Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome to Valley View, the electronic newsletter of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. Every month, we’ll bring you updates on Joint Venture activities, along with perspectives on important regional issues. The newsletter will be concise, because we know your time is valuable, while offering lots of links so you can dive deeper into topics of interest.
This edition is devoted to coverage of the 2007 State of the Valley Conference, held on February 2nd in San Jose. The event attracted a capacity crowd of 1,500 and several hundred had to be turned away. We’re already seeking a bigger venue for next year.
We intend this newsletter to support Joint Venture’s mission to facilitate dialogue among business, government, labor and academic leaders. Please don’t hesitate to respond to what you read, or to let me know what you’d like to see in future issues.
Finally, I'd like to thank The TDA Group of Los Altos for contributing their services in preparing this newsletter.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The 2007 State of the Valley Conference: Recap
The 2007 State of the Valley Conference packed more than a dozen presentations into a six-hour program, running from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the sessions described below, the action included a welcoming speech by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who declared on the spot that he’d accept a seat on Joint Venture’s board of directors; a report on Joint Venture’s activities by Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss and Con-way Inc. Chairman W. Keith Kennedy; and presentation of the David Packard Award for Civic Entrepreneurship to Eric Benhamou, chairman of Benhamou Global Ventures, 3Com Corp. and Palm Inc.
In this issue:
Session #1: The 2007 Silicon Valley Index
The annual State of the Valley Conference coincides with the release of Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Index, which received extensive coverage this year in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others.
Conference attendees were briefed by Doug Henton and Tracey Grose, the lead authors of the report. "Every single industry in Silicon Valley is growing again," Henton said. Following a now familiar pattern, Henton added, the Valley is reinventing itself. Among the hottest new industry categories: biomedical technology, digital media/Web 2.0 and clean energy.
Their briefing also included updates on housing, land-use, education, health, and other indicators.
Session #2: What is the 2007 Index Telling Us About Silicon Valley’s Future?
Three panelists brought their perspectives to the findings in the 2007 Index, responding to questions from moderator Janice Edwards of NBC-11 television: Aart de Geus, CEO of Synopsys; Tom McEnery, former mayor of San Jose (on stage inside the convention center bearing his name); and Heidi Roizen, managing director of Mobius Venture Capital.
“High tech is a succession of catastrophes . . . but it moves forward at immense speed,” said de Geus. Silicon Valley remains the world’s leading technology region because, Roizen said, we understand that “failure is just another step on the road to success.”
McEnery called Silicon Valley “the new Ellis Island,” a beacon to immigrants because of the many local success stories featuring foreign-born entrepreneurs. But he, along with de Geus and Roizen, cautioned that Silicon Valley is neglecting its future prosperity by not investing more in education and affordable housing.
Session #3: Keynote Speech by Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google
“We deliver hope to the world,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said of Silicon Valley technology. “Globalization is about universal information,” he added, and the ongoing expansion of the Internet raises four as-yet unanswered questions: What happens when one billion more people get online? What happens when we have 100 languages available online in simultaneous translation? (A goal Schmidt said Google is pursuing.) What happens when one billion people use their digital cameras to document life around them? What happens to personal privacy in an always documented world? While Schmidt didn’t have answers, he did state that “technology is not destiny”—we as a society can determine our future.
Session #4: Competition and Interconnection: Silicon Valley’s Role in the Global Network of Regions
Three panelists took on the world, guided by questions from moderator AnnaLee Saxenian, Dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley: Bob Iannucci, director of the Nokia Research Center; Ash Lilani, director of global market activities for Silicon Valley Bank; and Lip-Bu Tan, Chairman of venture firm Walden International.
Lilani said Silicon Valley needs “a global mindset” to meet increasing competition around the world. Tan said globalization is happening right now—the last five companies his firm funded have headquarters in the United States, but run their development operations in China, India or Taiwan. Iannucci offered hope for Silicon Valley because of its focus on entrepreneurship. Universities in Finland, where Iannucci now works, focus on training engineers in wireless technology, so he said it’s no surprise that Web 2.0 is now emerging in the United States, where academic training is broader.
Session #5: Is Clean Technology Silicon Valley’s Next Wave of Innovation?
John Doerr, perhaps the most famous venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, never lacks for enthusiasm, and he grandly proclaimed green energy to be “the mother of all markets” in the 21st century. As moderator, he generated equal enthusiasm from the four panelists: Lynn Orr, director of the Global Climate & Energy Project at Stanford University; David Pearce, CEO of Miasole, a start-up developing thin-film technology for solar cells; Mark Pinto, Chief Technology Officer of Applied Materials; and TJ Rodgers, founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor.
Pinto drew an audible reaction from the crowd when he said more money is spent for an hour of Super Bowl commercials than the United States devotes in a year to solar energy research and development. Rodgers predicted solar cells mounted on residential roofs are only a few years away from costing less than electricity from large utilities such as PG&E.
Session #6: Keynote Speech by the Honorable Al Gore Jr., 45th Vice President of the United States
“The world faces an unprecedented challenge, and Silicon Valley can play an unprecedented role in meeting that challenge,” Gore declared in a 50-minute speech focused on the threat of global warming—a topic he helped bring to a new level of public attention with his movie and book “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Scientists are now as certain as scientists ever get, according to Gore, that our planet faces a climate crisis. Global population quadrupled from 1906 to 2006, he continued, placing huge stress on all the planet’s resources. At current fishing rates, for example, Gore said all species of food fish will be effectively extinct in 50 years.
In the last 150 years, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million to 383 parts per million. “What would make us think we could (nearly) double the concentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere in such a short time without having a tremendous impact?,” Gore declared.
“Technology is the key to giving us enough leverage to change the pattern that is causing the climate crisis,” Gore concluded. “When the world rises to meet the challenge, Silicon Valley's role will be a historic one."