Monday, August 15, 2011

[Mcm2Ada] Riddle of Silicon Valley

On the question of why a small area between the cities of San Jose and Palo Alto, in northwest California, grew realm of electronic technology with a turnover of $ 450 billion, where there are 11 new companies per week and
62 millionaire a day, there is still no satisfactory answer.

Neologism "Silicon Valley" (rather than silicon, as silicon is formed the basis for mass production of semiconductors) coined the American journalist Don Hofler, dedicated to this phenomenon a series of publications.
In his view, the appearance of this valley in California was due to three factors: the presence of intelligent and educated people, favorable weather and rich investors.

Cut down the orchard

Weather there is really remarkable. Silicon Valley is located between two ridges of mountains near the ocean. There is not cold and not hot, and summer is almost cloudless. You can sunbathe on the beach and skiing - all within 3 hours away by car.

Until the 1970s this valley called the Valley of the pleasures of the heart. Locals and tourists love to climb in the spring at local peaks, picnic and enjoy the views of blossoming apple and cherry, pear and peach orchards, which stretched for dozens of kilometers. Developer world's first commercial microprocessor Intel 4004 Federico Fadzhin recalled: "I came to California in February 1968. California, full of blooming flowers and orchards, appeared to me and my wife like a paradise. Because we left Milan, and there at the time the weather was unpleasant dank. Here was this spring! My wife and I immediately fell in love with the weather and beauty of these places. "
However, in 1980 the gardens were cut down almost completely, and scenic views today spoils could. According to the founder of Yahoo's Paul Graham, now it's paradise "is a giant parking lot."

However, as far as we know, nobody is going to leave Silicon Valley. So, beautiful surroundings - it's not the point.
It is widely believed that a decisive role in the emergence of Silicon Valley played a state with its military contracts. Situated near UC Berkeley really was one of the main centers of development of a nuclear bomb. The head of the nuclear program was Professor Robert Opengeymer Berkeley, and Lawrence radiological laboratory of Ernest became the basis for the establishment of centers to develop nuclear weapons at Los Alamos and Livermore. However, Stanford University, on the basis of which there was Silicon Valley, in the military programs of World War II almost did not participate for the simple reason that, unlike Berkeley, has always been private. "Years of depression were far more difficult than you might imagine - remember the vice-rector of the Fred Terman at Stanford. - There was nothing, absolutely nothing with which they can work. Electrical laboratory located in the attic, the roof leaked, the threat of flood has risen steadily. Money for its repair was not, so I had to install wooden trays, lined with tar-soaked paper. When they were filled, we will pass them by. "
It turns out that the decisive factor appears in Silicon Valley - intelligent and educated people. Paul Graham in connection with this notice: "If you will be able to carry ten thousand such people from Silicon Valley in the backwater of Buffalo, the Buffalo will be the Silicon Valley."
However, we can recall that in the 60 years of high technology is booming in the same or even greater extent in the eastern U.S. - around Boston (Massachusetts) and in the west - in Seattle (Washington), as well as in Texas. Than, say, Boston is bad? There also has two famous universities: Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lot of talented people. Nevertheless, a recognized center of high technology has yet Silicon Valley.

Leland Stanford's strange act

The massive development of this area began with the gold fever that swept northern California in 1848. The influx of risk people from all over grown with each passing day. It was so great that some scientists have predicted the fear of moving the world's center of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. It soon became clear that stocks of gold in California been greatly exaggerated, but by the time people were already firmly entrenched in the new location. San Francisco, which was a small village, two years after the start of the chase for gold was a city with 55 thousand inhabitants. The mixing of nationalities, characters and ambitions made him an intellectual and cultural center of the west coast, did not like the sleepy town east of the USA. Thanks to the fusion of different traditions and ethnic groups of San Francisco has turned the city in many ways unique. Gold Rush Californians taught tolerance and respect for other cultures and nations, customs, and skin color. Local residents differ respectful attitude toward everyone. Here the Negro dances can perform white and rituals, ceremonies, and preaching of Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are broadcast on the same channels. This is where the Ukrainian Stephen Wozniak could meet and make friends with Steve Jobs, whose father was a Syrian. By the way, now more than a third working in Silicon Valley were born outside the United States.

