The Silicon Valley

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, San Francisco Bay Area, Universities, Colleges, Academies
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Stanford University © Zadonix

Stanford University © Zadonix

Silicon Valley is the southern region of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. The region, whose name derives from the Santa Clara Valley in which it is centered, is home to many of the world’s largest technology corporations as well as thousands of small startups. The term originally referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually came to refer to all the high-tech businesses in the area; it is now generally used as a metonym for the American high-tech sector. Despite the development of other high-tech economic centers throughout the United States and the world, Silicon Valley continues to be the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, accounting for one-third (1/3) of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. Geographically, the Silicon Valley encompasses all of the Santa Clara Valley including the city of San Jose, the southern Peninsula Valley, and the southern East Bay. However, with the rapid growth of technology jobs in the San Francisco Metropolitan area, the traditional boundaries of Silicon Valley have expanded North to include the rest of San Mateo County, San Francisco County as well as parts of Marin County.

Stanford University, its affiliates, and graduates have played a major role in the development of this area. A very powerful sense of regional solidarity accompanied the rise of Silicon Valley. From the 1890s, Stanford University’s leaders saw its mission as service to the West and shaped the school accordingly. At the same time, the perceived exploitation of the West at the hands of eastern interests fueled booster-like attempts to build self-sufficient indigenous local industry. Thus, regionalism helped align Stanford’s interests with those of the area’s high-tech firms for the first fifty years of Silicon Valley’s development. During the 1940s and 1950s, Frederick Terman, as Stanford’s dean of engineering and provost, encouraged faculty and graduates to start their own companies. He is credited with nurturing Hewlett-Packard, Varian Associates, and other high-tech firms, until what would become Silicon Valley grew up around the Stanford campus. Terman is often called “the father of Silicon Valley”.

University of California Campus, Berkeley © Minesweeper/cc-by-sa-3.0 Santa Clara University Campus - Swig Hall and Mission Gardens © flickr.com - Omar A./cc-by-sa-3.0 San José State University © flickr.com - Steve McFarland/cc-by-sa-3.0 Looking west over northern San Jose and other parts of Silicon Valley © Elf/cc-by-sa-3.0 Downtown San Jose, the self-proclaimed Capital of Silicon Valley © XAtsukex/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stanford University © Zadonix
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Santa Clara University Campus - Swig Hall and Mission Gardens © flickr.com - Omar A./cc-by-sa-3.0
Silicon Valley is generally considered to have been the center of the dot-com bubble which started from the mid-1990s and collapsed after the NASDAQ stock market began to decline dramatically in April 2000. During the bubble era, real estate prices reached unprecedented levels. For a brief time, Sand Hill Road was home to the most expensive commercial real estate in the world, and the booming economy resulted in severe traffic congestion. Even after the dot-com crash, Silicon Valley continues to maintain its status as one of the top research and development centers in the world. A 2006 The Wall Street Journal story found that 12 of the 20 most inventive towns in America were in California, and 10 of those were in Silicon Valley. San Jose led the list with 3,867 utility patents filed in 2005, and number two was Sunnyvale, at 1,881 utility patents.

According to a 2008 study by AeA in 2006, Silicon Valley was the third largest high-tech center (cybercity) in the United States, behind the New York metropolitan area and Washington metropolitan area, with 225,300 high-tech jobs. The Bay Area as a whole however, of which Silicon Valley is a part, would rank first with 387,000 high-tech jobs. Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of high-tech workers of any metropolitan area, with 285.9 out of every 1,000 private-sector workers. Silicon Valley has the highest average high-tech salary at $144,800. Largely a result of the high technology sector, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area has the most millionaires and the most billionaires in the United States per capita. The region is the biggest high-tech manufacturing center in the United States. The unemployment rate of the region was 9.4% in January 2009, up from 7.8% in the previous month. Silicon Valley received 41% of all U.S. venture investment in 2011, and 46% in 4Q11.

Read more on SiliconValley.com, German Silicon Valley Accelerator, Silicon Valley History and Wikipedia Silicon Valley. Photos by Wikipedia Commons.




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