Explaining Southern California's economy

The possibly meaningless LA startup map that everyone is talking about

Represent-LA

Welcome to Los Angeles! The land of startups!

The interactive map above, which lives at represent.la, has been the talk of the Twitters and the L.A. startup community for a week now. One of the companies on the map, Ebyline, actually generated a blog post about what it all means. Peter Beller was the author, and I thought his take was pretty fresh.

So I checked in with him. I should have known that a former Forbes writer who did a presitigious Knight-Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University and then stuck around Morningside Heights to get his MBA would go the extra mile: he cranked out a spreadsheet on VC funding in Silicon Valley, New York, and L.A.

When he isn't doing this type of thing, Beller is the Director of Content at Ebyline, an L.A. startup that has built a platform to provide primarily daily newspapers with a steady stream of high-caliber freelance journalists. It is not a content farm. (I've actually worked for a content farm, and Ebyline definitely isn't one, although in fairness not all so-called content farms deserve all the bad press they've received.)

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Mark Suster doesn't like the term "Silicon Beach"

VanessaRoseSchneider/Flickr

It's a beach. Just don't call it a Silicon Beach.

I missed this when it was fresh, but the debate is more-or-less evergreen, so I don't feel too bad about picking it up from Brad Feld's blog about tech and investing in Boulder, Colorado rather than Mark Suster's blog about tech and investing in Los Angeles. The topline summary: Mark — who started LaunchpadLA and is a VC at the biggest firm in town, GRP Partners — doesn't like the term "Silicon Beach."

It's not like he's breathing fire or anything. He's just trying to gently incite a larger discussion about the L.A. tech scene and the whole question of regional branding:

For me Silicon Beach doesn’t quite encapsulate the wonderful, dynamic, creative, large, thriving community that is the 13 million proud Angelinos any more than Silicon Alley captures the bustling 2012 community of New York City.

If anything using the word “Silicon” seems a bit derivative to NorCal. Don’t you think?

Interestingly, nobody I know in NorCal EVER calls it Silicon Valley, “Silicon Valley.” It seems to either be “The Peninsula” or “San Francisco” or even just “The Bay Area.”

To me, LA will always be a creative hub for TV, film, music, video games and now technology. We need to be different & unique. Not derivative.

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