The principle of universal freedom ("You can do everything that does not restrict the freedom of others") in San Francisco ever since the gold rush is unshakeable. Foreigners and residents east of the USA confused, for example, beggars, begging by day and roost at night on the sidewalk. Under California law the police can not prevent this, if anyone do not interfere beggars. In turn, the respectable inhabitants of San Francisco just shrug their shoulders: "Do you want to - lie on the sidewalk, do not want - do not lie." If the U.S. east - are factories, stock exchanges, banks, people who work for eight hours from start to finish and observe the dress code, Calif. - is Hollywood, hippies, the absence of any regulation, flip-flops and shorts in the workplace. Perhaps one of the main reasons for the rapid development of computer technology in Silicon Valley, is precisely to focus on the freedom of every society - creative freedom and disclosure capabilities, the choice of the business. And the main value of the valley - it is not just smart and educated, and above all free people.
California business also has its own traditions that are associated with the name of one of the founders of modern San Francisco, Leland Stanford. He was born in New York, and during the gold rush, reasoning that it is easier to extract gold from the pockets of gold, than vainly to sift gold dust, he opened a small San Francisco department store. Apparently, Mr. Stanford enjoyed great prestige among the miners, because soon he was elected magistrate. Following this, he headed the Central Pacific Railway, showing in this post remarkable organizational skills. The first trans-national line up 530 miles Stanford built in just 293 days, despite the fact that part of the journey had to hack through the mountains. At the same time, he amassed a large fortune, as the per mile paved rail company's owners received a 12 800-acre plot along the line and, depending on the area of ​​$ 16 thousand to $ 32 thousand in cash.

Rich with the U.S. East Coast prefer to invest in profitable enterprises to gain a quick profit, but the Leland Stanford acted differently - he financed the establishment of the university, which was subsequently named after him. One New York newspaper at that time published a scathing article in which he stated that at the Stanford University professor, "will lecture at the marble halls with empty pews." In the first year of university really attracted only 559 students, but next year the number of its departments had to increase from 15 to 49. University contributed to the popularity of what he declared religious tolerance at a time when most schools in the country one way or another contributed to the recruitment of students of only one denomination. In addition, the teaching emphasis was placed on applied knowledge.

"Go and work!"

Crucial for the development of the university was the fact that Leland Stanford was generous, giving him a huge property plot of land 8000 acres (1 acre = 4047 square meters. M). It is believed that Silicon Valley was born in 1951, when Stanford professor Frederick Terman of Electrical Engineering came up with the bright idea to take this space to lease high-tech companies.

But in reality, the history of the valley began in 1934 when two favorite pupil Terman and key players in the football team the Faculty William Hewlett and David Packard after graduation, not finding a job in San Francisco, were forced to go to the eastern United States. Packard in New York took on the job at General Electric, and Hewlett enrolled in graduate school at MIT. That's when Terman began to think about how to persuade graduates to stay in touch with the university. Three years later he succeeded in persuading the Hewlett and Packard to come back. He provided them with the scientific developments available to the faculty of his, counted out his wallet, $ 538 and said, 'Go and do what you must do. "

The first office was the garage Packard. His friends tossed a coin to decide whose name to the title company will be the first. Hewlett lucky. Thus was born the world-famous Hewlett-Packard Company with a turnover of $ 6 billion.
Today, the legendary garage brass plate emblazoned with the inscription "Here was born Silicon Valley." However, William Hewlett joked about it: "We are not responsible for the birth of Silicon Valley. We just settled there among the first. "

Under the scheme Hewlett-Packard have almost all large companies in Silicon Valley. They had the right to use the scientific achievements of the University, as they are actually located on its territory, but also the university could educate students on the basis of these companies. In 1954, Stanford has a program of cooperative collaboration that will enable students and graduates of the university to combine study with work in local companies.
Silicon Valley was the only place where employees of different companies openly discussed the problems they encountered during the work. No one is hiding its secrets, on the contrary, at every step of telling them. But let me, because a competitor could use these secrets and to produce a new product? No, anyone and had no idea to run across the road to another company. In addition, it was not profitable - technology developed so rapidly that for a time, while you bring to mind the idea of ​​a competitor, he will go a long way. It is known that the Soviet intelligence service has acted in Silicon Valley very well, regularly reporting on the latest scientific and technological achievements, and even sending in samples of the new Soviet technology, but until they are mastered, they are hopelessly outdated.
In Silicon Valley even was a special corporate culture distinguishes them from all others. Features of this culture David Packard formulated in 1958 in the form of "11 Simple Rules." Here are the first three:
1. First and foremost think about the others. This is the foundation, the first prerequisite for good relations with others. And it is very difficult to achieve. If you achieve this, any other problems in your way may seem nonsense.
2. Cultivate in others a sense of their importance. When out for us the other person feels unworthy, we are violating one of its deepest values. Let him feel the superiority or equality, and it's easy to get along with him.
3. Respect the other person's personality. The law of another different from you is sacred. In a world of no two people with similar life circumstances - each person is unique.
All over the world attempts to copy Silicon Valley, up to emulate title: Silicon Hills of Austin (Texas), Silicon Dominion in Virginia, Silicon Plateau, Bangalore (India), Silicon Island in Taiwan, Silicon swamp in Israel, Silicon Village Skolkovo. It seems to be available - the generous public investment, highly trained specialists, and favorable conditions of work, but to repeat the phenomenal success of Silicon Valley so far no one has. Maybe wrong those who think that the Valley of Heart delights - this is some enchanted place on earth where one, two and miscalculated?

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