What Makes The Silicon Valley So Special

Silicon Valley. That’s the name that comes to an enterprise’s mind when they face challenging business issues. No wonder enterprises from all over the world have set up offices / innovation center here. The latest company to make this pilgrimage, from India, is Wipro.

Why has Valley become the cradle of global innovation?

In 2010, I visited Silicon Valley and this is what I discovered about its allure :

1. Talent: Universities like Stanford & world class companies located in the Valley are the sources of ‘local’ talent. While its allure draws the best talent from all over the planet.

2. Funds: World class VCs, PE firms with bulging purses are all located in the Valley. World changing ideas get them to open it.

3. Law Firm: The finest law firms are just a call away. They can draw up iron clad contracts in the wink of an eye.

4 .IP Firms: As soon as an ‘innovation’ is done the call goes out to them to ‘IP’ it double fast

5. Office space: A clutch of ‘plug & play’ offices are available. You have to take yourself, your idea & start working. Rent – pay for what you use.

6. Mentors: World class mentors are just a call / coffee away.

7. Pitching an idea: Every person in the Valley is either pitching an idea or is getting pitched. If ideas are being so liberally shared won’t they get stolen? The belief in the Valley is that every idea comes with a shelf life & hence must be commercialised ASAP. More over the system is self regulating. The black sheep are quickly identified & ostracised.

8. Failure is a badge that is proudly worn on the sleeve & flaunted: In the Valley people proudly proclaim, ‘I failed 3 times.’ Failure is respected because it is believed that it is a better teacher than success. And more the person has failed, better are the chances they will not make the same mistakes again.

9.Inspiration all-round: A person looking for inspiration does not have to look too far. Google, FB, Cisco, Oracle, Netflix & many more can be found in blood & flesh everywhere. I too during my visit to Silicon Valley felt inspired. My host was showing me around San Francisco. As we were strolling along the streets he pointed to a building & said with reverence reserved for rock stars, ’.. that Twitter office’. I looked at it. It was like any other building. But I could intuitively feel the pulsating energy of Twitter pounding inside it & it was getting transmitted to me. Next he took me to a bar, prefacing our entry saying, ‘that’s were Twitter guys drop in for a drink’. With adequate beer inside me I too had joined the legion of guys dreaming of coming up with an idea that could change the world.

Please do share your experiences & thoughts on what makes Silicon Valley so special