In the tech-world, there is little one can do to avoid constant references to Silicon Valley. My initial research provided little insight, so I turned to a colleague in pursuit of clarity. In typical tech-marketing fashion, he spared no word or phrase, providing me with a detailed insight into his understanding of the term.
Still seeking more understanding, I put the task to Great Aunt Google. My initial research provided the following – SV is in California – geographically this posed a significant challenge, considering I was at my desk in Australia. I began exploring terms that I had come across, “Sending winners of an entrepreneurship competition to SV” (I have recently been volunteering in managing this event) and the incessant #hashtags that circled this term within the twitter-sphere, and discovered that SV is/was in fact the beating heart of this industry.
SV is located in Santa Clara Valley and the city of San Jose. The “Valley” refers to the Santa Clara Valley and the word “Silicon” referred to the numerous innovators and manufacturers of silicon chips in the area. The term was introduced in 1971 by a reporter who started a column entitled “Silicon Valley in the USA”. Through the 80s, the term caught like wildfire and became the norm it is today.
Some tech giants in Silicon Valley include Netflix, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Tesla Motors, Adobe Systems, San Disk, Intel, Apple Inc., eBay, Cisco Systems, Google, Facebook, Visa Inc. and much more.
As I journeyed further through, I looked around at my colleagues and wondered what it meant to be be in SV, and conversely, being not being in the Valley for a tech start up like ours. Were there opportunities we could be missing as our USA office is in Portland, Oregon and not the valley itself. Exploring the initiatives we have launched in the past year, I came across some facts that connected us to the valley by association. Appearition is a member of AREA – the Augmented Reality Enterprise Association – an industry body led by thought leaders who are paving the way for this industry to grow in coming years, headquartered in Santa Clara. We were also sponsors and presented at the Augmented World Expo 2016 – hosted in Santa Clara.
As for a physical presence, Appearition may not be in Silicon Valley, but we are certainly in the vicinity. Further research revealed Portland to have a moniker of its own – the “Silicon Forest” – another leading hotspot of tech development and related industry activity. The term Silicon Forest was first used in a Japanese company’s press release in 1981, although Lattice Semiconductor trademarked the term in 1984 and are often accredited with establishing the term. This area is more known for companies that focus on hardware, computer chips, electronic displays and printers.
Companies in Silicon Forest include Airbnb, Macafee, Mozilla, Nike, SurveyMonkey, Xerox, Yahoo and many more.
This co-existence of multiple silicon localities is apparently merely the tip of the ice-berg, as I discovered a number of other pockets globally who had their own term for aggregations of tech companies and innovation. To name a few;
- Singapore (Asia’s Silicon Valley) – Because of its popular location to set up an international business
- Bangalore (India) – Often referred as “Silicon Plateau” (At Appearition India, we have two offices, including Chennai, also in the South of India and just off said plateau)
- Cambridge (England) – referred as “Silicon Fen” and sometimes “Cambridge Cluster”
- Dublin (Ireland) – This location is increasingly becoming the “Europe’s Silicon Valley” and also sometimes called “Silicon docks”
- Berlin – in early 2000s Berlin earned being the location for start-up companies
- Zhongguancun (China) – Known as “China’s Silicon Valley” located in Haidian District, Beijing
Thinking back to my home in Greenland, I would guess the capital Nuuk would be best primed to have our own silicon (something). While advanced technology is still on its way to Greenland, the speed of westernization is rapidly increasing back home and I don’t think we are a long way away from companies realising the opportunity in Greenland. Click here to learn more about Greenland’s technology story line from one of our previous blog entries.