Solid overview of the world’s “global innovation capital.”
Formerly a congressional staffer and lobbyist, Piscione moved to Silicon Valley seven years ago, started three media companies and became a zealous booster of the renowned high-tech region. In this brisk examination of the valley’s “ecosystem and culture,” she draws on interviews with innovators, venture capitalists and others to describe the genesis of this unusual creative hub, its main characteristics and how others can apply lessons learned there to innovative endeavors elsewhere. Named for the silicon-chip manufacturers who dominated the region in the 1970s, Silicon Valley is now the home for many leading global technology corporations (Apple, Google, etc.), which thrive in “a meritocratic culture that rewards innovative ideas, independent thinking, and hubris.” Piscione considers the major factors behind the region’s rise—Moffett Field, a former naval air station now owned by the NASA Ames Research Center; Stanford University, a force for innovation that has helped spawn 6,000 firms; the development of the electronics and semiconductor industries; and the availability of venture capital—the seminal roles of Stanford leader Frederick Terman and inventor William Shockley, and the convergence of engineers, scientists and people with an entrepreneurial mindset. Constantly adapting to new ideas, the region has long welcomed skilled immigrants—37 percent of the population is foreign-born, and most of those are from Asia. “Entrepreneurship is Silicon Valley’s sport, its religion, and there is no greater place in the world to be an entrepreneur,” writes Piscione. The author leaves few aspects of life in the valley unexamined; she even includes a rundown of hot spots like Buck’s of Woodside, a restaurant where entrepreneurs and venture capitalists meet.
A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation.