Silicon Valley’s Secret Sauce

In his latest essay Paul Graham dissects what makes Silicon Valley “the” Silicon Valley. As someone who lived and worked in two (self proclaimed) Silicon Valley-like technology parks (the Silicon Alps and the Silicon Prairie) I found Graham’s discussion of the key ingredients interesting. (BTW, Wired sheds additional light over the Silicon envy.) While Grenoble has great schools and location (with ski slopes a 45 minute bus ride from the campus), and Chambana great schools and cornfields (with tall, thick corn next to the movie theater’s parking lot), neither achieved the Silicon Valley critical mass while I lived there.I also have the benefit of having read an excellent book on the topic, and am waiting for a second one to be published:

  • The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley, a great book in at least 3 ways: the story of Robert Noyce; the history of semiconductors (from Ge transistors to Intel’s 4004); history of the Valley.

  • Broken Genius : The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age is not out yet, but I’ve added it to my wishlist after hearing an NPR interview with the author.

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