I went to AngelConf 2010.
I felt rather like a poser. I may have been the only attendee who doesn't live in Silicon Valley (henceforth SV) and hasn't done any angel investing yet. I talked to about 6 other attendees; they all live in SV and have done “angeling”.
I asked several people who have worked or invested outside of SV is whether being in SV is really as big a deal as Paul Graham indicates in his writings.
The answer seems to be a definite yes for startup founders. SV is much better than anywhere else because of the availability of talent and money. (Paradoxically I was also told that there's not enough engineers available in SV.)
For investors, the answer was less clear. There's a huge number of startups (and potential startups) in SV - far more than anywhere else. This alone means that the next Google is far more likely to be an SV startup. But there are also more investors than anywhere else, and some of them are strong "brands". In a place like Austin, the playing field might be leveler for someone like me.
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I experienced firsthand why so many people complain about AT&T Wireless. I've been an iPhone user since day 2, and I haven't had much to complain about. In Austin, I get decent signal strength just about everywhere I go. But in SV, I saw mediocre-to-terrible signal strength all over, and I understand why people are so eager for Apple to support other carriers.
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I know from other trips and driving in Austin that Google Maps on the iPad is fantastic for finding your way around. From this trip I learned that Google Maps on the iPad is totally inadequate for finding your way around an unfamiliar city with no one in the passenger seat. This was the first time I've really felt the need for speaking navigation system. I installed Gokivo on my iPhone. It was adequate but I'll probably try something else next time.