The Valley Is Way Bigger Than DFW; Or is it?

There are many ways to compare one thing with another. When it comes to Silicon Valley, one common unit of measure might be the number of times the sound of a startup’s pitch bounces from one border to the other, like, say, an echo chamber. Another might be the number of unicorns one encounters in Mission District, or how efficient a founder is at conserving space vs. the efficiency of a neighbor. A popular measure these days is how much rent one pays for the privilege of being in a tiny expensive room close to an echo chamber filled with unicorn hopefuls.

One thing Texans like to compare is size. The size of our public transit (90 miles of light rail, with two major airports served), the size of our Metro area (9,200 square miles), and even the size of our parks (the Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban bottomland forest in the world). We compare commutes in terms of how little time it takes to walk to the favored coworking space from the train station.

A question heard frequently around the Dallas-Fort Worth startup community is just how big is Dallas-Fort Worth compared to Silicon Valley? After a little sleuthing (very rough, as it is) something quite surprising surfaced. While the lore of the valley is that it’s a massive area separated by freeways and takes hours to traverse, it’s actually quite small when compared with Dallas-Fort Worth.

Silicon Valley clocks in at about 812 square miles. It’s certainly nothing to “shake a stick at,” but it’s a little less than 1/3 the size of Dallas-Fort Worth’s major metro area (2,230 square miles). Sure, the DFW metro area is 9,200 square miles, including all of the counties, but for this discussion only the major cities and surrounding areas were used.

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So the next time you hear how big “the valley” is, just know that it’s about 1/3 the volume of Dallas-Fort Worth. And that’s being generous.

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