Back to our discussion of innovation.
Could Atlanta become a black Silicon Valley?
In its current incarnation, and without some drastic measures, I have an easy answer for you: NO.
In his amazing post on how to create a Silicon Valley, Paul Graham names the two types of people needed to get the tech start up engine churning: rich people and nerds.
To get nerds, you have to have an academic/research community. And Atlanta does: We have Emory University, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University....sounds like enough nerds to me.
When I was at Morehouse, I met so many geniuses that everyday I would say if we don't leave here and start a Microsoft? (for details on my question mark, see my post below)...then we've lost our minds...
What about rich folks?
That doesn't seem to be a problem either. According to an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the ATL has cash and mulit-millionaires comin' out the wazoo. In fact, we're ranked No. 7 in the nation in terms of our concentration of households with more than $5 million in investable assets, and ahead of similar size cities such as Charlotte and Miami in terms of our rate of growth in the area of wealthy households (households with at least $1 million in investable assets.)
So wealth ain't the issue either. So what's the problem?
As Paul Graham points out, there is a distinct connection between technology and liberalism. He even provides a map from the recent election: just in case you're unsure how your region rates in terms of its notion of liberty. But if you're from Georgia, you already know the deal: you're from the home of Confederate battle flags, Sons of the South, and on and on.But maybe a few key examples from the Wondaland's forays into the Atlanta investment community will help you understand what's really goin on.
Suffice it to say that I do believe Atlanta has a severe case of warped world views, racism and chronic "traditional value syndrome." From a tech investment standpoint, Atlanta's very sick, on both the black and white sides. If I were a doctor, I would recommend surgery immediately.
For more on this, see my coming post Black Folks Vs. the Future.