I get to live and work in Boulder, CO.
Some have described Boulder as "25 square miles, surrounded by reality", and I don't think it's all that far off. Boulder's a phenomenally beautiful place, quite literally surrounded by a 43,000 acre green-belt of permanent open space buffering it like an oasis from the surrounding towns and communities.
Boulder has a number of advantages, some that people probably easily recognize, some that may bring eye rolls, but others I think are highly non-obvious.
Boulder is a relatively small university town of roughly 100,000 people. It's far from the bustle of the Bay Area, NY, or Boston. It has a vibrant start-up community, world class VC investors, a highly educated population, and plenty of sunshine year 'round. It's close to a major international airport; a short 2 hour flight to San Francisco, L.A., Seattle, Chicago, and only ~3.5 hours to NY or Boston.
None of the above is the point I'm going to make. The point I'm going to make is much more seasonal ... bear with me for a minute as I try to explain.
There's something about the seasons. Something about the regular and repeating lifecycle of weather, foliage and animals. Something about the distinct and repeating change that comes with each season. The cycle repeats again and again with a calm regularity and rhythm. It's this cyclicality repeating change that gives perspective to take a long view on things; that this too will change.
Each of us is a unique mix of our rational self and our emotions. This mix is how we see the world, make decisions, and interact with others.
I've lived and worked big chunks of my professional life in the Bay Area. I moved at a crushingly fast pace when I worked in Boston. I still spend a lot of time in SF, NY and London. All these metros have a pulse of vibrancy and change that's hard to match. They concentrate talent, investors, business partners, competitors, customers and clients. Every time and every where you look, things are changing, and fast. Sometimes the change matters, most of the time it doesn't. Change is the norm, and people who live and work there can't help but be caught up in it.
Change is required to grow and yet it's the things that don't change that often represent the largest and most interesting opportunities.
It's the advantage of being able to see and feel the rhythms, or seasonality, without the pressure of always being in the flow is what I think gives Boulder and places like it, its non-obvious advantage.
One of the hardest parts about starting and building a company is the ups and downs of your emotions. Our rational thought is just 1/2 of our behavioral equation. Being able to see through your emotions to the long-game lets you acknowledge and address your biases, and make better decisions. My experience is that where you live and how you live are the non-obvious advantages all successful people share.