Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best and Worst of Silicon Valley

I was asked by a Frenchman who was interested in replicating the Silicon Valley in Paris what made Silicon Valley work. Here was my response: the first list is what is good here, the second list is what is bad here.

Please feel free to add to either column.

Here are the things that are good in the Silicon Valley:
-Great local technology universities
-Great local business schools
-America has a free market for college education, so it is the best in the world
-We are 3000 miles away from the rulemakers in Washington DC, and more than 100 miles from the rulemakers in Sacramento, California
-We encourage the entrepreneur (a French term) through making them heroes in the press, on stage, in conferences, etc.
-We have many venture capitalists, so the entrepreneurs have choices, and some wild ideas might be more likely to be funded
-Our labor market is non-union on the whole, and very mobile
-We have the Valley Girl

Here is what doesn’t work in the Silicon Valley:
-Our K-12 education system is the worst in the world, it is commanded and controlled by the government
-We don’t let our brilliant immigrants stay in the country after we have educated them in our stellar universities
-For some reason (schadenfreude?), our press and our government doesn’t like our rich people, or our senior management, so they are starting to leave and taking their money and their expertise with them. The irony is that it is those people who employ our citizens, and pay the taxes that support our government
-California, the state is bankrupt and over regulated, so it is not the best place to do business anymore

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