Growing up in the North Bay I was always aware of the Silicon Valley tech scene. Yet I was more interested in experiencing the world away from home so I traveled to Africa, went to college in LA and for my career I went to Asia. After working for Elex Tech & Cheetah Mobile, I started at my first startup in Beijing, and later transitioned to my current company in Taipei. While working at startups in Asia I have noticed the curiosity in people’s faces when I tell them I am from the Bay Area. They curiously wonder: if you are from the Bay Area, why start a startup in Asia?
“The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside.” – Peter Thiel
The Outsider Advantage
Positioning yourself and your company in a unique location, different from your comfort zone, will empower you to learn more. Being an outsider allows you to see bigger pictures, understand more connections and see problems that need to be solved.
Different regional markets represent opportunities for you to work with clients who are willing to try new things, and try them at scale. For example, my current company, Bubbleye, is taking of great advantages to work with ad networks in Asia who need new targeting solutions. Sharing your technology with foreign markets might be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding.
Living and working in foreign countries is difficult, but the upside is that through these difficulties you can form relationships that will last a lifetime. Living and working abroad will give you the courage to help others, even when it doesn’t benefit you, but will help the community.
So, my advice if you’re willing, is to pack your bags and head somewhere new. It will create new business opportunities, generate new knowledge for you and build lifelong relationships. So go for it! You can always go home later, but you can’t always take the chances that you have now.