Silicon Valley is an odd place. There are places like Portola Valley where there are more patents filed per capita than anywhere else on the planet. There are places like Atherton where house prices are such that even lotto winners can’t buy in to their dream house. There’s Sand Hill road where Venture Capitalists and Investment banks pay a premium not to have any noticeable amenities other than good access to I280. It is home to industry icons including John Chambers, Craig Barrett, Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs. Yet for all the brains and the money that are crammed in to the thin strip of land that goes south from San Francisco to San Jose, the ingredient that appears to be most valuable is (drum role please) optimism.
I first moved to the Valley just as the bubble burst (no I am not to blame). Yet even as house prices dropped and the layoffs mounted talk was of the turn around, the next wave, the new thing. Everyone I spoke to said it was a correction but don’t worry things will sort themselves out. It seems that optimism was often misplaced as the turn around has taken far longer than those conversations suggested. However, that optimism never seemed to wane. Instead it seemed to grow, even though the tech industry every one either worked in or worked around seemed to be struggling.
This wonderful optimism is evident in the series the San Jose Mercury News is writing on life after the bubble burst. While I know some in the Valley hate these pieces (in part because they don’t want reminding of the dark days), I’d recommend them to anyone wanting to get a handle on the Valley. They may of course be a touch self serving and optimistic but hey this is Silicon Valley, what do you expect?