Innovation clearly flourishes within energetic, youthful societies that embrace technology as a means of transforming great ideas into major businesses. Take the Estonian town of Tallinn.
On Tuesday, the New York Times touted this port city on Europe's eastern frontier -- home of Skype and Kazaa -- as the "Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea." In a country of just 1.5 million people, the Times reports, one in eight have cell phones and gas stations are Wi-Fi ready.
A better comparison might be Dodge City. Tallinn, a frozen outpost between Stockholm and St. Petersburg, is taken with a kind of high-tech, frontier-town lawlessness. Both Skype and Kazaa, for instance, operate on peer-to-peer file sharing technology -- the cattle rustlers of the Internet. The city also has an upstart online gambling firm (insert saloon shootout scene here).
But then, along with the occasional gunslinger, frontier towns have always drawn plenty of true pioneers, too.
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