Nashville vs Memphis, Silicon Valley vs Anywhere

Nashville vs Memphis, Silicon Valley vs Anywhere

'support' photo (c) 2006, Vladimer Shioshvili - license: always happens at the Atlanta Lean Startup Circle meetings, the after meeting conversation turned to competing with Silicon Valley for talent and money.

For some reason I was reminded of a conversation I had with influential harmonica player David Harp in 1998 (that actually was his name, strange coincidence).   It was more of rant really.  He listed off a long talented, groundbreaking, and just plain awesome musicians in all genres who moved from Memphis to Nashville over the years.

It was a standard grumpy old man rant about why his town (we were in Memphis, his hometown) had been cheated out of glory.  Then he said one thing that stuck with me, lot these many years.

Memphis produces ten times the musicians that Nashville does, both in quality and quantity.  Nashville produces ten times the infrastructure.  Talent will always move to infrastructure and never the other way around.

I think that sums it up nicely  The infrastructure in both cases consists largely of middle aged specialists.  It is far easier for risk tolerant young people to move to the risk averse specialists, which leads to a few specialized hubs, and a lot of farm team cities.


Written By Steve French


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