professionals--and the world’s growing entrepreneurial communities will thrive as a result.
MATT COOPER is the Vice President of International and Enterprise at oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. He circles the globe providing guidance on the future of work, and working with both startups and enterprises to help them leverage online work. @matt_cooper