Steve Jobs is more beloved than Jim Morrison
The Silicon Valley is not replicable in other contexts, "because there is a component of cultural feeling that attracts a certain kind of people who can reinvent themselves every time".
“If you go to the tomb of Steve Jobs there are more flowers and dedications than to that of Jim Morrison alPère-Lachaise in Paris”. Enzo Carone, researcher at the SLAC in Menlo Park, Stanford‘s linear acceleration center, strategic laboratory of the Department of Energy of the United States of America, in the presentation of Silicon Valley and its evolution, could not forget Apple’s father.
The reason is not only historical or didactic, but has to do with a crucial aspect that Carone summarizes as follows: “The Silicon Valley is not replicable in other contexts because there is a component of cultural feeling that attracts a certain type of people who can reinvent themselves every time. Jobs was one of these human types deeply identified with Silicon Valley, a carrier of creative discontinuities, conducive to change. “Here were the ideal conditions,” explains Carone, “for a certain social fabric to develop in that direction”.
The characteristics that make Silicon Valley unique are four: the existence of clusters that allow entrepreneurship to flourish (in two hours and with $ 200 one can create a startup), a labor market willing to risk and change, a governance of start-ups that leverages on equity and capital participation, a university like Stanford that is a powerful brand, a hotbed of ideas and new entrepreneurs.
The Silicon Valley is not a paradise. Here there is an exasperated competitiveness and everything that is distracting brings with the change also a lot of pain. “The motto of John Hennessy,” underlines Carone, “is ‘Here we want to make the world a better place’. Given that Hennessy, for many years the head of Stanford, is an extraordinary person, the fact remains that the transition from an old to a new economy is steeped in cynicism.
DOES IT STILL MAKE SENSE TO CALL IT SILICON VALLEY?
Enzo Carone lists one by one the transformations that have taken place in the Bay Area. Originally, radars were made for the Navy and radio frequencies were studied, then we switched to the production of integrated circuits and in the ’80s there was the era of personal computers. “Now I don’t know what it is anymore,” concludes Carone, “maybe it’s a lot of things together: applications, sharing economy, connectivity”.
Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, but everything is transformed. Perhaps the first principle of thermodynamics also applies to Silicon Valley. Domenico Di Mola, Vice President of Juniper Network, which has experienced the main transformations of the Bay Area, is convinced that the name Silicon should be archived because it no longer identifies anything other than a past that is now almost remote. “Call it instead Software Valley,” says Di Mola, “and in a not too distant tomorrow Application Valley.
The trajectories are already clear to innovators in the area, such as Juniper Networks, a multinational company founded in 1996 that deals with Information and Communication Technology and networking technologies, with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. A 5-billion-dollar business with 9,300 employees and a presence in 43 countries, including Italy where Juniper has customers such as Telecom Italia and Wind, as well as offices in Milan.