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Silicon Valley

Regional Advantage and the Evolution of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, just south of San Francisco, is the birthplace of Personal Computing. When the PC revolution was beginning in 1975 and 1976, Silicon Valley was not much different than any other industrialized metropolitan area near a University blessed with a temperate climate. The area had no obvious advantage for making PCs.

At that time, I happened to have the good fortune of being a member of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, as it became known. From my position at PARC, on the edge of the Stanford University campus, I watched the PC revolution unfold. Colleagues became billionaires and others became known as the intellectual luminaries credited with inventing much of personal computing.

None of us living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970’s sensed a special “regional advantage” that could give birth to a “Silicon Valley”. However, as I retrace the emergence of the Valley, you will see precisely why it was no accident that Silicon Valley was created in the orb of Stanford University rather than Dallas-Texas (where the microprocessor was co-invented), or Murray Hill-New Jersey (where the transistor was invented). I think these retrospective insights may very well help any individual or organization better understand what it takes to promote economic growth and prosperity, and perhaps another Silicon Valley itself.

Let me summarize. You will see below that men, sometimes a single insightful man, will supply ideas, such as strengthening the ties between academia and industry, which will later have unforseen power to promote economic growth.

.... to read the on the links....

  1. Richard Florida's views on regional advantage and creativity
  2. More Richard Florida: the Rise of the Creative Class

The GG bridge: marking the northern end of Silicon Valley

Stanford Chapel

XEROX PARC where many of Silicon Valley's most innovative ideas were born

Steve Jobs at Stanford graduation