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The American Silicon Valley as a Prototypical Model of the Silicon Phenomenon

Introduction

In fact, the ultimate answer to the above question, what is so exceptional about the American Silicon Valley, is more or less known: This is the Silicon Valley’s phenomenal capacity to generate and nurture technological innovations leading to the birth of dozens of the world’s most successful high-technology companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computers, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Conner Peripherals, Cypress Semiconductor, Silicon Graphics, and many others.

Entrepreneurship

Its general success formula is also known: entrepreneurship, relatively easily accessible venture capital, institutions of higher education, which supply talented employees and conduct research, and social and technical networks (Kenney 2000; Porter 1998; Saxenian 1994). However, this is not the whole story. This section proposes a new perspective on the success of the Silicon Valley. Specifically, the account discusses those less evident ingredients of the region’s triumph, which might be referred to as hidden mechanisms.

Success of Silicon Valley

The word “hidden” does not mean that these facts and aspects described below were not mentioned in the literature; they were. But they were not considered as essential factors when compared to venture capital, entrepreneurship, universities, social and technical networks, and so on. Instead, I will argue that these hidden mechanisms were equally important in building the success story of Silicon Valley. And this is the real novelty of the proposed explanation.

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