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Learning the Silicon Valley Way

"Learning the Silicon Valley Way" is the incremental process of firm-building and market-building that underlay the formation of the world's preeminent high-technology, high growth economy. Revisiting Moore's experiences as an early employee of Shockley Semiconductor and as a cofounder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, we emphasize the necessary conditions for the take-off of Silicon Valley. These conditions include broad-based learning of the many facets of managing commercial scientific endeavors - from managing internal incentives to limiting the dimensions of external competition - and the central importance of a large technological opportunity. At the same time, we reevaluate and downplay the role that military spending, university proximity, and central planning played in the evolution of this economy. The end result is an almost iconoclastic, and we believe, more accurate picture of the crucial elements in a nascent high-tech regional economy.

Kevin Davis
Publication Date
July, 2001