Social connections, hobnobbing with investors, easy access to incredibly high-speed Internet. These are just a few of the reasons to start a company in place like Silicon Valley or New York. But what if the best reason to start a company in a specific place has more to do with moving people around and easy access to labor and other services? In New York, it's just not possible to go from one side of the city to another in 10-20 minutes. In Mountain View, paying for a delivery is exorbitant.
This has not happened yet, or if it has no one has told me yet, but there's a new town that will eventually emerge in the U.S., a place I'd like to call Uberville. It doesn't exist yet. But when it does, it could be the best place possible to start a company. Here's why.
Uberville is more than just a place that lets you schedule your next ride across town using the Uber app. It's a place built on the sharing economy. There are people who can complete tasks for you in person, ala TaskRabbit. There are places to stay that are hosted by other locals, ala AirBnB. There's a sharing economy for everything--food, fitness, transportation, clothes.
I know this already exists in some form in places like San Francisco, but I'm talking about a town that doesn't have nearly that level of population, traffic congestion, or the high costs. It's more like an emerging town-think a city outside of Omaha or some place in Minnesota well beyond the major metro area-that grabs hold of the sharing economy model and runs with it in a way that makes business easier. It might not be a City 2.0 built from scratch, because that doesn't really work, but a city that embraces the Uber ideal.
You jump in a car that offers an extremely low rate for transport and go to a meeting. You pay someone a low rate to run your presentation, which includes setting up the gear. You hire temp workers who can do your accounting or manage your schedule. (Real people who live in the area and enjoy the low cost of living, not virtual assistants in another town.) When you need a catered lunch, there's a service for that located up the block, not in expensive San Jose. Need someone to provide security for your office? No problem. There's the Uber equivalent of that. In fact, there's an Uber for almost everything. Because the costs are so low, the traffic is so smooth, the economy is built from the ground-up on sharing, and even things like liability insurance and laundry service are not so astronomical, you can make it all work.
Uberville would not just be a concept a few of the inhabitants support or a place that conducts a temporary social experiment. The town itself would be built on the sharing economy. With apologies to taxi companies, Uberville would only let you catch a ride with Uber (or Lyft, or whichever service you want that has contract with the city). The grocery store would be in on the act as well for deliveries. As much as I like FedEx and UPS, they wouldn't exist in their current form with trucks and drivers (and neither would the post office). Instead, there would be TaskRabbit delivery personnel who deliver boxes from a central hub. Thousands of people would have jobs because of this model.
This is a new format for a city, which require new laws (and new kinds of taxes). It's a little far-fetched, but you know what? I want to move there. I want to live and work there. I can see how my job would be much easier. It might never come to fruition, but then again no one ever imagined renting out your guest room to a stranger, either.