Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday January 14, @04:23PM   Printer-friendly

The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley:

POLITICAL LEADERS HAVE been trying to replicate Silicon Valley’s high-tech magic since the invention of the microchip. A tech-curious Charles de Gaulle, then president of France, toured Palo Alto in his convertible limousine in 1960. Russian Federation President Dmitri Medvedev dressed business casual to meet and tweet with Valley social media tycoons in 2010. Hundreds of eager delegations, foreign and domestic, visited in between. “Silicon Valley,” inventor and entrepreneur Robert Metcalfe once remarked, “is the only place on earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley.”

In the US, too, leaders have long tried to engineer another Silicon Valley. Yet billions of dollars of tax breaks and “Silicon Something” marketing campaigns later, no place has matched the original’s track record for firm creation and venture capital investment—and these efforts often ended up benefiting multinational corporations far more than the regions themselves. Wisconsin promised more than $4 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn in 2017, only to see plans for a $10 billion factory and 13,000 jobs evaporate after hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent to prepare for Foxconn’s arrival. Amazon’s 2017 search for a second headquarters had 238 American cities falling over each other to woo one of the world’s richest corporations with tax-and-subsidy packages, only to see HQ2 go to two places Amazon likely would have chosen anyway because of their preexisting tech talent. One of the winners, Northern Virginia, promised Amazon up to $773 million in state and local tax subsidies—a public price tag for gleaming high-tech towers that seems especially steep as Amazon joins other tech giants in indefinitely pushing back post-pandemic plans to return to the office.

While the American tech industry is vastly larger than it used to be, the list of top tech clusters—the Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, Austin—has remained largely unchanged since the days of 64K desktop computers and floppy disks. Even the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic have done little to alter this remarkably static and highly imbalanced tech geography.

[...] It wasn’t just tech policy that made these regions what they are, however. Social spending mattered too. In the prosperous postwar years, the GI Bill sent millions of veterans to college and helped them buy homes. States like California enlarged public higher education systems, making it easy to obtain a low-cost, top-flight university education. Schools and local infrastructure were well-funded, especially in the growing suburbs that many tech people and companies called home.

[...] The US government had a transformative impact on high-tech development when its leaders were willing to spend big money on research, advanced technology, and higher education—and keep at it for quite some time.

[...] The next Silicon Valley will not come from a race to the bottom, from who can offer the most tax cuts, the leanest government, the loosest regulations. It will result from the kind of broad, sustained public investment that built the original Valley.


Why do you think "Silicon Valleys" elsewhere did not become as successful?

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by HiThere on Friday January 14, @06:21PM (3 children)

    by HiThere (866) on Friday January 14, @06:21PM (#1212723) Journal

    Sorry, physical proximity is necessary. So is at least a couple of world class universities. So is a prosperous middle class. So is the expectation that by doing well you recieve rewards. So is a loose social scene, that encourages people to meet. So is a tolerance a degree of disorder. So is a bunch of late teens that believe they can change the world for the better. So is being willing to tolerate a HUGE number of failures. There are probably other requirements that I haven't noticed/thought of/considered sufficiently important.

    Tax policies favoring large corporations are a negative. They can foster existing approaches, but they tend to smother anything really new.

    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Insightful=2, Interesting=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by HiThere on Friday January 14, @06:29PM

    by HiThere (866) on Friday January 14, @06:29PM (#1212726) Journal

    One thing I left out:
    The next "Silicon Valley" won't look like the last one. Won't be in the same field. (Biotech seems likely, but perhaps that's already oversubscribed.)

    Also: Most of the posts seem to be talking about a late stage in the development. This won't work. You've got to start at the beginning. You can't skip the initial steps and still have something that works. Ventrure capitalists don't even show up until things are well advanced beyond preliminary, and probably not until you've got a few initial successes.

    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 14, @08:10PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 14, @08:10PM (#1212751)

    Sorry, physical proximity is necessary.

    Depends entirely on the venture. Pure software plays: not at all.

    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @01:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @01:16AM (#1213289)

    But you need a prosperous wealthy class - after all, they will be paying for the startups and will expect to be wined and dined close to where they live.

    My bet is on Southern Florida north of Miami to be a candidate for the next Silicon Valley. Tons of rich people, a climate many want to move to, a large talent pool from local universities, and ready influx from traditional "top schools". And as we saw in the last two weeks^Wyears, political stability and a relaxed hand at that.