The fact that the San Francisco Bay Area’s electronics industry
began close to the turn of the Twentieth Century should lay to
rest the notion that industrialization and urbanization on the
scale of Silicon Valley can be quickly induced in other areas.
Silicon Valley is nearly 100 years old.
It grew out of a historically and geographically specific
context that cannot be recreated. The lesson for planners
and economic developers is to focus on long-term, not short-term
developmental trajectories. Silicon Valley was the fastest
growing region in the United States during the late 1970s and
early 1980s; but that growth came out of a place, not a technology.
Silicon Valley’s development is intimately entwined with the long
history of industrialization and innovation in the larger San
Francisco Bay Area.
Three good books on how Silicon Valley came to be
"Understanding Silicon Valley" by Kenney http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Silicon-Valley-Entrepren...
"The Silicon Valley Edge" by Lee, Miller, Hancock, and Rowen http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Valley-Edge-Innovation-Entrepr...
"Regional Advantage" Saxenian http://www.amazon.com/Regional-Advantage-Culture-Competition...
See also this thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=908026
It's not misleading in raising the bar to areas/regions that want to be the next Silicon Valley and don't have an entrepreneurial substrate and appropriate ancillary services (e.g. attorneys, accountants, banks, that understand startups and entrepreneurs) to form a viable ecosystem.
I don't think the 100 years is misleading, if it had happened somewhere else (e.g. Boston) I think it would still have involved the same antecedents: major universities, risk capital, electronics firms...It may also have been important that it was primarily agricultural land that was pushed aside, if there had been other active industries they may have preferentially competed for the same talent.
Three good books I rely on for this analysis are
For some background on Silicon Valley see
Anna Lee Saxenian's "Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128"
"Clusters and the New Economics of Competition" by Michael E. Porter in the November-December 1998 Harvard Business Review
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