Recipe: How to Bake Your Own Silicon Valley

I’ve visited many a region that’s interested in creating its own “Silicon Beach/Mountain/Cliff/Island/Plane/Desert,” and that is truly wonderful. Along the way, I’m often asked what makes Silicon Valley successful.

The elusive recipe need not be hidden in a vault or passed down from Nana to her next of kin. Here’s a tried-and-true recipe that was handed down generation to generation in Silicon Valley for 60-plus years. Yes, it’s a family secret, but I’ll share it with you now.


  1. A culture that embraces failure. Only 5% of startups win, but they win big. Yet embracing the other 95% is required for persistent innovation.
  2. Ample education in technology & entrepreneurship. Successful tech regions have multiple colleges and a culture of continual learning.
  3. Plentiful Venture Capital – not just Gov money. Free-market VCs are needed to bolster the community, as govs can create friction for startups.
  4. Successful entrepreneurs re-invest – not retire. Once a CEO cashes out, he or she mentors others and invests funds back into the ecosystem.
  5. Density of population to foster serendipity. Most innovation happens in urban areas, fostering a frequent intersection of people and ideas.
  6. Attractive quality of life. Talented workers can work anywhere, so attract them with diverse culture, temperate weather, and quality lifestyle.


First, place all ingredients in one large bowl, and use a mixer to stir vigorously on high for three years – lumps are OK.

Then, pre-heat oven on low, place ingredients on a greased pan, and bake for five years. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 years as it rises.

Any dish becomes bland if served the same way, so add flavor from a diverse set of founders and workers who span genders, races, and more.

As a garnish, whisk in some tech bloggers, sprinkle in some eccentric founders, and grind in a fresh industry analyst or two.

Serve warm, serve generous, and enjoy the sweet taste of innovation with those around you.

Congratulations, you’ve just baked your own Silicon Valley.

2 Replies to “Recipe: How to Bake Your Own Silicon Valley”

  1. It’s so critical that successful entrepreneurs reinvest their time in the system. You can see this ethos going all the way back to Hewlett and Packard.

Comments are closed.