Keen On… Why Saudi Arabia Might Be The Next Silicon Valley

Washington DC based tech investor and entrepreneur Chris Schroeder is one of the smartest guys outside Silicon Valley. Formerly CEO of Healthcentral and of Washington Post & Newsweek interactive, Schroeder – who is close to Valley heavyweights like Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz – has always had a shrewd sense of the next big thing.

But I wonder if Schroeder has lost his marbles with his latest project — an outrageously counterintuitive book called Start Up Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East (with a preface by Andreessen) which argues that the next Silicon Valley might be even further east than New York City.

Yes, that’s right. As Schroeder suggested to me, Cairo or Doha might be the next Palo Alto. Schroeder, who has spent the last couple of years doing his due diligence traveling around the Middle East, says that the real story there isn’t the conflicts in Syria or Egypt, but rather the innovation of its many young tech entrepreneurs (a lot of whom are female). Not surprisingly, the very readable Start Up Rising, which is out today, is already getting a lot of buzz with both leading columnists and radio and television shows fascinated with Schroeder’s provocative thesis.

So is Chris Schroeder mad? Or might we all be emigrating to Saudi Arabia in the not-too-distant future?