It’s not everyday you get invited to tour the Silicon Valley, and this is a worthy experience that I didn’t want to miss for anything in the world. Here is a quick introductory text which was originally written for Orange Business Services and is available at http://blogs.orange-business.com
From their own admissions, a few of the fellow journalists I’m travelling with today told me that trips like this one had been few and far between in the past decade. 10 years or so ago, such trips were organised into the Silicon Valley and you would “get to see start up companies that almost didn’t exist the day before tell you about the new economy from their lavish offices at the heart of San Francisco” one of them told me this morning. It didn’t happen to me. When I came to San Jose and Palo Alto in the Summer of 2001, the bubble had already burst and I don’t even dare to mention what happened in the few months following that visit, which tended to make matters even worse. San Jose already looked a bit deserted and so did the famous restaurant in Palo Alto in which many a new Internet project like Yahoo and eBay had been devised.
But despite the crisis, times have changed and optimism is back on the agenda; since 2004 and O’Reilly’s famous pitch on Web 2.0, many good ideas have been launched while avoiding the pitfalls and excesses of the previous period. Many a project now is backed by real money and leads to serious business plans. Besides, web 2.0 has now been rebranded social media, for what the term is worth, and it shows a certain sign of maturity as it is being embraced by many companies like Orange Business Services. As a matter of fact, I will also keynote at the Ragan Social Media Summit which will take place in San Jose at Cisco’s HQ on June 9-11, 2010.
The very fact that I am being invited to take part in this tour is also a sign that brands – mainly in high-tech – have evolved into content providers of their own; not against journalisms as some are pointing a little too hastily, but alongside journalists, and to an extent, a lot of them are working with brands too, bringing their skills and methods, and that’s also a good sign.
I will be reporting live from San Jose and the Silicon Valley the whole of this week in order to bring you the best of the technologies and insights that we have been able to gather here.