Sunday January 07, 2018

Shanghai, Berlin and L.A. lure top tech talent away from Silicon Valley

Preethi Kasireddy picked up stakes and left Silicon Valley

Preethi Kasireddy picked up stakes and left Silicon Valley (Maxwell Hawes IV)

Listen 6:26

Preethi Kasireddy seems like the kind of person who would love Silicon Valley. She's a young, ambitious engineer and entrepreneur working in the smoking hot blockchain sector. But while many people still see Silicon Valley as the centre of the universe for tech startups, Preethi is picking up stakes and moving.

When she first arrived in Silicon Valley, back in 2012, it seemed like a perfect fit. "It was really cool to see, and work with, people who were incredibly smart, incredibly accomplished, and really had big dreams for what they wanted to do," she explains. "I was amazed by how much I was able to learn."

"I'd go to coffee shops and kind of hear the same stories over and over again" - Preethi Kasireddy

She's grateful for the opportunities it provided, but she started to become disenchanted with the culture. "I just started to notice a lot of similar thinking and groupthink," she says. "I'd go to coffee shops and kind of hear the same stories over and over again."

And while Silicon Valley is obviously still a leading hotbed for tech innovation, traveling showed Preethi how much was going on in other parts of the world. "I started to realize there are really smart people and developers everywhere around the world. It's not just Silicon Valley," she says. "It's actually more fun to be in places where they think about things a little bit differently, and they have different problems and different perspectives."

It's this different perspective that she values. "It's increasingly evident that...especially emerging markets are starting to see smart people solve problems that someone in Silicon Valley would never even think about solving."

Lists of hot cities for the tech sector now regularly include cities all over the world, such as Berlin, Shanghai, and Bangalore.

Although she considered leaving the U.S., for now, Preethi has relocated to Los Angeles. She admits that part of the draw is the weather, but she also values the opportunity, and the diversity. "You're starting to see a lot of seed funds," she explains. "And very unique seed funds. For example...focused on funding diversity-oriented entrepreneurs...They're very encouraging of diversity here, and entrepreneurship diversity. And that was really cool to see. It was just different from Silicon Valley."

You can read Preethi's essay on Leaving Silicon Valley here.