This post may ring a bell for all the non-Silicon Valley readers. Firstly an admission: I hardly ever write about my home country, New Zealand. The reason for that is mostly down to demographics: just 1% of Read/WriteWeb's page views come from my own country. The US, UK and Canada are where the bulk of R/WW's readers come from - but I'm also pleased with the growth in readers from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.
So 1% would indicate that NZers are just a tiny slice of the R/WW target audience - and that's true. But recently I've noticed an increase in web 2.0 excitement in New Zealand. And I think people from other countries may have a similar feeling - that this current era of the Web is creating opportunities and innovation far outside Silicon Valley (even though the Valley still is the spiritual and monetary home of the Web).
The NZ 2.0 mailing list was started by Nat Torkington (of O'Reilly Media) and yours truly in November last year. Lately on the list there's been discussion about "Silicon Welly" - a new nickname for my hometown of Wellington, coined by Natalie Ferguson and Tim Norton of local startup Decisive Flow. Wellington is beginning to see a lot of activity in web app development, accompanied (it must be said) by a sudden increase in Wellingtonians wanting to show me their business plans or prototypes ;-). Plus there are more events - the Webstock conference earlier this year and a recent fun geek event run by my friends at geekzone.co.nz. Christchurch too has a lot of activity and is where the development arm of Eurekster (the social search engine) is based. Not forgetting my pals in Auckland, such as the team behind Throng - a site for TV fans from New Zealand.
Idealog, a magazine in NZ, recently ran a piece about the Silicon Welly phenomenon:
"So where are the bright young things creating kick-ass web businesses in Godzone?
The good news is they’re out there. Take, for example, ProjectX, a team of superbright online mapping gurus who have licensed their technology to Trade Me for its Smaps website and have their sights set on providing mapping tools for the world. Consider also Star Now, an inspired site built by three Wellingtonians on their OE which introduces dancers, actors, models, musicians and reality TV wannabes to casting directors, movie and TV producers and to each other."
So the Web is (finally) making an impact in NZ, a country of 4 million people on the other side of the world. If you're an international R/WW reader, I wonder if you have a similar story to tell about your local Web market? Is the Web ramping up in your country too?
Picture of kiwi bird: jdlasica