Attendees of FOWA at the start of the month may remember the end of Paul Graham's keynote speech about startup hubs when Ryan Carson jumped up on stage and contradicted everything Paul had just been saying — to thunderous applause! Well there's been a bit of a back and forth since then that makes some interesting reading.
Starting from the beginning for those who weren't there, or who were there but were still too hung over from the Carsonified launch party: Paul Graham is from Y-Combinator which does angel funding for web startups. One of the points made in his speech was that startups have a much greater chance of success if they base themselves in Silicon Valley and that this is likely to continue to be the case in the future. You can listen to his speech in full or read the article he wrote for his website based on it. Ryan's verbal rebuttal (which you can hear on the end of the MP3 above) was along the lines of "Screw Silicon Valley, we can do just as well here in Britain."
Paul then wrote another article expanding on his original claim that while startups can certainly succeed elsewhere, the melting pot of people, resources, infrastructure and ideas that is Silicon Valley gives startups a better chance of success. Ryan countered again on his blog.
In the end I think this comment sums it up best:
[Ryan's blog post] doesn’t do anything to dispute what Paul Graham has said. To me, it seemed clear [Paul] was saying that, all things equal, your startup has the best odds in Silicon Valley. You go on to say that it is bad for Europe to make this claim, that there are many resources for startups in Europe, and that there have been several successful startups. This is true, however, none of this in any way disputes the claim that moving your startup to Silicon Valley provides you with the best opportunity.