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Author Topic: Ask DC: Can Silicon Valley be replicated or not?  (Read 685 times)

Paul Keith

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Ask DC: Can Silicon Valley be replicated or not?
« on: May 26, 2012, 04:46:46 PM »
Though technically this is just a copy paste of this, I find it just as much interesting from a productivity and NANY standpoint, as it is from a global stand point.

To quote Massimo Manca:

Some years ago I worked a short time in the Valley. It is quite different then every place in Italy. If i could choose the place where I would like to work I surely choose the Valley. It is a question of mentality, enthusiasm and want to do that has infected so many people to change a lot the world. These qualities you can't find in any place in Europe, not in Italy, Great Britain, France and Germany that should be the most developed economies.

Snippet of Full Article:


The number of governments around the world who are trying to replicate Silicon Valley is astonishing; Iraq’s minister for digital wants to create a Silicon Baghdad, there’s Startup Chile attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to go through their government initiated startup program, and now adverts exist at San Francisco’s airport for London’s ‘Tech City’ also known as Silicon Roundabout. But that’s not all, as the cost of innovation decreases, people all over the world are getting ideas off the ground with a wifi connection and a laptop, in places you wouldn’t even imagine; Rwanda, Tanzania, The Philippines all have growing tech scenes and why not? If one of these countries creates the next Google or Facebook think of the wealth and job creation (not to mention tax proposition) it emits for those countries.


London has publishing and finance, New York has advertising and fashion, Iceland has thermal energy – why are entrepreneurs in these places following the The Samwer brothers’ Berlin based model of replicating startups in Germany that become a success in the US? They should be innovating around industries and attributes they already have. These industries are inevitably going to need drastic innovation if they want to survive and startup innovation around old industry is perhaps how other locations around the planet could one day conquer world title as highest producer of innovative startups in the world over the high tech, tunnel vision focused nature of the Valley.

Notable rebuttal:

This argument seems really weak and would be destroyed in a high school debate. New York has fashion? Yes, and so does Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo and many other major cities--just like publishing, etc.

It is a very rare industry that cannot be replicated in another major city. Sure, it won't be exactly the same, but that's the beauty of it. These cities aren't trying to replicate Silicon Valley exactly. Also, there are a lot more people who can code in a lot of other countries.

#3 - acqui-hire

The unique startup funding ecosystem in Silicon Valley is also what makes it so special, both investors as well as entrepreneurs are big risk takers and deals get done fast. Both London and Berlin based startups told me how they recently had to travel to Silicon Valley to get early stage seed funding because it was non-existant in their home cities. Italian startup Glancee came to the Valley and just over a year later it was acquired by Facebook. Startups on accelerators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups and I/O Ventures are almost guaranteed an exit to one of the big four; Facebook, Apple, Google or Microsoft or at least an exit in the form of at least an acqui-hire.

#4 - Stanford

Ironically for a country as young as the USA, much of the Valley’s success can be traced back to the history of the Bay Area Gold Rush of 1849;  The dramatic population increase and new wealth creation demanded the need for the Transcontinental railroad that connected California with the central and Eastern states of America.

It was built with the investment of Leland Stanford, a business man who came West during the gold rush also the founder of Stanford University. Stanford built the university in 1885 using the profits he had made from building the Transcontinental railroad and now Stanford is the institution that now feeds much of the unmatchable talent into Silicon Valley.

#5 - I still have no idea why FB, forums and Reddit can't replicate this:

San Francisco is a small place; with a population just under one million on the peninsular, compared with London’s 10 million, there’s not much separation between work and play. Your friends are also the people you do business with and you are nearly always one degree of separation away from anyone you want to know. This makes finding the right people for the right deal, fast and easy. Entrepreneurs are living, eating, sleeping and breathing startups in ‘Startup Mansions’ -shared accommodations that become meccas for startup life. Blackbox, The Glint, Rainbow and Factory O are all mansions stretching from Los Altos to San Francisco home to you people who are executing on their world changing ideas.

#6 - complimentary slogan

Silicon Valley would never spend time talking about how they want to become the next Silicon Valley

They would just execute and become Silicon Valley. It astonishes me Europe is having the same argument over and over again. Every time I’m back in Europa the debate seems stagnant, like the kid at school that can’t get over the chip on his shoulder- well guess what Europe? You’ve had your day, the USA is the world super power now and Silicon Valley is no 1. You can either moan about it or focus on innovating around the attributes you already have. I’ve seen some great publishing and food startups in London, ideas that I don’t think the valley could come up with because the problems in those industries only exist in London.

With all this said I’m a great believer in promoting global entrepreneurship and my argument that Silicon Valley doesn’t always think beyond the gold rush of making a billion dollars versus solving world-chaning problems still stands. But I urge you, rest of the world to save your time complaining about how you want to be the next Silicon Valley, because it won’t happen, instead don’t replicate, recreate and put your energy into being the best you, you can be.