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The Problem With Silicon Valley Is Itself - TNW Entrepreneur

The Problem With Silicon Valley Is Itself - TNW Entrepreneur
As a Brit who gave up cheerleading the European tech scene to make the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley to live, eat and breath the world’s leading hub for technology startup innovation, I’ve been largely unimpressed and disappointed by the quality of startups here. Living in San Francisco since January, I’ve interviewed around two hundred startups and there’s only two, out of two hundred, I think are game changers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Silicon Valley is an incredibly inspiring place to be. Groupon clone after Groupon clone, yawn… yet another social media dashboard, a cloud-based enterprise solution or, worse still, another photo sharing app; I’ve heard pitch after pitch of the same technology and keep wondering why all these highly intelligent, well educated youngsters, many of whom have been educated in the best universities in the world (Stanford, Yale and Harvard) are not putting their brains to good use by solving real-world problems. Not enough real-world problems

From creation myth to the reality of innovation today On the surface, Malcolm Gladwell’s latest article for The New Yorker, “Creation Myth: Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation“, is a story about the mouse and how inventions travel – and evolve – across time and place. But examined more deeply, the article is really about the factors that determine whether you end up with an invention or an innovation. Simply put: “invention” is the manifestation of an idea or creation of something new. It doesn’t become an “innovation” until it’s applied successfully in practice – i.e., it reaches the market and impacts people’s lives. The story of PARC – and for that matter, any other innovative company – is indeed a mix of hopeful inventions, world-changing innovations, and missed opportunities, as Gladwell observes. On the challenges of invention and innovation 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A note on the popular story of the mouse Speaking of the “expert mind”… There’s a nuance that’s often forgotten in popular retellings of the story of the mouse.

Silicon Valley: The Next Decade Posted on Thursday, Jun 2nd 2011 Amidst incessant talks of bubbles and baubles, it is clear that Silicon Valley is back. With a vengeance, no less. Innovation is back. Now is perhaps a good time to stop for a moment and reflect on what this coming decade will be all about for the Valley and its denizens. I will share some of my thoughts, but mostly, I’d like to hear from readers on what you’d like to see happen over the next decade in Silicon Valley. Philosophy My vision of what Silicon Valley needs to focus on is best described by the title of Michael Dertouzos’s book The Unfinished Revolution. For example, the technology that makes it possible for a digital worker in rural Africa or small-town India to work on data processing projects already exists. Similarly, the basic technology for telemedicine does exist, but the socioeconomic framework to connect willing doctors to needy patients around the world does not. In some of these areas, Silicon Valley has already played a phenomenal role.

Why Silicon Valley Can't Sell Drive up and down the 101 Freeway in Silicon Valley, or cast your gaze north toward Seattle, and media companies, which expect to book over $20 billion in advertising in 2011, appear to be everywhere. But visit the biggest of these companies and ask them to define themselves, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get them to say they’re the new generation of media, attracting audiences for the purpose of selling advertising. “We’re a core technology company,” says Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, whose team netted $10 billion in U.S. ad sales for the search giant last year. “I don’t know [if we’re a media company], and to be honest, I’m not that interested in the answer,” says a slightly annoyed David Fischer, Facebook’s vice president of advertising, who sold $1.8 billion. “Microsoft is first a technology company,” says Keith Lorizio, the head of sales for the software giant’s advertising unit. The exceptions? The existence of the gap raises an uncomfortable question.

Feature: The End Of Silicon Valley, The Rise Of Student Bedrooms It’s the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. And in Silicon Valley, it’s the end of an era. The garage days are over. It’s time to move on. The future belongs to the dorm. Stanford begat Silicon Valley. Many of the biggest companies of the 20th century were created by university kids taking a chance. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started HP in a garage in 1939. Today that Apple garage is a nerd landmark. With Steve Jobs’s exit from Apple, and HP shuffling out of the personal computer business altogether, this (northern) summer marked the end of the silicon era of Silicon Valley. Hugely ambitious hardware startups are not launching out of Palo Alto or Menlo Park garages anymore these days. There are still startups in Silly Valley, of course. What has happened in Silicon Valley is what has happened to America at large. Today the Valley belongs to Google and Facebook, companies that launched in off-campus apartments and computer labs. The garage isn’t available anymore.