Lake Superior vs. Silicon Valley Hot Spots

Posted on August 18, 2008  Comments (2)

Nice post from Rich Hoeg – Lake Superior vs. Silicon Valley Hot Spots:

Recently I had the opportunity to visit friends in Silicon Valley. While riding the light rail in Mountain View, I experienced a moment of revelation of how life differs between the shores of Lake Superior and Silicon Valley. Six young men boarded the train … all obviously geeks in their young 30’s … their laptops (all Apples) were already fired up and ready. They proceeded to have a LAN party while riding the light rail on the way to work. Why was this possible?? You need to understand that Google provides free wireless to the entire town on Mountain View. The world is connected … and interacts in different ways … at least in Silicon Valley.

Thus, life is different on the shores of Lake Superior. I am a lone software nerd looking for a wireless hotspot … not a light rail rider with free unlimited access anywhere in my community. Out in Silicon Valley I tried Google’s connection; it worked fine and did not ask for anything beyond my normal Google account.

This is one small example of why Silicon Valley is so successful. To be economically successful, countries need to focus on big things (investing in infrastructure, sensible laws relating to innovation, creating and maintaining good capital markets, investing in science and engineering education, encouraging entrepreneurs, transportation systems…) and the small stuff like this. Silicon Valley continue to be a bright light (as do other places, like Boston) but overall the USA seems to be trailing, not leading, far too often lately.

Related: Engineering the Future EconomyUSA Science Losing GroundDiplomacy and Science ResearchUSA Broadband is Slow. Really Slow.

2 Responses to “Lake Superior vs. Silicon Valley Hot Spots”

  1. Bill
    August 19th, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

    Great example, but does that mean that Winona (early innovator in citywide wireless) will be the next Silicon Valley? Takes more then shared connectivity. Frankly I think a big part of it is the west coast mentality of risk taking that we in the midwest do not have. We are too practical.

  2. Anonymous
    August 25th, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

    I live way out in the country in North Carolina and have to use a dial-up connection. Having the ability to take your computer and log on where ever you are is something I have no conception of being able to comprehend. Guess if I worked outside of my home in a business world I’d really be surprised. My husband has tried to bring me more up-to-date but using my dial up is enough for me for now.

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