You Don't Create A Silicon Valley By Government Fiat
from the takes-a-bit-more-than-that dept
Two separate articles came out in two separate newspapers based 3,000 miles away from each other this past weekend -- but together they demonstrate exactly why so many places have had difficulty creating their own, local versions of "Silicon Valley." Especially during the dot com bubble, it seemed like every country and every state wanted to create some area that was a "local" Silicon Valley. There were silicon islands and silicon prairies and silicon alleys and silicon mountains... and almost all of them went nowhere. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle talks about how the original Silicon Valley was created, through a mixture of strong educational institutions, easy flow of capital and a culture that focused on risk, experimentation, entrepreneurship -- and the free flow of ideas. While the government played a big role in early Silicon Valley culture, it was as a customer, not as the creator of the culture. Contrast that to the story in the Washington Post about how Prince William County set out to create a high tech hub, which is still struggling to get much traction in the high tech world. Rather than paving the way for those critical components to form, the county simply set aside some land and (it appears) some marketing efforts to promote the county as a good place for high tech companies. That seems to be about all that many other "silicon somethings" did in the past decade as well -- forgetting that there's a lot more involved in creating a true high tech hub.