Just One Step Away? Microgeography, Technology Adoption, and Entrepreneurial Learning
Entrepreneurs learn from a variety of sources. One particularly important channel is learning from fellow entrepreneurs. In this study we examine the influence of close geographic proximity on new (to the entrepreneur) technology adoption decisions at one of the largest technology co-working hubs in the United States. To deal with endogenous geographic clustering, we rely on the random assignment of office space to the hub's 251 startups. Using floor plans to measure geographic distance, we find that close proximity greatly influences the likelihood of adopting an upstream (production) technology also used by a peer firm. This effect, however, quickly decays with distance where startup firms that are more than 25 meters away are no longer influenced by each other. This proximity premium is largest for small firms and the distance discount disappears for predominately female startups suggesting these startups rely on alternate mechanisms to overcome the negative effects of distance. We discuss the implications of the balance between geographic and non-geographic proximity in promoting the diffusion of ideas within a fast-changing entrepreneurial ecosystem.