[FOUNTAIN] What Makes a Silicon Valley Go?

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[FOUNTAIN] What Makes a Silicon Valley Go?

In the American movie, "Anti-Trust," newly released in Korea, Milo Hoffmann is a genius computer programmer just out of Stanford University. Dreaming of becoming another Bill Gates, he has remodeled his garage and opened a high-technology startup company with his friends. As in the movie, many of the legendary technology and Internet companies first opened their small offices in the American Silicon Valley, beginning their stories of success.

In 1939, David Packard and William Hewlett, classmates at Stanford, opened Hewlett-Packard Company in a backyard garage almost too small for one car. Jerry Yang and his friend David Filo developed a new Web search engine and named it "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle" - later known as Yahoo. The birth of this most famous Internet search engine occurred in a small trailer at their school campus in 1994. In the movie Milo chooses, like the biblical David fighting Goliath, to wage a lonely struggle against a multibillion-dollar company's conspiracy to monopolize the information industry. Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo, on the other hand, chose to take the road to becoming giant companies.

The legend of Silicon Valley, which began in the 1960s, produced many imitators. There are about 70 industrial complexes of technology startups throughout the world. Most of them, including England's Silicon Fen, Scotland's Silicon Glen, Israel's Silicon Wadi and Seoul's Teheran Valley, were built after the successful model of the Silicon Valley. Their names represent strong wills to achieve new Silicon Valley legends, but many of them failed to do so.

A book recently translated and published in Korea suggests that the success of Silicon Valley is a combination of the spirit of businessmen who are unafraid of failure and endless technological innovation. The writers, including 25 scholars and businessmen who currently work in Silicon Valley, understand the valley as a habitat. Like natural habitat where animals and plants live in groups, Silicon Valley reached the optimal conditions for high-tech startup companies to survive and prosper. The characteristics of such habitats, as summarized in the book, include favorable laws, high-quality and freely moving manpower, a tradition of accepting failure and taking risks, an open business environment and cooperation between academic and industrial institutions.

Newspapers reported that Techno Valley in Daedeok officially opened Friday. In contrast to the already established Teheran Valley in Seoul, Daedeok has a rich population of researchers, hinting at the possibility of growing into Korea's Silicon Valley, if adequate support is provided. We hope the Korean legend of high-tech startups may bloom in the newly established Techno Valley in Daedeok.

by Bae Myung-bok

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