What makes Silicon Valley unique?

Matt Thompson / November, 2017


Matt Thompson, General Manager at Microsoft Commercial Software Engineering explain what makes Silicon Valley unique and why foreign delegations come to the Bay Area to learn.

Video transcript:

What makes Silicon Valley unique?

If you look at these developer communities that are forming around the startup ecosystem here in the US, there is an interesting side note here that we end up talking about why Silicon Valley is unique and why different communities form here. In our learning and I know there are other people that look at it a little bit differently. In our learning, about 90% of the founders in Silicon Valley are technical founders. When we go to LA when we go to New York we see the opposite of this. The way to suss this out. In Silicon Valley, you’ll find 2-3 technical founders and when they finally have a product, they need to hire a business guy. You’ll see those job descriptions posted, and usually, you go and meet with them and 3 founders will be technical and one guy on the side will be like I’m not going to be part of this conversation until there is a product.

If you go to LA or NY it is actually almost reverse. Business people starting a startup with ideas on how to disrupt the market. They can’t build anything until they find the technical person to build it for them. A slightly different problem, I would argue that coming from a technical background it is a little bit easier to get things started from a technical perspective and that is really where that community building comes in.

When you look at Silicon Valley we have access to a number of great communities to support technical founders. Silicon Valley Forum is one of them, another one is hackers and founders, and it started basically just to support technical founders. When we look at these startup communities forming, it is usually around the technology, around the problem space, or around a market that they want to disrupt through a technology.

Whereas if you go to New York you’ll see these communities start forming around business problems or the ability to arbitrage certain markets or something like that. It ends up being more transitional communities in those places. Here technology just lives every single day, we are surrounded by it every single day, it is one of those things that what’s make Silicon Valley unique. It is also why so many different foreign delegations are coming to Silicon Valley to learn what makes Silicon Valley unique. When I give that talk, for us is really that technical bent, and that is really where the community forms. For us, the most interesting things are that it gives us a direct connection to those communities to engage because we are very much focused on the technology as well.



  • Matt Thompson, Microsoft
  • November, 2017
  • 2:28
  • Community & Evangelism

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