In a post-geographic world, does location matter?

There are professions or services which, by virtue of their nature, do not really require multiple offices in widely dispersed locations to be successful. Design, I believe is one of them. This is not a new thought and I’ve written around it before, however, today, on pondering, I realized that having a portable profession is not enough, you also need a particular mindset or perspective.

Bear with me, won’t you please? I’m in one of my classic circumlocutory moods, playing with my blog in order to capture some of the chaotic thoughts rumbling through my mind just now. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

When I first moved to the Bay Area, to the city of San Francisco, I was asked why I chose to come out here. The rationale behind the question, as explained to me was, that because of the attractiveness, by Florida’s standards, of this region, there were a disproportionately high numbers of designers, strategists, management consultants and other assorted services of that ilk. On the other hand, there were just a finite number of big firms requiring these services – from the design savvy point of view. The preferred clients are always those who genuinely appreciate the power of good design. They ‘get it’. This was a highly competitive market, I was told.

It was at that point I took a moment to actually think about my answer. And I said, "How does location matter? You’re assuming that like you, I see the Bay Area as my primary market, when in fact I see the whole world as mine."

And, in fact, I do. How does location matter? Today, my clients are in New York and San Diego, Bangalore and San Francisco. I have neither multiple offices nor locations. Nor apparently have I needed them. I think that it is this the choice every firm makes in their approach to doing business. This is a crucial decision to make,

Are you a global brand?

Who among us will choose to say no? In today’s oft repeated cliche flat world, I have the power at my fingertips to change a document in real time for my client sitting a few time zones away, giving him the refresh button to see the changes we were negotiating over Skype. Yes, Typepad and Skype allow me to conduct my business for the most part at a cost an individual can afford.

So to cut a long story short, here is my version of choosing not to be a plug and play component. Its similar to Apple’s global strategy – no links, wait until I get around to writing it:)

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4 Responses to In a post-geographic world, does location matter?

  1. I just wanted to say that I thought this was a fantastic post! I completely agree with you: location doesn’t matter in today’s “flat world.” This is definitely a good time to be a small player. As you said, Skype, blogs, email, etc. all help to level the playing field. Time to go global!

  2. niblettes says:

    Whenever I hear about Friedman’s flat earth I immediately think of Florida’s spikey world (http://tinyurl.com/qouxo) and remember that geographic location still matters (http://tinyurl.com/n5jnt).
    “The economic geography of talent is strongly associated with high-technology industry location. Talent and high-technology industry work independenatly and together to generate higher regional incomes.” (http://tinyurl.com/lfw7o).
    Blogs are nice, but they’re no substitute for a couple of comfy chairs over coffee.

  3. niti bhan says:

    I know, you say it all the time. It makes a lot of sense to keep this in mind.

  4. Niti
    Excellent post. I think location does not matter from the point of view that you have put (getting clients/ being able to do consultancy work) but it does matter from the over all buisness point of view. let me explain most of the big companies in bangalore and mumbai are now looking at alternative places to shift their infracture. Hence companies are looking at places like pondicherry etc where the infrastructure cost is much much lower. Moreover government is giving lot of facilities. To shift to such location means a lot of saving for buisness. IT companies require space electricity and internet connectivity thats it, but think about the other industries like manufacturing etc for them it is very essential to cut down the leads and transportation cost for them ‘Location Does Matter’.

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