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Why Singapore can never be Silicon Valley and shouldn't have to.

Khang TohKhang Toh, Pushing bits on the line
A friend of mine, Derrick Ko, just wrote a blog post, Walk Before You Run, and shared some thoughts on the startup ecosystem in Singapore. He's brought up some valid observations like Singapore's ability for producing good talents, the growing startup/tech related activities like Geekcamp.SG, Super Happy Dev House Singapore, etc. Coming back to Singapore after spending a decade in the US has given me a different perspective.

Singapore can never be Silicon Valley and no other cities can. You see, Silicon Valley is unique. The reason why Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley is not only because there's big guys like Google, Facebook, Twitter, building on top of the engineering ecosystem. It's also the about the entrepreneurs who "have been there, done it", scaled their company, positioned their exits and finally one more important step - giving back to very ecosystem that supported them for the last few decades. Singapore's startup ecosystem is still very much lacking in that aspect, but that's not the whole point.

Singapore's startup ecosystem is still young. In fact very young but the point is it's growing and that's a great sign! A growing startup ecosystem needs entrepreneurs, talent and money. I know there's many debate on how government money can be good and bad. Money is just money and just think of it as WD-40 to get this rusty belt moving. Along the way, many of these startups will fail, some will continue marching on, some will learn from their experience, a few of them will succeed. Some of these few will become part of a small pool of entrepreneurs that are doing exactly what it takes to build up the ecosystem. Either mentoring, angel investing, taking on advisory/board roles, etc. It's headed towards the right direction.

But to compare Singapore to Silicon Valley at this stage or any stage is pointless, because no one, no one else, can be Silicon Valley, not even when tech hubs like Boston and NYC in the US and they're have been trying for years.

Singapore is well known for it's Hainanese chicken rice,  there's one "best chicken rice store" in Singapore, there's also many GOOD chicken rice stores in Singapore but ultimately we all just want to have many good chicken rice stores so we can have good chicken rice as and when we want to. Ok, I'll digress from all this chicken rice talk.

Stay Calm and Continue to Build.


Journey of an entrepreneur. I make things you u...


Khang Toh
Khang Toh
Pushing bits on the line