2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
Pyalla Technologies …thankful that Silicon Valley remains the home of NonStop
Last month the news from Pyalla was centered on the time we were spending in Sydney, Australia. As reported in that update last month, the primary reason for our visit to Sydney was the big banking event, SIBOS Sydney, 2018. In the time that has followed Margo and I have spent time with the press, with analysts and with former colleagues and acquaintances. We even had time for me to spend an evening with my former High School class mates who turned up for the 50th anniversary of the Class of ’68. What became a common theme of these meetings was somewhat astonishing – the almost casual dismissal of Silicon Valley and its role today in high-tech.
The catalyst for the conversations surrounding Silicon Valley began with the observation that talent continues to leave Australia’s shores and no matter how many politicians tell the locals that Australia is no longer the Lucky Country but the Smart Country or better still, going back even further in time, the Clever Country. Back in 2016, the local Sydney newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, wrote of how Australian Prime Minister, “Bob Hawke, once called Australia the ‘clever country’, something Professor Ian Lowe later suggested that, with the right investment in brain-based industries, we could become.”
Unfortunately, the same journalist then went on to add, “Sadly, there’s evidence to suggest that far from ‘clever’, we’ve devolved into being merely stupid as a rabid anti-intellectualism — led by shock-jocks, arch conservatives, populist politicians, social lynch mobs, a dumbed-down education system and even a hysterical media — takes hold.” Ouch. I was reminded of these declarations about the future of tech in Australia when, just a couple of days ago, planners behind the development of the Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), second airport, took to the news channels. “The NSW Department of Industry is leading the development of a world-class aerospace and defense industries precinct adjacent to the Western Sydney Airport. It will be an advanced technologies hub, with horizontal capabilities (information and communications technologies, data analytics, cyber security, advanced electronics, advanced manufacturing and systems integration) … and the research and development component includes opportunities to work closely with universities.”
But the reality is you cannot simply deem a collection of technology pursuits will grow to emulate Silicon Valley, which is becoming the cry of populist politicians. So, where does Silicon Valley stand these days in terms of contribution to tech? Yes, it may have all started in a garage with Hewlett Packard (as it did too with Apple), and the HP alumni can still be seen leading a lot of the technology companies residing in the valley. Tandem Computers after all was once such start-up whose founders were former HP managers. However, in the eyes of those far removed from the action, it’s all about cities many of us in the mainstream IT world would raise an eyebrow over. One report recently doing the rounds, Top Tech Cities in the World, 2018 pulls data from 2017 and the list looks somewhat askew:
Here’s your lowdown of the top 10 tech hubs:
- Beijing, China
- Berlin, Germany
- San Francisco, USA
- Austin, USA
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Shanghai, China
- Bangalore, India
- Boston, USA
- London, UK
- Vancouver, Canada
My first response to this graphic is to congratulate the PR firms handling China. Well done! However, if you are keen on reading more about what’s going wrong in China then check out this December 7, 2018 article in the Wall Street Journal, American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned
My second response is “who’s kidding who?” The only city not on the list is Sydney and if that happened then I would have to admit that I am done with checking lists!
But here’s the thing; I have been to almost all of these cities and the reality of just how big a contribution Silicon Valley is making to tech is seriously being discounted because those doing surveys just don’t understand the size and scope of Silicon Valley. While real estate reports may focus on San Francisco and talk up the city as a technology hub, it misses the point.
Silicon Valley stretches way down the bay to San Jose and indeed across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley. It is CAL and it is Stanford – one indignant party suggests Stanford is not even in the picture any more when it comes to contributions in the field of hi-tech! It’s the auto industry and it’s the armed services research and development centers. It’s the weather and it’s the drive to succeed that is evident everywhere you turn. Watched the HBO Series Silicon Valley? You might be surprise to read that Bill Gates is a fan and has been consulted on occasion.
When it comes to economic strength and the value from being the biggest contributor to tech anywhere in the world, articles like Business Insider April 25, 2018, The San Francisco Bay Area’s economy is ‘defying gravity’ — and it reveals how powerful the tech industry has become reveals how “Two Northern California metros — San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara — ranked as the places with the best economies in the country.” Furthermore, “The San Jose metro area holds the top position among the 40 largest regions in three of our five metrics: its Q3 2017 average weekly wage of $2,297, 2016 GDP growth rate of 5.9%, and 2016 GDP per capita of $126,820. Close behind, the San Francisco metro area’s Q3 2017 average weekly wage was $1,654; its 2016 GDP growth rate was 5.4%; and its 2016 GDP per capita was $100,132.” Yes, the US has the largest most diverse economy on the planet and topping the contributions to that GDP is Silicon Valley!
The significance of all of this shouldn’t be lost on the NonStop community. Development may be scattered around the globe these days even as HPE has centers apart from Palo Alto (shortly to become a San Jose company) in Houston, Austin and elsewhere around the globe but HPE will always be a Silicon Valley icon and Silicon Valley is among the birthplaces for not just silicon itself (Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc.) or data bases (Oracle), analytics, browsers, search engines and the like but it’s where the cloud begun (Salesforce.com) and where the edge is being pulled together.
HPE is at the forefront of the edge and independent cloud exploitation. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s important to recognize the value of where our products came from and the opportunities being part of the biggest technology engine on the planet. Other cities will grow but do assume Silicon Valley continues to grow right alongside them and in many instances, open up even greater separation.
When it comes to the IT Industry in Australia, for decades it has all been about working for major vendors from other countries even as few investors have been willing to take a punt and back the locals. There are exceptions of course and among the richest Australians, according to Forbes, are the cofounders of Atlassian a company building products for developers about which I knew little before returning to Sydney. They are both multi-billionaires apparently.
However, the fact remains that to make it in IT, the majority of Australians head for Seattle, perhaps Austin and yes, even the UK. But it remains a constant – it you want to be an actor, head for Hollywood and if you want to be in advertising, head for Madison Avenue, New York. As for tech and IT, there will always be something very special about Silicon Valley and its attraction continues to this day! And for the NonStop community it is very much our home and for that, and all that it entails whether clever or smart, we continue to be very thankful.
Cofounder and CEO
Pyalla Technologies, LLC