I have to admit upfront: I didn't move to Dallas voluntarily... We moved from Israel to Silicon Valley in 1998, and in 2003, due to my work at Texas Instruments, we moved to Dallas. I heard everything you've heard: that it's a boring city, it's hot in the summer, and it's cold at winter. Nothing really happens there.
But reality couldn't be farther from the truth. Last week I attended the launch party for Dallas Innovates, a new collaboration of the Dallas Regional Chamber and D Magazine Partners (the picture above was taken during the event, when the city building owners collaborated in lighting their buildings purple for the party, which was an impressive sight to see). Hosted on the 19th floor of St. Paul Place, the party looked like any party I attended in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s. Creative people, creative products, and creative companies were all there.
As I started digging (with the help of Jana J. Pruet, executive editor of Dallas Innovates), I found the following interesting facts:
Dallas-Fort Worth is No. 1 in Texas for largest concentration of high-tech workers and rank No. 7 in the U.S. (EMSI, 2015)
Dallas is America's No. 1 "most business-friendly city" (MarketWatch, 2015)
The Dallas region has the highest concentration of professional and graduate degrees in business and management (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2016.)
Best large sized cities for growth [Dallas-Irving-Plano] (New Geography, 2015.)
Twenty One Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the Dallas Area, including: Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Energy Transfer Equity, American Airlines, Fluor, Kimberly-Clark, Holly Frontier, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, Texas Instruments, J.C. Penney, Dean Foods, GameStop, D.R. Horton, Commercial Metals, Celanese, Trinity Industries, Dr Pepper, Energy Future, Alliance Data Systems, and Pioneer Natural Resources. Not to mention Toyota moving their North America's Headquarters here, and EDS, which in the 1980s was responsible to the explosive growth in Plano.
But forget all of this--here is what makes it exciting:
Silicon Valley's success was attributed to the combination of large technology companies (such as HP) and large research universities (such as Stanford, UC Berkeley), and "free migration" of people between them. Well, on top of Texas Instruments, EDS, and many other technology companies, 3 Dallas area universities (UT Arlington, University of North Texas, and UT Dallas) were recently ranked R-1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
To complement those, AT&T has an innovation lab in Dallas, and several business accelerators such as Tech Wildcatters (focused on B2B), Health Wildcatters (focus on life science technologies), the North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC), the North Texas Angel Network (NTAN) and other organizations offer the support entrepreneurs need to launch their businesses.
Last year, Forbes named Dallas one of five cities "poised to become The next Silicon Valley Hub" because of its "relatively low housing costs, low unemployment rates, median tech salaries higher than the median salary for the city's total workforce, there presence of major tech companies, and venture capital funding to spawn new businesses."
If you ask me--Dallas is about to explode with creativity. Just wait and see!
(I would like to thank Jana J. Pruet of Dallas Innovates for helping me with this post).