From a startup/founder perspective -
Mega cities like NYC are bar-none for many incredible opportunities, but it comes with a huge price, both financially and mentally.
When I came up with the idea of my first startup back in 2005 – NYC and the US in general were economically ‘solid’ – I had a decent 6-figure job in Silicon Alley, yet the option to take 1 year off and bootstrap a team of 3 devs was not viable in NYC.
So I decided to move to Buenos Aires where at the time the dollar was 3:1, there was a healthy developer community, lower stress levels, higher quality of life (I had a 2000 sq ft apt/office, a tennis coach, a steak dinner cost me $15, and women outnumbered men 4:1). The other wonderful benefit was the time-zone ( just +1hr ahead of NYC), which enabled me to maintain key connections with our customers, clients, markets, and advisors.
When the crisis broke out in 2006, I was able to ride it out easily and grow 2 more startups – the last just launched: JuicyCanvas.com
This is not for everyone; its depends on what your startup needs at that time for your particular stage. However my move to BA was life changing – and I highly recommend it for every new entrepreneur since it really brings out the BEST ideas, while allowing you to incubate your idea into an MVP without requiring outside capital and losing equity.
And ironically the idea for JuicyCanvas came out of a tangent seed idea for a brick-n-mortar concept I would not have had were I in the US. ( http://juicycanvas.com/our-story/ )
Because being a startup founder is like being Lewis and Clark – you need to leave what you know and go into the ‘unknown’. By incubating your idea abroad, you are forcing yourself to adapt to new things and achieve perspective and that prepares you for LEAN-thinking, while meeting others (yes, there are other expats) who are doing the same.
Now that our startup has successfully launched – we are ready to return back to cities that have the ecosystem and resources we need to scale it.
NYC – I’m coming home – and hope my metrocard will still work!
Artur | co-founder