Interesting little non dust up highlighting the Valley's fish bowl superiority complex and the South's beaten in a big war a long time ago inferiority complex.
My take. At the end of the day costs do matter. Well not really the end of the day, but around the time you get married, have a kid or two, and enter middle adulthood. Quality of life issues. That is the argument of all places non SV.
Costs aside, I have a long held belief that immersion is critically important. This is based on my full-time two year business school experience. If you take a moment and suspend the thought that MBA's are the scourge of startup society, and some with good reason, my point is being fully immersed was part of the learning. A big, big part. At the end of the day this is the argument the pro SV camp is making. And it is valid. To achieve immersion you have to have density and no where is the startup density greater than Northern California.
So the question becomes is it possible to create a dense immersive startup community this side of the Heyward Fault?
Maybe. The jury is still out. Austin, Boulder, and NYC all seem to be making great strides. And going back to my B-School experience, is there really a big difference between Columbia and Indiana other than one program costs twice as much as the other? I don't think so. The same holds true for startup markets. If it is at least partially about ROI then the best may not be that when you take costs into consideration.