My response to Hermione Way's post about Silicon Valley:
In the past six months I've been to Europe three separate times, plus I've been outside the valley a bunch of times too (I'm headed to Wyoming to hang out with a bunch of Israeli investors and inventors at an offsite that starts tomorrow).
Sometimes I feel the same way that Hermione feels: that innovation is gone from the place I've called home for more than 38 of my 46 years, but that feeling usually doesn't last more than an hour -- time for the next entrepreneur to open up for me.
Hey, in just the past month or so, I've gotten a look at really awesome new image display technology from Nanosys ( http://www.building43.com/videos/2011/06/23/nanosys-nano-technology-for-image-display/
) and Sea Micro's really awesome new microserver technology http://youtu.be/gZvDr7qi1h0These are no Groupon clones and are companies that ONLY could be built in Silicon Valley.
I look around at the real Silicon Valley and I keep seeing tons of stuff you don't read about on Techcrunch or the Next Web. For instance, take a tour around PARC like I did http://scobleizer.com/2011/05/17/a-tour-around-first-church-of-technology-parc-the-innovative-lab-that-started-the-mac/
or SRI http://scobleizer.com/2011/03/06/my-epic-tour-of-sri-international-why-artificial-muscle-might-be-in-your-next-iphone/
or IBM's New Almaden Research Center http://scobleizer.com/2011/02/10/car-battery-of-future-inside-ibms-coolest-lab/
or NASA/Lockheed. My high school buddy has an experiment on the Space Shuttle. All developed here, but most of the time you don't read about that stuff when it comes to Silicon Valley. Why not?
I do travel a lot outside of the Valley. Why? Because I want to know who will be the next one to open an office in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. It is very rare that a company changes the world without opening an office here. Even Foursquare and Groupon and Baidu have offices here. Why is that? Because it's hard to do world-changing innovation elsewhere. There are certain types of engineers who live mostly in Silicon Valley. Want someone who built a 2,500-node Hadoop cluster for eBay? Here, not there. Want someone who understands Silicon? Maybe designed such for Intel or Apple? Here, not there. Want someone who has managed a company from 50 people to 25,000. Here, not there.
Hermione did nail that the financiers are here, too. Certainly the good ones. But if you think Steve Jurvetson or Vinod Khosla or Cynthia Ringo aren't reaching for the sky you haven't been around them.
Don't know who Cynthia is? Yeah, that's cause she doesn't hang out with Hermione Way, either (which is a shame, cause she is owner of one of the only female-owned VC firms in the world -- another Silicon Valley innovation, it seems). Check her bio: http://www.dblinvestors.com/cynthia-ringo.php
and what she and her VC firm is investing in. A crapload of clean tech and healthcare companies, along with Pandora and Livescribe. Go ahead and read the list. http://www.dblinvestors.com/portfoliocompanies.php
Tell me she's not changing the world.
Or, visit Kevin Surace. He's not changing the world? Really? His Serious Materials just put new windows on the Empire State Building. Saves them TONS of money and saves TONS of energy, which could save my son's generation some of the climate problems it looks like they are headed for.
Or visit Khosla Ventures. Go ahead. http://www.khoslaventures.com/khosla/cleantech.html
You won't read about most of those companies in the Next Web or Techcrunch. Why not? Too world-changing. Heck, even I haven't covered most of them and my life goal is to find world-changing technologies.
I don't meet companies like these in Europe and when I do, like at the World Economic Forum, they invariably are NOT from Europe, but from either USA, China, or Israel (most of the time USA). Not to mention, Europe hasn't yet given birth to a Facebook. A Google. A Yahoo. A Genentec. A VMware. An Apple. A Cisco. An Intel. An AMD. And I could go on.
But I'll be headed out of the Valley again in the morning. Why? Someday the rest of the world will figure it all out and I want to be there too. I wonder why Hermione is hanging out with the over-covered Y Combinator and not hanging out with Cynthia Ringo or Vinod Khosla. If she did she might have a much different idea of what is happening in innovation in Silicon Valley.