Attention: is what makes Silicon Valley hum

Following on from an earlier post about Silicon Valley magic dust, I’ve had a few conversations in Palo Alto the past few days with VCs, entrepreneurs and innovation ambassadors from places like Denmark.

The perennial topic du jour continues to be about “what makes Silicon Valley special”, ie what’s the magic dust that circulates through its, currently, rather warm air and fosters innovation like no other place on the planet.

John Hennessy, keynote at this evening’s opening of the Always On Innovation Summit @ Stanford and Stanford President, hit upon a key factor that makes his university a continual success…it’s not about scientific siloing, but more through cross/multi-disciplinary activities that innovation apparates.

In discussion with Tom Byers, John referred to the great work being done by Ellen Levy’s Media X program. Having met with Ellen for breakfast today I will most unequivocally second that…she is a fireball of positivity!

My daily epiphany came later this evening through a comment by one of the panelists – the nub of Silicon Valley is attention. So… the money washing around Sandhill Road is great, Stanford plays a key catalytic role, industry is indispensable, but… its the mix of these factors that provides the magic: it’s all about the Valley’s ability to drive attention like nowhere else on the planet.

I’ve riffed on this before, and it’s great to get further confirmation of my thoughts in this regard…think Skype: think how much media buzz and customer adoption they were able to generate post being introduced into the network via Draper Fisher Jurvetson….now you’re getting the picture.

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5 responses to “Attention: is what makes Silicon Valley hum

  1. Randal,

    I always appreciate your perspectives…keep up the blogging…

    -b

  2. Sarah McDonald

    I’ve heard that Ellen Levy is driving really innovative partnerships at the University. Hennessy and Stanford are smart to to have someone like her doing what she’s doing. Most importantly, after hearing Hennessy speak in the last year, it is clear that her efforts support his vision for the University.

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