From Silicon Dragon to
Silicon Heartland: The Journey
How does the Midwest's developing tech economy compare to China's build-up of a
Silicon Dragon more than a decade ago?
The pace is slower in the Midwest. The VC funding is slimmer.
But there are similarities. Clusters of innovation are springing up in Midwestern hubs, similar to zones that developed in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Government is working to accelerate startup growth and fund VC investments in both markets.
Many of the same tech sectors are advancing: AI, robotics, advanced manufacturing, mobility and software.
Likewise, hubs in both China and the Midwest have their own technology specialty.
But the Midwest has to rebuild from past industrial glory. It is not starting from scratch. If this recovery continues, the Midwest could counter China's tech rise, with more investment and emerging companies. A revival of the industrial Heartland could also rebalance growth from the coasts to the inland cities, and help to close the divide between rich and poor, urban and rural.
The "Flyover Country" stereotype could fade.
Seeds already have been planted for mini Silicon Valleys in Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and other up and comers.
But the region still needs more success stories and entrepreneurial heroes to fully recover, boost the economy, and beat back lingering poverty and despair from the loss of jobs to overseas locations, mainly China.
The Intel semiconductor plant in Ohio that's in the works is one positive step forward.
This past week in San Francisco, guests at an initial preview event got a behind-the-scenes peak of my exploratory road trips through
former Rust Belt lands, which led to my new book, Silicon Heartland.
Pre-order the book here.
If you missed us in San Francisco, join us for our
December 8 reception and book preview in NYC
(for Silicon Dragon Circle members)
Next stop, New York City