why and how?

They say the grass is greener on the other side. Changing locations has always been one of the vital points in improving living conditions for human beings of all time. We have been in search of better places, foods, weather and climate since we started walking.

Even now, at the time of "stay home" and "stay safe", people are still bounded with the same idea: "there are better places". This week we’ll try to look into the details of the "relocation syndrome" and find out why and how to do it (if it’s worth doing it at all).

"Like Florence in the Renaissance."

That is a common description of what it is like to live in Silicon Valley. America's technology capital has an outsize influence on the World's economy, stockmarkets and culture. This small portion of land running from San Jose to San Francisco is home to three of the World's five most valuable companies. Giants such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Netflix all claim Silicon Valley as their birthplace and home, as do trailblazers such as Airbnb, Tesla and Uber. The Bay Area has the 19th-largest economy in the World, ranking above Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

The Valley is not just a place. It is also an idea.

Ever since Bill Hewlett and David Packard set up in a garage nearly 80 years ago, it has been a byword for innovation and ingenuity. It has been at the center of several cycles of Schumpeterian destruction and regeneration, in silicon chips, personal computers, software and internet services. Some of its inventions have been ludicrous: internet-connected teapots, or an app that sold people coins to use at laundromats. But others are world-beaters: microprocessor chips, databases and smartphones all trace their lineage to the Valley.

Its combination of engineering expertise, thriving business networks, deep pools of capital, strong universities and a risk-taking culture have made the Valley impossible to clone, despite many attempts to do so. There is no credible rival for its position as the World's pre-eminent innovation hub. But there are signs that the Valley's influence is peaking. If that were simply a symptom of much greater innovation elsewhere, it would be cause for cheer. The truth is unhappier.

Last year more Americans left the county of San Francisco than arrived. According to a recent survey, 46% of respondents say they plan to leave the Bay Area in the next few years, up from 34% in 2016.

So many startups are branching out into new places that the trend has a name, "Off Silicon Valleying".

Peter Thiel, perhaps the Valley's most high-profile venture capitalist, is among those upping sticks. Those who stay have broader horizons: in 2013 Silicon Valley investors put half their money into startups outside the Bay Area; now it is closer to two-thirds.

The reasons for this shift are manifold, but chief among them is the sheer expense of the Valley. The cost of living is among the highest in the World. One founder reckons young startups pay at least four times more to operate in the Bay Area than in most other American cities. New technologies, from quantum computing to synthetic biology, offer lower margins than internet services, making it more important for startups in these emerging fields to husband their cash. All this is before taking into account the nastier features of Bay Area life: clogged traffic, discarded syringes and shocking inequality.

Shadows of the colossi

The problem is that the wider playing-field for innovation is also being levelled down. One issue is the dominance of the tech giants. Startups, particularly those in the consumer-internet business, increasingly struggle to attract capital in the shadow of Alphabet, Apple, Facebook et al. In 2017 the number of first financing rounds in America was down by around 22% from 2012. Alphabet and Facebook pay their employees so generously that startups can struggle to attract talent (the median salary at Facebook is $240,000). When the chances of startup success are even less certain and the payoffs not so very different from a steady job at one of the giants, dynamism suffers—and not just in the Valley. It is a similar story in China, where Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are responsible for close to half of all domestic venture-capital investment, giving the giants a big say in the future of potential rivals.

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Changing location

Salvador Dauvergen, a serial entrepreneur from California, bustled around a co-working space in Bali, Indonesia on a Monday morning greeting familiar faces. He was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops — or as he referred to it, the Bali business suit.

His surrounding is casual, even by entrepreneurial standards, with open-air work spaces overlooking a rice field, hammocks and a room for air conditioning. Outside of the office is a street — filled with inexpensive massage places and fresh smoothie shops — which leads to the Monkey Forest.

Burnt out by Silicon Valley's lifestyle, Dauvergen recently relocated to Bali to begin his next startup in the food industry, about which he's hesitant to offer specifics since he has yet to launch.

"I have the same workday in terms of hours, but my stress level is incredibly lower compared to back home," he said. "I talk to a lot of my friends in the startup world and tell them this is the new frontier."

Dauvergen said he thinks there is "app fatigue" in the U.S., which is one of many reasons he set his eyes on Southeast Asia for his next venture. While his long-term vision is tapping into Indonesia's vast 257 million population increasingly coming online, he's also thinking about the new lifestyle.

"Getting to a meeting from Oakland to downtown San Francisco is a lot of stress," he said. "Everything else there is so much more complex and here life is easier."

