Most of us don't travel often. We stick to the bridges and the lakes we're used to and don't go chasing waterfalls. Four out of ten Americans never leave their hometown. And as I'm writing I realize that for as much as I have traveled, I live only 40 minutes away from where I was born.
Every so often I pass the small brick house I grew up in and want to play on the basketball hoop that is still there. But traveling, sometimes multiple times a week for work, has shown me two very distinct possibilities when starting a business in 2018.
It has never been easier to work from any location. But that doesn't mean your current location is the best location. Just because you work from anywhere doesn't mean you have to stay in place.
Your current location may be too expensive (Seattle, San Francisco, New York), it may lack networking possibilities, it may be too far from a major metro for the rare times when you need to do things face-to-face. It may not have easy access to a major airport. And no one is ever excited about making three connecting flights.
Convenience is undervalued.
Routine is not without its benefits. Home is easy. You know where everything is. There is no adjustment necessary. It frees you up to think critically about everything you need to start a business or advance your career as a consultant. Familiarity should be accounted for in any stay-or-go decision.
Access is more important than you think.
But familiarity is not always the best choice. It's just a choice. There are plenty of other cities you've never visited, never thought of or don't know can help you. And almost every city is competitive in some way.
Sure, they all think they are getting Amazon HQ2 and they have a trendy brewery but they really are different and in more ways than just geography or whether they do or don't have a Whole Foods. By the way, Trader Joe's is just as good.
You should think about moving to Albuquerque.
That's a blanket statement, and not true in every circumstance but hopefully it got your attention. It's inexpensive, close to major markets, has a good airport and it's easy to get connected in it's entrepreneurial community. Hundreds of entrepreneurs each year are supported by a close-knit community in one of the country's largest 1 Million Cups meetups.
Ann Lerner, director of Albuquerque's Film Office, has transformed an artistic community in to something much more advantageous. When I met her in November she was super modest about helping secure Breaking Bad or the countless movies and TV shows that film there.
I was told Albuquerque has the second largest sound stage in the United States and gives 25 percent tax incentives to projects that use local crews. That policy has managed to create a thriving creative business.
But it didn't sink in until Margot Robbie was eating lunch next to me and no one in the restaurant cared. That's just every day there now.
And while Los Angeles and New York may present more media opportunities, Albuquerque represents opportunity with access. Create a media or creative startup there and it will get noticed, it will be welcomed and it will be supported. Just make sure to give back to the community.
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's chief operating officer, Synthia Jaramillo, is who you should contact first.
You also may want to move to Providence.
If you're in the middle stages of your startup, Providence represents your best opportunity in the country. It's 45 minutes from Boston, home to Brown University and a vast network of large companies that have recently been lured by Governor Raimondo's aggressive incentives for relocating large businesses.
Virgin Pulse, Johnson & Johnson, GE Digital and more have moved large divisions there or whole headquarters.
You'll have a vast infrastructure to tap in to for employees and incentives--including free R&D at multiple ivy league schools (Brown, Harvard).
But the untapped resource is Brown's vast network of talented, dedicated and accomplished alums. When I spoke there in November I saw all the elements necessary to create a future Silicon Valley even if they're not yet apparent.
World-class talent and ideas, access to capital, proximity to major markets and inexpensive living so you have a longer runway than other markets to fail before you succeed.
Providence has the capital and investors available and plenty of "natural" resources, they just have to open the mine and there will be a rush. Big companies bring talent, talent eventually spins off to create startups, Providence is poised in the next ten years to grow in to a top five emerging market for tech and entrepreneurship.