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October 31, 2011

Zuckerberg claims Silicon Valley is too focused on “short-term”

Facebook boss says he'd stay in Boston if starting again

By Steve Evans


Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed Silicon Valley is too focused on the short-term and he would keep his company in Boston if he was starting again now.

In a rare interview, Zuckerberg told Y Combinator’s Startup School that despite his reservations about Silicon Valley Facebook would not have been successful id it had not moved to the spiritual home of technology companies.

"If I were starting now I would do things very differently," Zuckerberg said. "You get this feeling when you are out here in the Silicon Valley that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston."

"Silicon Valley is a little short-term focused in a way that bothers me. There’s a culture here where people don’t commit to doing things. I feel like a lot of companies built outside of Silicon Valley seem to be focused on a longer-term," he added.

"I had a conversation with [Amazon founder and CEO Jeff] Bezos about this one time. The average amount of time that someone stays in a job in Seattle is almost twice as long as it is out here. That’s not necessarily good for itself. But the first year of doing anything you’re just learning what the hell you’re doing. And then to do anything really good it takes at least a few years after that," he said.

Zuckerberg added that elements such as, "great engineers [in Silicon Valley], there’s great universities, there’s a lot of great VCs," mean many companies will head there and he admits that, "Facebook would not have worked if I’d stayed in Boston. But I think that now, knowing more of what I know, I might have been able to pull it off."

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Silicon Valley has long been the central point for technology start-ups in the US and around the world, although the UK is trying to change that with London’s Silicon Roundabout, an area of technology start-ups centred on the Old Street area of east London.

You can read CBR’s in-depth report on Silicon Roundabout here.

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