Héctor Ramos

Followup: Why Startups Outside Tech Cities Aren't Totally Farked

Living outside of Silicon Valley is not entirely bad, as my previous post might make you think. Here’s an interesting piece by Drew Curtis who owns Kentucky-based Fark. He covers the benefits of living outside the big cities:

Cost of living is extremely low, and office space is cheap and plentiful. Traffic is pretty mild; Lexington has one of the five fastest median commute times in the country: 19.3 minutes (people who work at home weren’t counted).  Energy costs are some of the lowest in the United States (yay coal).  Real estate is cheap, both residential and commercial. It’s not very difficult to find houses for sale around here for $66 per square foot; $150,000 for a 2,500-square-foot, four-bedroom home probably sounds amazing to people crammed in a NYC apartment.

Unfortunately this might not be entirely true for San Juan, Puerto Rico. These reasons are the same I gave myself four years ago when I graduated from college and turned down various job offers in the States. I could stay in Puerto Rico, it’s less expensive and I can give back to my country! 

Pshaw. A $150,000 apartment? Outside of the city, perhaps, which is easily an hour to two hours of commute in heavy traffic each way. I live in Trujillo Alto and even when I worked in nearby Cupey, that was 40 minutes if traffic was light during the morning, then 50 minutes on the drive back in the afternoon.

Cable internet is more or less $50 for 4Mbps down, and shitty 0.5Mbps up, and that’s with a one-year contract. Most other options are around $60 - $90 for 2Mbps DSL.

Further down, Drew mentions that Lexington is one non-stop flight away from the big tech cities. Taking a flight as necessary is cheaper than living full time in San Francisco, for example. I wish the same could be said about Puerto Rico, but being in the middle of the Caribbean Sea means one thing: it’s at the very least 1.000 miles to the nearest state. A trip to San Francisco is easily 12 hours from take off to final landing, usually going through a two hour layover in DFW or LAX. Airfare? $600 if you’re lucky.

As for infrastructure, read my last post. Sigh.

I will keep fighting the good fight, helping my entrepreneurial friends and organizing events for startup-minded folks, but as Drew says, there must be more execution and less talking about it. 

What do you think about running a startup in Puerto Rico?