The military weighs in. With the Iraq campaign winding down, and Afghanistan ratcheting up again, the Small Wars Journal put out a call for lessons learned on the influence of Intenet media on the Surge in particular, and war fighting in general. You can follow links from the cited post for opinions from serving military, veterans, strategists and others, or grab this PDF to read it all in one place. Fascinating and thoughtful stuff, relevant for anyone with an interest in military affairs, foreign policy or new media. If you follow just one link from this post, read this.
Times are changing. Y Combinator's Paul Graham asks an intriguing question: Can a city outside of Silicon Valley buy its way into the high tech ventures game? That used to be a dumb question, though often ignored by wannabe politicians and Chambers of Commerce, both in the US and elsewhere. The talent and capital pools of the Valley, combined with decades of network formation and institutional memory, gave it a regional advantage nearly impossible to duplicate. Doing so would be a 20 year slog, well beyond the attention span of politicians. Those who tried ended up with empty 'venture incubators' and busted portfolios of local champions crushed when they left their home court.
That could be changing. The Valley isn't what it once was, between the business killing antics of the California government and the outsourcing of most junior 'farm team' technology jobs to elsewhere. Still, the capital lives here, and often startups find it necessary to be local to access it. That's Paul's line of attack, that there needs to be funding for the whole life cycle available in any wannabe locale. And not controlled by politicians, but by investors who've earned their stripes as entrepreneurs or angels. He suggests how to piggyback the Valley's network of angels as talent scouts.
He could be onto something, though there's one thing he's not saying: The future of the early stage specialist investor looks dim. With two severe downturns within one decade, not having funds to follow a company through its whole life-cycle is a recipe for being crammed down and washed out, an additional burden to the IRR forecast on top of the normal vicissitudes of early stage venture. That is a second indicator that non-Valley venues should have funds for the whole life cycle. That would also indicate that any locales wanting to try Paul's idea will focus on software and services, whose falling capital requirements have made them increasingly difficult to fit into the Valley model.
Just another MSM rag. Once upon a day, it was worth dealing with the eye-bashing layouts and colors of Wired for the nuggets of pithy observation and cogent analysis buried in there. It's been quite a while though, and as it morphed into yet another fashion magazine, I dropped my sub and stopped following it. Now it's apparently fallen to the level of the common media - if you can't find enough stories, make something up. Chris Anderson, call your office.