I was at the University of Oregon (Eugene) graduation ceremony on Monday. The university has over 22,000 students. Oregon is a relatively poor state with low cost of living, unemployment hovering between 10%–12%, and a population of only about 4 million. In May, I was in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, all rural states with low costs of living. Montana’s population is less than a million, Wyoming’s only half a million. Idaho’s is 1.5 million. Yet in terms of area, these are all large states. Montana is the fourth- largest state in the United States, Wyoming the ninth, Oregon the tenth, and Idaho the eleventh.
They are each very beautiful, with vast expanses of open land. As I have driven through these states, especially the rural areas, during theplast month, I have felt an increasing sense of wonder. The quality of life is wonderful, the air is fresh, houses are affordable, and people seem to be very nice.
A question keeps coming back: why isn’t the United States developing these areas into outsourcing destinations? With ubiquitous broadband, decent infrastructure, a low-cost structure, and great quality of life, it seems to me that all four states should be able to create a compelling mix of jobs and affordable quality of life that places like Silicon Valley or Bangalore simply cannot offer.
In 1M/1M, I am interested in exploring this question, and working with some entrepreneurs who want to build rural outsourcing companies in places such as Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, or Idaho.
Of course, the same applies to the Indian entrepreneurs: Why not Siliguri, Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar and Patna? I’d like to see 1M/1M entrepreneurs cropping up everywhere with outsourcing value propositions that leverage the affordable quality of life of these places and build sustainable companies in rural and small-town India.
This segment is a part in the series : 1M/1M