What makes Sillicon Valley special?
via O'Reilly rader, about how Prof. Bill Miller dissects the DNA of Sillicon Valley
1. Universities and research institutes which interact with industry
A key point from Miller's perspective is that having great universities around isn't enough, they need to be a functioning part of the community. Clearly this means having alumni who go out to form companies, but it needs to also include a way for the university insiders to participate in innovation. Taking the case of Stanford, Miller points out that there are revenue sharing incentives in place which encourage schools and departments to allow their professors to take part in professional activities.
2. Meritocratic and risk-taking culture
Miller points out that as compared to much of the world, Silicon Valley relatively devoid of old boys clubs which act as gatekeepers. If your idea is good enough, you can generally get financing, deals, employees, etc., here. Additionally, Silicon Valley is relatively tolerant of failure, with some entrepreneurs succeeding only after many failed attempts. This is something that is in stark contrast with much of the world.
3. Global linkages
For any number of reasons, be it world-class universities or the high quality of life, people from all over the world move to Silicon Valley. This creates a flux of people with a variety knowledge bases and personal connections. Miller claims that it is in this mixing of knowledge that new ideas are formed and that in the unique network of relationships that they are able to be realized.