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


Akira Hirai said...

There was a good Harvard Business Review Ideacast podcast on this topic a few months back; here's the link: http://blogs.hbr.org/ideacast/2010/05/how-to-create-an-entrepreneuri.html

Jan Simmonds said...

Hi Tim,

Funnily enough, I just posted this to Felix Dennis's wall who just asked the reverse question about the US vs Europe:

"With notable exceptions, as an entrepreneur clawing my way to glory, I have found the overwhelming difference between the two cultures is based on the European malaise of Tall Poppy Syndrome which is blissfully absent in the American pysche.... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome) Whereas in the US, they look to build pedestals for those striving for success and applaud it when it comes, our tendency is towards patronisation and control. Perhaps this is inherent in our class system roots where the few have continued to channel the fruits of the many to their own pockets or maybe it is just national pessimism. Personally, I think it is one of our greatest failings and is why we never really scale globally in the way that the US has for so many decades. In today's new world order and following the dilution, through indulgence, of the skills and enterprise that created the wealthy families of old throughout recent generations, any culture not based on entrepreneurial support and the raw industry of those who have suffered hardship, is destined in my opinion to fail! Oh, and of course they also have a home market ten times our size who all speak the same language..."

Totally agree on Jesse, she's ab fab... maybe we should do something together on Famebook?


Jan Simmonds

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Andrew Romans said...

By contrast to Israel and the European Union, USA has abandoned its culture of immigration which is one of the key ingredients of entrepreneurship. Israeli politicians promise how many immigrants they will get into the country when in office. Ours talk about the fence.

England has immigrants who pay their own travel to come to the UK and if the exchange rates fall or the jobs dry up they pay their way home, spending money and making the new England strong and competitive.

USA needs to read its own history and start a new brain drain.

Gerald Meaders said...