I have just come back from a week spent in the Silicon Valley, during which I was
able to have meetings – as
part of a press tour – with various start-ups in the areas of IT infrastructure,
software , storage area networks to name but a few of the subjects that were tackled
during that trip. Beyond the various interviews and discussions that we had with
leading entrepreneurs in the Bay area, I have tried to highlight the eight points
which, at this very moment and in my opinion, are making the Silicon Valley stand
out from the rest of the world in terms of high-tech innovation; here they are:
- above all, the Silicon Valley is about a state of mind in sync with entrepreneurship; the whole Valley is resonating with the desire to foster free enterprise and innovate,
- secondly, there is the possibility for such entrepreneurs to find easy money and the real ecosystem to launch new ideas and new services,
- thirdly, swiftness of action, which enables a new high-tech venture to be set up in something like 3 months or even less,
- fourthly, the strength of the Silicon Valley is in the software, what ever the application concerned, even in the infrastructure business. We have indeed seen several start-ups work up to 4 years in order to develop a new operating system and therefore try and get a leg up in competition,
- fifthly, a true myth, which enables the Silicon Valley to live on, despite the current credit crunch and the crisis that everyone has been through,
- the sixth characteristic of the Bay area is private money, often coming from families or entrepreneurs (not VCs) who have succeeded; ethnic funds are also involved significantly (Indian and Chinese mainly),
- the seventh reason is a sense of a global perspective, whereby Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are thinking global even before the opportunity arises to launch beyond their local markets,
- lastly, the intensive use of offshoring for software developments, with unlikely countries like France being used as cheap alternatives to Bay area developers (a junior php developer in the silicon valley is paid $60,000
to 80,000 a year, a senior developer $120,000 to $150,000 per annum).
As a conclusion, it’s not just one reason that makes the Silicon Valley different from what is seen elsewhere, often copied and rarely matched, even in the United States. This region is really a maelstrom of innovation and entrepreneurship.
note: picture Yann A Gourvennec, Orange Business Services: the photo was taken at the plug and play tech centre in Sunnyvale.