Just like Austin and Salt Lake City, Research Triangle wants to be another Silicon Valley, only with lower taxes and a lower cost of living.
It appears the Silicon Valley wannabes are doing well. I don’t know whether they are drawing companies away from Silicon Valley, but they’re growing.
Silicon Vally’s sales pitch is that geography matters at lot. You need to be where the venture capitalists, other tech companies, and lots of potential employees are.
Areas like Research Triangle make a more moderate argument. They also want to say that geography matters. If geography doesn’t matter, then why move to Durham? But they also want to argue that geography doesn’t matter so much that you need to pay California taxes and rent.
I think the future is on their side. Geography matters, and always will, though not as much as it used to. It’s not necessary (or even possible) to have everyone you work with in one area. I expect Silicon Valley will continue to thrive, but more affordable alternatives may grow faster.