If you wanted to be “in the know” you had to move out of your village and move to the big city. Move to Los Angeles, New York or London to connect to people. You could exchange knowledge and ideas. This is where your customers were likely to be. Villages such as Hicksville, Arkansas or on a more global level countries like Pakistan and Rawanda lost their brightest as they moved to the global equivalent of cities.
The “brain drain” happened. If you wanted to make it economically in the world and had a decent amount of ambition than London or New York were definitely places to be. The people around you in your “village” just didn’t get it.
Now though in the internet era you can be just as connected from Hicksville and Kabul as you can be in New York. The internet means that you can read the New York Times online and are not just stuck with the “Kabul Daily”. You can be up to the minute. Sitting in Kabul or Tora Bora you could know more about the latest thinking than some people do living on 5th Avenue. Sure there are always the benefits of meeting up in person and a lot more “thinkers” about the global economy and financiers are likely to be in New York – but being out of Silicon Valley or any of the other hubs is not as bad as it used to be a decade ago – as long as your region has an internet connection. It can even be an advantage to be in a place that has a slow pace of life that enables you to think, than in a place that ensures you are stuck staring at your blackberry 16 hours a day.
So if you are living in the old school “village” i.e. not Silicon Valley/New York/London etc than you no longer have an excuse of not coming up with the next biggest global product. Your village can produce as big a hit as facebook or Google – there is absolutely no excuses if you think otherwise.
Lacking talent in your area? Visit www.odesk.com and hire some of the brightest from around the world.
Lacking the marketing and PR skills of Madison Avenue or Soho, London? Get yourself on facebook, twitter, youtube and any other free social media tool to start marketing to your niche until you get traction from the big media.
Lacking the financing to get your project started? Go to http://www.kiva.org/ and ask for a loan from the global community.
Lacking the books of Oxford library or the collection of a Barnes and Noble bookshop? Go to Wikipedia and get the knowledge for free or order any book online from Amazon. Get digital on your Kindle and you don’t even have to wait for the shipping.
Lacking access to a large local market? Go sell your stuff on ebay or sell online to Americans/Europeans from anywhere in the world.
There were many reasons for the brain drain. The talent wanted to go where the opportunities were greater. You were at a serious disadvantage if you weren’t in the city. Now though the geographic distances are disappearing.
Feel free to start your business from where you are in the world – yes, you can make your huge musical hit from Rawanda or publish your iPhone game from Bolivia or write your software from Vietnam or do day trading from Mozambique.
The emergence of global brands that come from “villages” is going to be the coolest thing about living in the 2010s – no longer do the perfumes have to say “made in Paris”, software designed in California, stock traders from Wall Street or movie stars from Hollywood.
Your village can produce some of the biggest global hits for the next decade – the only question is if its going to be your neighbor or you?