The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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Stanford University Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 424 pages
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The enormous and sustained success of Silicon Valley has excited interest around the globe. Startup companies the world over are attempting to emulate its high tech businesses, and many governments are changing their institutions in order to foster Silicon Valleys of their own. What accounts for the Valley s leading edge in innovation and entrepreneurship?

This book gives an answer by insiders, by prominent business leaders and academics from the heart of the Valley. They argue that what distinguishes the Valley is not its scientific advances or technological breakthroughs. Instead, its edge derives from a "habitat or environment that is tuned to turn ideas into products and take them rapidly to market by creating new firms.

This habitat includes supportive government regulations for new firm formation, leading research universities that interact with industry, an exceptionally talented and highly mobile work force, and experienced support services in such areas as finance, law, accounting, headhunting, and marketing, all specializing in helping new companies form and grow. Not least is a spirit of adventure and a willingness to take risks.

The elements of this habitat are packed into a small geographic area. In it, networks of specialists form communities of practice within which ideas develop and circulate and from which new products and new firms emerge. Feedback processes are strongly at work: the successes of Valley firms strengthen the habitat, and the stronger it becomes, the more new, successful firms are created.

Among industries, electronics came into the Valley first, followed by semiconductors, computers, software, and, in the 1990s, biotechnology, networking, and the Internet. This extraordinary ability to keep adding new industrial sectors itself affects the prospect for the Silicon Valley's future. What lies ahead? From within, the Valley faces serious challenges in defining a new generation of entrepreneurs, addressing a growing digital divide, and maintaining quality of life. At the same time, the Valley must redefine its global role with respect to other rising innovative regions worldwide. Nevertheless, the proven ability of its highly effective habitat suggests that in both innovation and entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley will maintain its edge.

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The editors (all connected with Stanford Universiy) use contributions from 25 authors, business professionals, and academics to trace the unique evolution of Silicon Valley from 1949 to the present ... Read full review


The Silicon Valley Habitat
A Profile of the Valleys Evolving Structure
Innovation in Business Models
Four Styles of Valley Entrepreneurship
The Internet Revolution and Silicon Valley
Fairchild Semiconductor and Its Influence
A Deans Reflections
Commercial Bank Financing
The Influence of Executive Search Firms
Why Accountants are Valued
Sustaining the Edge

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About the author (2000)

Chong-Moon Lee is Chairman and CEO of AmBex Venture Group and Consulting Professor of the Asia/Pacific Research Center, Stanford University. William F. Miller is Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. Marguerite Gong Hancock is Project Manager of the Silicon Valley Networks Project at Stanford University. Henry S. Rowen is Professor of Public Policy and Management Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business and Director of the Asia/Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

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