Bye bye London, hello Silicon Valley!

Silicon Valley

After two years thinking about it, today I finally arrived for good in Silicon Valley! When I moved to London 18 months ago I always knew it was going to be a stepping-stone to the Valley, but it’s taken me a while to make that next move.

I’ve moved for all the obvious reasons that you might think of, but above all I’m here because I love this place. The atmosphere, the energy and the buzz is like nowhere else I’ve been, and I’m looking forward to soaking it all up. (And also the weather).

I blogged just last week about why I believe location matters to any startup, and while I still think London is a good place to be for many, for me, Silicon Valley is where I need to be now. People often ask me if it’s really better in the valley, but unless you’ve been it’s difficult to appreciate it. The technology and startup ecosystem here stretches back almost a hundred years, although most people think of 1938 as the key moment when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started working on HP in a Palo Alto garage. Post-war, the “silicon” was put into the valley, when Fairchild Semiconductor pioneered mass-production of transistors, and this company later gave birth to Intel in the 60s. The Venture Capital industry started here as well, decades ago and remains the world’s largest concentration of risk capital, in fact most of them all work on the same street. Palo Alto is also home to Stanford Universty whose graduates have spawned tech giants such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, Cisco, Intuit, PayPal, Sun Microsystems, Electronic Arts and VMWare, to name just a few.

The main business drivers for my move are better access to that experienced tech talent and access to more funding, on better terms. There is a real shortage of both in London.

Why now?

I spent two weeks in the valley last month, my longest and best trip there so far. Lots of interesting things happened as a result, such as meeting SaaS experts, which will really help me accelerate Teamly, as well as seeing strong investor interest.

On my return to London two pivotal things happened, within 24 hours of each other:

1. I had lunch with another startup founder, who – speaking from his own experience – said, “there is never a perfect time to make the move; there will always be a better time just around the corner.”

2. Following Steve Jobs death, I re-read the text of his Stanford commencement address, and it just moved me to make this decision NOW.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

I realised the only thing stopping me from moving was me.

What are YOU holding back from doing now?

P.S. I’ll be back home for Christmas and New Year – hope to see you then!

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18 Responses to Bye bye London, hello Silicon Valley!

  1. Amazing – great to read this, Scott!

    I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    dan

  2. Guy Rigby says:

    Great post. Good luck.
    Guy

  3. I think you’ve made the right decision Scott! Welcome to the valley!

  4. Murray Buchanan says:

    Good for you Scott and good luck. I know many who want to move there but increasingly strict visa restrictions have prevented or deterred them. How are you doing it? Any tips?

  5. Congratulations! I’m really happy for you and sure you’ll do great there.

  6. Chris Burgess says:

    A long way and a massive move forward in life from Freedom Mobiles and Glasgow Scott. Congrats on such a major step. Good luck mate! Keep in touch.

  7. guest says:

    what about your teamly-team is moving with you?

  8. Thanks all for the kind comments here, by email and twitter! You are all very kind to take the time to say “good luck”!

  9. [...] me, you’ll know I’ve been wanting to do it for a while now, and now I finally have! (See blog for more details.) If I can help any of you, or your startups, now that I’m over here in the bay area, [...]

  10. chris says:

    Well done, I remember your emails from the orange list days.

  11. [...] from Birmingham to West Lodge. Or have you considered moving even further afield? All the best to Scott Allison who has moved to Silicon Valley this [...]

  12. [...] week after moving to Silicon Valley and I’m very pleased and relieved to say that I’ve found somewhere to stay! It’s [...]

  13. Really awesome Scott. Good luck in the Valley, I definitely think you made the right move. Go big or go home!

  14. Steven says:

    Mind and put on the sun cream though, I hope you’ve packed plenty of factor 50 :)

    All the best, hopefully catch up next time you’re back in Glasgow.

  15. This blog has gone quiet, I was enjoying the journey!

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