"The cost of living, deployment, marketing is substantially lower," he said of Bali. Similar to when he was in California, he still outsources to contractors outside the U.S., but being in Indonesia has an added benefit: He's now on a similar timezone with many of his developers in Asian countries, he said.

It's not just remote islands to which entrepreneurs are flocking.

After receiving doctorates from Stanford, MQ Wang and Tony Zhang formed tech startup Zero Zero Robotics, and based the company in Beijing. The company's flagship product, drone camera HoverCam, is marketed and sold around the World and recently just announced a partnership to sell in Apple stores. While the startup has an office in Silicon Valley, its headquarters are in Beijing, with more offices in Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

A few years ago, Wang and Zhang likely would have stayed in Silicon Valley — but not today.

Global venture funding was down 23 percent last year, but fell 28 percent in Silicon Valley, according to a report by PwC and CB Insights/MoneyTree.

Meanwhile, the share of unicorns — companies valued at more than $1 billion — located outside the U.S. has gone from 30 percent in 2013 to 58 percent last year.

Still, Silicon Valley obviously maintains an appeal for many would-be entrepreneurs, as it offers deep funding and talent reservoirs that are largely unrivaled. But as people now have unprecedented access to technology and resources from just about anywhere in the globe, that preeminence may be increasingly less important.


Thus far, companies in tech clusters like Silicon Valley have overshadowed a growing and impressive cohort of high-growth ventures that have taken root elsewhere. But that is changing. Successful startups on the frontier have critical lessons to teach us — indeed, their model may prove to be the most enduring.

Being a language teacher for those who relocated // personal experience

Darya Averyanova

My name is Daria, and I am an RKI (Russian as a foreign language) teacher. I have been teaching foreigners for over four years, and I want to share my experience of it.

The matter of learning Russian language is one of the most important aspects in a wide range of problems of migrants in Russia. Some of them are forced to learn the language in order to find a good temporary or permanent job, others need to pass the TRKI exam to obtain citizenship, and someone just does not want to face aggression from Russian speakers, who may not like it if migrants communicate in public places in their native language. And this applies to both adults and children.

Some people indeed experience psychological difficulties in the process of adaptation in a new society and a new linguistic environment. This problem is especially common for children. Many schools even refuse to accept migrant children into their classes, fearing that they will not be able to overcome the language barrier. However, not all migrants in Russia are able to pay for education and language courses.

My experience of teaching has confirmed that, unfortunately, some children face rejection from their Russian-speaking coevals, and sometimes even violence. All this complicates the process of teaching foreign children, as they withdraw into themselves, experience fear and cease to respect Russian-speaking people, as well as get carried away with Russian culture and language. Therefore, in this case, the teacher faces a difficult task - to gain confidence in the child, to be able to interest him and become for him not only a teacher, but also a friend.

With adults, psychologically, it is a little easier, since they already have a lot of life experience and they know how to cope with stress. However, even in this case, there are many difficulties associated with teaching Russian as a foreign language.

First of all, the grammar of the Russian language causes huge difficulties for foreigners, these are most common points:

• incorrect use of prepositional and case forms;

• skipping a part of the sentence associated with a lack of resources (that is, insufficient knowledge of the language and vocabulary) or with a desire to finish the thought faster and not feel more stress in the situation of using a foreign language;

• incorrect using of the temporal and aspect forms of the verb;

• mistakes in the formation of words;

• false using of number forms;

• mistakes in constructing sentences with homogeneous members;

• misusing gender forms etc.

Explaining the features of Russian grammar to foreigners, as you know, also needs a special way. It is useless to teach them the same way as we were taught Russian at school. A foreigner will never understand why the questions in the Instrumental case must be asked "KEM?" or "ЧЕМ?", why words «писать» (to write) and «написать» (to write) have completely different meanings, etc. Such things must be considered using numerous examples, regularly practiced with the help of various language and speech exercises. And most importantly, the teacher should try to present all this with humor, and not just teach a foreigner boring rules and scare him that if he does not memorize them, then he never will not speak Russian.

Also, while mastering grammar is important, the teacher needs to be able to balance grammar with other aspects of speech, especially speaking. Otherwise, the foreigner will simply become bored, the interest in learning the language will disappear and it will be challenging for the teacher to fix it. Therefore, in any lesson, even grammatical, the best way is to leave at least a little time just for conversation and give you students the opportunity to relax.

That's all by now,

Stay amazing

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