"How are they doing it?" Vara asked, before concluding that everything from the "cultural knack for salesmanship and entrepreneurship among Mormons" to Utah's tax system and the influence of BYU — which has notable STEM programs — play a role in building the "next Silicon Valley."
Vara also argued that it's unwise to separate culture from geography in this case, observing that "the Wasatch Front, like Silicon Valley, is densely populated and connected by a freeway and a mass-transit system."
Vara isn't the first to make the Silicon Valley connection. Last November, Inc.'s Ilan Mochari also declared Utah to be the next hub of tech innovation.
"One of Utah's chief draws as an entrepreneurial setting just might be how it remains, for all it has achieved, full of small-market charms," Mochari wrote, basing his assessment on an Associated Press study that ranked U.S. cities for "tech startup funding."
As Mochari pointed out, Utah came out on top in the AP study for "dollar-per-deal averages." Much like Vara's report, Mochari rejected the notion that any one factor (be it start-up culture or Mormon culture) could explain the astounding growth developing in the greater Salt Lake area. "The astronomical per-deal averages in Utah indicate something bolder is afoot," he wrote.