UK prime minister David Cameron recently outlined an ambitious plan for east London, calling for the Olympic Village to be transformed into a shiny new tech hub dubbed London's Silicon Valley.
Being neither an economist nor an expert on the urban subtleties of London, I can't say much as to the validity of transforming the industry or demographics of the East End.
However, as a long-time resident of San Francisco who has extensively covered the companies and culture of the real Silicon Valley, I can tell you that the development of the region and its industry is about a lot more than economics.
In other words, it will take a lot more than a government programme to create a technology hub.
So what makes Silicon Valley the technology hotbed that it is? Such a subject has filled entire books and still not been adequately explained, but we'll start with a few key points.
First, there's the pipeline of talent. Nearly every major technology centre in the US arose because of a strong military research and development presence or a major university computer science programme.
Silicon Valley had the best of both worlds. In the heart of the region were Nasa's Ames facility and Stanford University. Just across the bay, talent developed at Livermore Laboratory, Travis Air Force Base and the University of California Berkeley. Not far to the south is the University of Santa Cruz and Cal Poly University.
These facilities assured a virtually unmatched pipeline of engineering talent to build the technology industry, and remain a source for many of the top engineers and developers in the area.
In the UK, Cambridge has built a well-earned reputation for churning out talent, and no doubt there are plenty of top technology minds that make it to London. But whether those individuals are willing to relocate to the East End for their startups remains to be seen.
The culture of northern California is often mentioned when people discuss the rise of Silicon Valley. Since the days of the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, San Francisco and its surrounding regions have been a place where people flock and forget convention. The region is notoriously laid back and open minded.
This attitude has been critical to the development of Silicon Valley over the decades. Success and acceptance for new business ideas were based more on substance and less on flashy appearance. It's the attitude that lets people start businesses out of their tool sheds or garages.
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